Touchscreens have become as much a part of lives as breakfast, cars, and taxes. Most of us probably do not go a whole day without interacting with touchscreens. From ordering food at fast food restaurants to binge-watching Netflix on your iPad. The prevalence of touchscreens also means that these new generations are growing up with them as the norm. Now, specialists are saying that norm is damaging kids dexterity making it harder for kids to use pens and pencils.
Paediatric doctors, orthopedic therapists, along with handwriting experts say kids are losing the strength and agility needed for proper handwriting. While most kids have become proficient in swiping and even typing on touchscreens, experts say writing is still very important. Specialists say learning to write, paint and even cutting help hone fine motor skills and coordination. These new generations are using these skills less and that could be a bad thing.
“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,” Sally Payne, the head pediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England Foundation NHS Trust, told The Guardian newspaper.
“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 opportunities to develop those skills.”
A recent study in found that 58 percent of under-twos had used a tablet or mobile phone and many nurseries have installed interactive ‘smartboards’, digital cameras and touch-screen computers to try to expose children to gadgets at an early age.
“Poor handwriting can have serious consequences for early literacy and academic performance. Handwriting is a skill that lasts a lifetime – and the learning of it teaches us so much more than just how to put words on paper.”
Exposing children to technology is indeed important. But some experts say there must be a balance between new technologies and old input methods that are still useful. While we are undoubtedly heading into a future of touchscreens, learning to write is still beneficial.
Last Updated on February 27, 2018.