Excessive touchscreen use can harm children: Report

Srinagar: Excessive use of phones and tablets is preventing children’s finger muscles from developing sufficiently, making it increasingly hard for them to hold pens and pencils, UK doctors say.

“Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago,” Sally Payne, the head paediatric therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust in the UK, was quoted as saying by a news agency.

“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,” 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,” Payne was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Mellissa Prunty, who runs a research clinic at Brunel University London, said that increasing numbers of children may be developing handwriting late because of an overuse of technology.

“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,” she said.

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