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  • Infants 'unable to use toy building blocks' due to iPad addiction

    Infants 'unable to use toy building blocks' due to iPad addiction

    The Association of Teachers and Lecturers warn that rising numbers of children are unable to perform simple tasks such as using building blocks because of overexposure to iPads

    Graeme Paton By Graeme Paton, Education Editor3:38PM BST 15 Apr 2014Comments422 Comments
    Rising numbers of infants lack the motor skills needed to play with building blocks because of an “addiction” to tablet computers and smartphones, according to teachers.

    Many children aged just three or four can “swipe a screen” but have little or no dexterity in their fingers after spending hours glued to iPads, it was claimed.

    Members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers also warned how some older children were unable to complete traditional pen and paper exams because their memory had been eroded by overexposure to screen-based technology.

    They called on parents to crackdown on tablet computer use and even turn off wi-fi at night to address the problem.

    The comments were made after Ofcom figures showed the proportion of households with tablet computers more than doubled from 20 to 51 per cent last year.

    Experts have warned that the growth is having a serious effect on children’s social and physical development.

    Last year, a doctor claimed that rising numbers of young people – including one aged just four – required therapy for compulsive behaviour after being exposed to the internet and digital devices from birth.

    Addressing the ATL annual conference in Manchester, Colin Kinney, a teacher from Northern Ireland, said colleagues “talk of pupils who come into their classrooms after spending most of the previous night playing computer games and whose attention span is so limited that they may as well not be there”.
    He added: “I have 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 the like, or the pupils who cannot socialise with other pupils but whose parents talk proudly of their ability to use a tablet or smartphone.”

    Addressing members, he said the “brilliant computer skills” shown by many pupils was “outweighed by their deteriorating skills in pen and paper exams because they rely on instant support of the computer and are often unable to apply what they should have learned from their textbooks”.

    The ATL backed plans to draw up new guidance to be issued to teachers and parents showing the “best way forward” when dealing with children who are “addicted” to iPads and iPhones.

    Mark Montgomery, a teacher from Northern Ireland, said overexposure to technology had been linked to weight gain, aggressive behaviour, tiredness and repetitive strain injury.

    He called on parents to turn home wi-fi off overnight to stop children staying awake to play online games on iPads.

    “It is our job to make sure that the technology is being used wisely and productively and that pupils are not making backward steps and getting obsessed and exhibiting aggressive and anti-social behaviours,” he added.
    I believe this. Comparisons to TV viewing among Boomers are just wrong. The process of interacting with digital devices is inherently rewarding in a way that the most absorbing episode of 'Dragnet' is not.

    I read an interesting blog by a woman who found that interacting online had degraded her ability to process the complex sentence structure of English literature. This had previously been an effortless and enjoyable pastime for her. She had to consciously minimize her screen time and deliberately focus on reading for a few weeks before she regained her ability. Remember, she had the ability to begin with.

    I've notice this in myself. If I don't read chunks of ordinary literature on a daily basis, I have trouble concentrating on it after a week or so. I have to focus more for a half hour or so before the medium and the complexity seem "normal".

    I don't doubt that there is some similar deficit in motor skills among the pre-k crowd. If kids aren't using and building on those skills every day, multiple times a day, I can see where they would start to fall behind.

    Telegraph
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

  • #2
    Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
    I believe this. Comparisons to TV viewing among Boomers are just wrong. The process of interacting with digital devices is inherently rewarding in a way that the most absorbing episode of 'Dragnet' is not.

    I read an interesting blog by a woman who found that interacting online had degraded her ability to process the complex sentence structure of English literature. This had previously been an effortless and enjoyable pastime for her. She had to consciously minimize her screen time and deliberately focus on reading for a few weeks before she regained her ability. Remember, she had the ability to begin with.

    I've notice this in myself. If I don't read chunks of ordinary literature on a daily basis, I have trouble concentrating on it after a week or so. I have to focus more for a half hour or so before the medium and the complexity seem "normal".

