A new study shows children may be losing basic skills such as holding pencils and practicing proper penmanship. The new study claims the loss of penmanship skills could impact children later in life.
According to The Guardian UK, children struggle to write because they lack the dexterity needed to hold pencils upright.
UK researchers found kids spend so much time “swiping” on their tablets and smartphones that they enter school with weaker arm and hand muscles at a young age.
In the past, children were taught to write in cursive on lined notebook paper. But that basic skill is a thing of the past as teachers encourage the use of iPads and other tablet computers in classrooms.
Today’s teenagers have awful penmanship and many can’t even sign their names legibly.
Researchers say the overuse of touchscreen phones and tablets is preventing children from developing finger muscles that enable them to hold pencils correctly.
“Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago,” said Sally Payne, a pediatric occupational therapist in England.
“To be able to grip a pencil and move it, you need strong control of the fine muscles in your fingers.”
Payne advised parents to give their small children building blocks to develop their hand dexterity and encourage them to play outside more. “Children need lots of opportunity to develop those skills,” she said
“It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes. Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil.