Monday 24 September, 2018

Technology hampering children's ability to write warns doctors

Doctors in the United Kingdom are warning that too much technology is hampering children's ability to hold a pen or pencil. 

The doctors argue that children are not developing their fine motor skills needed to grasp the instruments needed for writing. 

"Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago,” said Sally Payne, the head paediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust. “Children coming into school are being given a pencil but are increasingly not be able to hold it because they don’t have the fundamental movement skills.

In a story in the Guardian UK, Payne said: “To be able to grip a pencil and move it, you need strong control of the fine muscles in your fingers. Children need lots of opportunity to develop those skills.”

Payne noted that many parents today prefer to have their young children sit in a corner playing with an ipad rather than play creatively with playdough for example where they can use their hands. 

In addition to writing, studies show that the growing use of smartphones, tablets, electronic games and other handheld screens are delaying speech development in children. 

Research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting suggests these children in the US may be at higher risk for speech delays.