A recent study shows that babies and toddlers exposed to touchscreen games may have lower verbal skills than their tot peers. Now, in another marketing snag for touchscreen sales, the UK based Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is warning parents and other teachers that a rising number of children lack the motor skills to perform simple tasks such as using building blocks because of overexposure to iPads. This warning arrived via the the ATL conference in Manchester during a session on computer tablet addiction. The session focused on how children are exhibiting many problems associated with excessive tablet use including possible withdrawal, loss of interest in or ‘crowding out’ other activities, lack of control, irritability, deception and furtiveness, poor performance, poor concentration and a loss of educational opportunities. Colin Kinney, a teacher from Northern Ireland, and one of the session proposers, said at the conference, “I’ve 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 pupils who can’t socialize with other pupils, but whose parents talk proudly of their ability to use a tablet or smartphone.” Older kids are also exhibiting problems, according to ATL, including being unable to take traditional pen and paper exams because of their memory being eroded by overexposure to screen-based technology. Yet another reason to keep screen use in check in your home.

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