— “Is your arm getting tired at all?”
That’s the question Meghan Bykowski asked her young son, Luke, as they colored together in his kindergarten class.
It’s a question that may seem odd, but in 2018 it’s not necessarily surprising.
“The times have changed and paper and pencil are not the same,” said Bykowski in an interview with our sister station, WPXI.
Young children are interacting with iPads and tablets like never before and a new study shows it’s changing the way kids develop.
Researchers with the Heart of England foundation N.H.S. Trust found young children spending so much time swiping screens that they are entering school with weaker hand muscles and may even struggle to hold a pencil.
“Playing with Play-Doh, they are very good at, but it’s really tiny, pinching things- pinching their pencil- that’s where you notice,” said kindergarten teacher Becky Filiaggi.
Filiaggi spends extra time in the beginning of the school year showing students how to hold a pencil, write their names, and color.
Educators and parents are now working to find a balance. Students may write a journal entry on paper and then voice-record it on their tablet, or draw a picture and then snap a photo of it to send to their parents.
While the U.K. study may be valid, it doesn’t mean technology should be considered a bad thing, according to some educators. It promotes creativity and communication skills which kids need today in this high tech world, according to Filliagi.
“They were born with WiFi that’s just the way they were born and wired and that’s what they are used to,” Filliagi said.