Infants raised on iPads have trouble using building blocks, teachers say
Maybe parents should rethink giving their children a tablet this holiday shopping season, especially if their lifestyle makes it difficult to limit use to such devices. Members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers are speaking out against overexposure to tablets, warning that a growing number of infants aren't developing the proper motor skills to play with building blocks due to their "addiction" to tablet PCs and smartphones.
According to a report in the U.K.'s The Telegraph, teachers claim that three- and four-year-old children known how to swipe a screen just fine, but beyond tablet controls, they lack dexterity in their fingers after spending hours a day playing on the iPad.
"I have spoken to a number of nursery teachers who have concerns over the increasing numbers of young pupils who can swipe a screen but have little or no manipulative skills to play with building blocks or the like, or the pupils who cannot socialize with other pupils but whose parents talk proudly of their ability to use a tablet or smartphone," Colin Kinney, a teacher from Northern Ireland, told the The Telegraph.
The article makes several references to Apple's iPad and iPhone devices, though the concern isn't limited to those specific models. It just so happens that Apple holds a large share of the mobile market and so iPads and iPhones are more prominent. However, it's a problem that extends to mobile gadgets in general.
Teachers have also noted a decline in pen and paper exams, saying that kids who spend a lot of time using mobile gadgets rely on the instant support of their electronic device.
The obvious way to combat against all this is for parents to do a better job monitoring and limiting the amount of time their children are allowed to use tablets and smartphones. In addition, teachers recommend turning off Wi-Fi access at night.