Kids Can’t Hold Pencils These Days Because Of Tech

Doctors and teachers are noticing that kids these days can’t quite hold pencils in school, and it has to do with too much screen time.

By nowproducerdave on February 28, 2018
(Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Yet another new scary discovery in the tech-enabled world, people are starting to notice that kids these days can’t hold pens and pencils properly. As it turns out, the muscles in children’s hands and fingers aren’t developing in the same ways our own did at that age. Tech like tablets and phones are getting so cheap these days that it’s easy to give our kids one to use, especially because of the hundreds of thousands of free apps to entertain them. There’s also a good chance that a lot of us have an old phone or two lying around somewhere in the house that we don’t even have to buy for them.

Pediatricians and physical therapists, as well as seasoned teachers, are all noticing that children coming into school for the first time are struggling to hold pencils. Sally Payne, a head paediatric occupational therapist, says that “Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago… 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… 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 opportunity to develop those skills.” It seems really obvious but is probably something that most of us didn’t even consider when trying to entertain our kids.

Gone are the days of laying on the floor with markers or crayons, replaced with bright screens with every color imaginable. The way we grip writing and drawing instruments replaced with the typical finger-point style associated with touchscreens. Sometimes you just have to do it the “old fashioned” way and tear open a new box of crayons. The 64-color box with the sharpener, of course. Check out the findings here for some more info. It’s probably still important to let kids use and learn tech devices considering that’s the way the world works now, but pencil-to-paper is still a solid thing that needs to happen too.

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