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15 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Use of touch screen hampers ability to hold pencils

Zee Media Bureau
Use of touch screen hampers ability to hold pencils

Are toddlers more adept than you while handling your gadgets? In a digital age, much like the one we live in, it doesn’t come as a surprise when we see small children playing on their parents’ phones or tablets.

In fact, many parents use the tactic of giving their gadgets to their kids to keep them busy, while they go about their day without disturbance. Little do they know that this habit is actually hampering the children’s growth in many ways.

Doctors in the United Kingdom have explained how the 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 to school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago,” said Sally Payne, head paediatric therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust in the UK.

“Children starting school are being given a pencil, but they 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 added.

“It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to play with muscle-building toys such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes,” Payne was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper.

Mellissa Prunty, who runs a research clinic at Brunel University London investigating key skills in childhood, including handwriting, said increasing numbers of children may be developing handwriting late because of an overuse of technology.

“One problem is that handwriting is very individual in how it develops in each child,” said Prunty. “Without research, the risk is that we make too many assumptions about why a child isn’t able to write at the expected age and don’t intervene when there is a technology-related cause.”

Although the early years’ curriculum has handwriting targets for every year, different primary schools focus on handwriting in different ways – with some using tablets alongside pencils, Prunty added.

This becomes a problem when the same children also spend large periods of time on tablets outside the school.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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