Doctors are warning parents the overuse of smart phones and tablets is having a detrimental impact on the development of children's motor skills.
Heart of England foundation NHS Trust head paediatric occupational therapist Sally Payne told The Guardian school-age students are lacking the same “hand strength and dexterity” compared to a decade ago, thanks to the reduction in traditional writing activities and an increase in tablet use.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
Payne added a cultural shift towards tablet use during general leisure time had changed the “nature of play”.
“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,” she said.
“Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil.”