Plugged in: Electronics use in youth and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder
MacMullin, Jennifer A.
Weiss, Jonathan A.
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Although electronic technology currently plays an integral role for most youth, there are growing concerns of its excessive and compulsive use. The current study documents patterns and impact of electronics use in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) compared to typically developing peers. Participants included 172 parents of typically developing individuals and 139 parents of individuals with an ASD diagnosis, ranging in age from 6 to 21 years. Parents completed an online survey of demographics and the frequency, duration, and problematic patterns of electronics use in their youth and young adults. Individuals with ASD were reported to use certain electronics more often in the last month and on an average day, and had greater compulsive Internet and video game use than individuals without ASD. Across both samples, males used video games more often than females. Compared to parents of individuals without ASD, parents of individuals with ASD were significantly more likely to report that electronics use was currently having a negative impact. The implications of problematic electronics use for individuals with ASD are discussed.
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