CBS Local — After previous studies claimed that children who overuse mobile devices struggle learning to speak, a group of doctors is now saying young children in the digital generation can’t even hold a pen or pencil anymore.
“Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago,” pediatric occupational therapist Sally Payne told The Guardian. “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.”
British pediatricians are blaming the erosion of basic motor skills on the changing culture among parents who rely heavily on technology. “It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks,” Payne added. “Children need lots of opportunity to develop those skills.”
One mother admitted to reporters that she had only given her son hi-tech gadgets to play with; leaving him unprepared for grade school. “When he got to school, they contacted me with their concerns: he was gripping his pencil like cavemen held sticks,” Laura said to The Guardian. “He just couldn’t hold it in any other way and so couldn’t learn to write because he couldn’t move the pencil with any accuracy.”
Karin Bishop, assistant director at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, added that tech is having a growing impact on children becoming less physically active and living “more sedentary lifestyles.”
A 2017 study found that the screen time of children under two-years-old was linked to delays in them learning basic expressive speech as a toddler.