Emerging scientific evidence indicates that frequent digital technology use has a significant impact—both negative and positive—on brain function and behavior. Potential harmful effects of extensive screen time and technology use include heightened attention-deficit symptoms, impaired emotional and social intelligence, technology addiction, social isolation, impaired brain development, and disrupted sleep. However, various apps, videogames, and other online tools may benefit brain health. Functional imaging scans show that internet-naive older adults who learn to search online show significant increases in brain neural activity during simulated internet searches. Certain computer programs and videogames may improve memory, multitasking skills, fluid intelligence, and other cognitive abilities. Some apps and digital tools offer mental health interventions providing self-management, monitoring, skills training, and other interventions that may improve mood and behavior. Additional research on the positive and negative brain health effects of technology is needed to elucidate mechanisms and underlying causal relationships.
Multiple studies have drawn a link between computer use or extensive screen time (eg, watching television, playing videogames) and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Impaired emotional and social intelligence
Because of concern that a young, developing brain may be particularly sensitive to chronic exposure to computers, smartphones,etc.
Adverse impact on cognitive and brain development
Screen time may also adversely impact cognitive and brain development. In a recent review, children under age 2 were reported to spend over 1 hour each day in front of a screen; by age 3, that number exceeded 3 hours.