    I don't doubt that there is some similar deficit in motor skills among the pre-k crowd. If kids aren't using and building on those skills every day, multiple times a day, I can see where they would start to fall behind.

    Telegraph
    I've never considered literature to be a "skill." It's a habit, and there's nothing superior about it. I think the building blocks and/or iPad evaluations are overblown. They key is to foster the self-expansion of knowledge, not train worker bees that can stack blocks.

    The game 2048 did more for my neighbor (age 3) than any Duplo set.
    Last edited by scott; Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 9:55 PM.
    "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."
    -John Locke

    "It's all been melded together into one giant, authoritarian, leftist scream."
    -Newman

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    • #3
      Originally posted by scott View Post
      I've never considered literature to be a "skill." It's a habit, and there's nothing superior about it. I think the building blocks and/or iPad evaluations are overblown. They key is to foster the self-expansion of knowledge, not train worker bees that can stack blocks.

      The game 2048 did more for my neighbor (age 3) than any Duplo set.
      You've never dealt with "average" readers. Most readers can decode text well enough but most don't have the skill level to enjoy the process if it departs from the basic informational level. Even then, most struggle with unfamiliar words, phrases, or novel construction and that's in a straightforward informational context. Lyrical or metaphorical texts or those using complex sentence structure and beyond-basic vocabulary are difficult already for a lot of people.

      Self-education is overrated. Most people aren't interested enough in a new skill to pursue it to a functional level. The truth is that education is exactly designed to produce worker bees and the bees that don't get with the program go on welfare a lot more often than they file a new patent.
      "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

      Comment


      • #4
        I believe this as well. That's not to say that kids shouldn't be exposed to technology at a young age. Just that they need to have some limits set and they need to be given some of the "traditional" toys as well, such as building blocks. I'm pretty certain I always sucked at building blocks and always will (I have absolutely no ability when it comes to spatial relations...none whatsoever...I'm sure if they dissected my brain they would find something seriously seriously wrong where that part of the brain in normal people should be). However, I do believe the act, even when failing, of trying to build with those blocks, helps the brain to grow and learn in a way that looking at a screen does not. There is inherent value in physically building something, however basic, that is truly the building block for more sophisticated endeavors.

        Everything in moderation, as they say.
        Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
        Robert Southwell, S.J.

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        • #5
          I had many, many opportunities to do physical things growing up and I'm so happy now. Whatever doubts I have about my own physical grace, I do know for a pure fact that I can do a bunch of things and if I persevere, I can sew a shirt, build a house, bake a cake, dance (with rules), play a tune, knit a sweater, sow a garden, fish for lunch, create a tile mosaic, or fabricate a solar cooker.

          All those things require eye-hand coordination in the real world (I'm also totally awesome at Tetris or Bejeweled). You have to fail a lot in physical space to master physical space. That means you have to do a lot in physical space. Every day.
          "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
            You've never dealt with "average" readers. Most readers can decode text well enough but most don't have the skill level to enjoy the process if it departs from the basic informational level. Even then, most struggle with unfamiliar words, phrases, or novel construction and that's in a straightforward informational context. Lyrical or metaphorical texts or those using complex sentence structure and beyond-basic vocabulary are difficult already for a lot of people.

            Self-education is overrated. Most people aren't interested enough in a new skill to pursue it to a functional level. The truth is that education is exactly designed to produce worker bees and the bees that don't get with the program go on welfare a lot more often than they file a new patent.
            Ah.

            Then why the emphasis on "literature?" Most of that stuff goes right over everyone's heads and it's tedious all around (from those who endlessly quote it to those who use Hemingway as the reason they don't ever want to get a real job).
            "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."
            -John Locke

            "It's all been melded together into one giant, authoritarian, leftist scream."
            -Newman

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by phillygirl View Post
              I believe this as well. That's not to say that kids shouldn't be exposed to technology at a young age. Just that they need to have some limits set and they need to be given some of the "traditional" toys as well, such as building blocks. I'm pretty certain I always sucked at building blocks and always will (I have absolutely no ability when it comes to spatial relations...none whatsoever...I'm sure if they dissected my brain they would find something seriously seriously wrong where that part of the brain in normal people should be). However, I do believe the act, even when failing, of trying to build with those blocks, helps the brain to grow and learn in a way that looking at a screen does not. There is inherent value in physically building something, however basic, that is truly the building block for more sophisticated endeavors.

