Excessive use of touchscreen phones and tablets is stifling the development of children’s finger muscles, making it hard to hold a pen or pencil correctly.
Many parents use the tactic of giving their gadgets to their kids to them busy, while they go about their day without disturbance.
Little do they know that this habit is actually hampering their growth in a lot of ways.
Excessive use of phones and tablets is preventing children’s finger muscles from developing sufficiently, thereby making it increasingly hard for them to hold pens and pencils.
“Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago,” said Sally Payne, the head pediatric therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust in the UK.
“Children coming into school are being given a pencil but are increasingly not able to hold it because they do not have the fundamental movement skills,” said Payne.
“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,” she said.
Previous generations spent their early years practising more traditional skills such as arts and crafts which boosts fine motor skills.
Increasingly the use of digital screens is replacing traditional skills such as drawing, painting and cutting out which boost fine motor skills and coordination.
As children are using their hands less to hold paintbrushes, scissors and crayons and aren’t using more traditional toys like playdough the muscles in their shoulder, elbow and wrist do not develop properly.
Children are increasingly exposed to an overwhelming amount of technology at an early age.
Children are damaging their dexterity by overuse of touchscreen phones and tablets, leading to a lack of agility in their hand by the time they start school and are taught to write.