Children are finding it difficult to hold pens and pencils properly because they are overusing touchscreen technology, doctors have warned.
Their finger muscles are not strong enough to control the direction of pens and pencils, it has been claimed.
Sally Payne, the head paediatric occupational therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust, told The Guardian: ‘Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago.
‘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.
‘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.’
The growing popularity of devices such as iPads means children are getting less opportunities to build muscles in their hands.
Traditional activities like building blocks and toys were better for the grips and muscles of children, experts said.
The major consequence of the new development will be messier handwriting at a young age, which could mask other learning issues.
However, Barbie Clarke, a child psychotherapist and founder of the Family Kids and Youth research agency, claimed nurseries were already aware of the problem and were insisting pupils use pencils and pens alongside new technology.