Curse of the iPad generation
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London - Toddlers these days are barely out of nappies before they are playing with touch-screen toys and fiddling with iPads.
And now, it seems, they are paying the price – because when they arrive at nursery they are apparently struggling to pick up basic fine-motor skills such as holding pencils, pens and crayons.
Some nurseries have installed interactive “smartboards”, digital cameras and touch-screen computers to try to expose children to gadgets at an early age.
Jeff Stanford from Asquith Day Nurseries – which has invested £4-million in digital technology – defended the move, saying: “It makes children comfortable and familiar with the technology and that is extremely useful when they start school.”
But literacy expert Sue Palmer said: “I think what children really need up to the age of seven is real life in real space and real time, which means three-dimensional experiences.
“We already have problems with children not being able to hold a pen or pencil. But we are giving our kids instant gratification all the time with ICT and it makes it harder for them to persevere with something that takes a while to learn.
“There is a real fear that too much engagement with this quick-fix technology is making it more difficult for some children to learn how to read and write.”
And Felicity Marrian, from Iverna Gardens Montessori in London, said: “If our children are in fact the most sedentary generation ever, according to the medical authorities, and already spend more time watching television than they do in school, do we really need to add computers and other screen-based devices to the nursery environment?”
A survey of 806 parents and early years staff carried out by website daynurseries.co.uk found that only 26 percent believed that being exposed to technology actually benefits children in nurseries.
Davina Ludlow, director of daynurseries.co.uk, added: “Children are increasingly exposed to an overwhelming amount of technology at an early age.
“The use of iPads in nurseries, which are displacing the traditional methods of learning and playing activities is concerning.
“This poll shows that the majority of people clearly want to see early education and childhood play protected from this technological creep.” - Daily Mail