              Everything in moderation, as they say.
              But math, spacial reasoning, and natural physics are real-world skills that can't be learned by reading a book. Why moderate that and overemphasize literature?
              "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."
              -John Locke

              "It's all been melded together into one giant, authoritarian, leftist scream."
              -Newman

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
                I had many, many opportunities to do physical things growing up and I'm so happy now. Whatever doubts I have about my own physical grace, I do know for a pure fact that I can do a bunch of things and if I persevere, I can sew a shirt, build a house, bake a cake, dance (with rules), play a tune, knit a sweater, sow a garden, fish for lunch, create a tile mosaic, or fabricate a solar cooker.

                All those things require eye-hand coordination in the real world (I'm also totally awesome at Tetris or Bejeweled). You have to fail a lot in physical space to master physical space. That means you have to do a lot in physical space. Every day.
                I hate how some of Valerie's teachers get all excited to see her sitting on the playground with her nose in a Kindle. They (just those who are biased towards pseudo-intellectual pursuits) think that her time on the Soccer field is wasted. They don't know much about me, but they know I'm a former Marine and I'm pretty gruff sometimes (especially to mental midgets that are elitist) so I know what they think. Your point is spot on, people who can actually do stuff are much better at everything.

                I tell them all the time that it's my job to allow her to develop all of her talents and she's the best goalie the school has had in years. Plus, she's not really learning anything in the books she reads and she certainly isn't improving her social skills by reading at recess. Their eyes start to glaze over when I get on a rant about how this school has higher standards and I expect better from her teachers. It's only a few of them so it's not a big deal but as I told her social studies teacher (there's more to the story but she directly questioned my ability to raise such a genius), "I'm trying to raise a happy contributing adult who makes her own world, not a library geek that hides out teaching in a small private school."

                Too direct?
                "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."
                -John Locke

                "It's all been melded together into one giant, authoritarian, leftist scream."
                -Newman

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by scott View Post
                  I hate how some of Valerie's teachers get all excited to see her sitting on the playground with her nose in a Kindle. They (just those who are biased towards pseudo-intellectual pursuits) think that her time on the Soccer field is wasted. They don't know much about me, but they know I'm a former Marine and I'm pretty gruff sometimes (especially to mental midgets that are elitist) so I know what they think. Your point is spot on, people who can actually do stuff are much better at everything.

                  I tell them all the time that it's my job to allow her to develop all of her talents and she's the best goalie the school has had in years. Plus, she's not really learning anything in the books she reads and she certainly isn't improving her social skills by reading at recess. Their eyes start to glaze over when I get on a rant about how this school has higher standards and I expect better from her teachers. It's only a few of them so it's not a big deal but as I told her social studies teacher (there's more to the story but she directly questioned my ability to raise such a genius), "I'm trying to raise a happy contributing adult who makes her own world, not a library geek that hides out teaching in a small private school."

                  Too direct?
                  LOL! Probably. I think you answered your own question about the emphasis on "literature" in these studies and anecdotes. Most of the writers are more comfortable with literature and it's value than they are with other skills (and forget math, most didn't do well with it).

                  Even literature is only boring and useless because pedagogues deliberately seek out works that are passive and socially relevant. That stuff is boring to most kids.
                  "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scott View Post
                    But math, spacial reasoning, and natural physics are real-world skills that can't be learned by reading a book. Why moderate that and overemphasize literature?
                    That's my point. You need hands on, such as building blocks, lego sets, erector sets, playing kickball, building a tree fort, etc. Computers and books can't replace that, they can only enhance it.
                    Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                    Robert Southwell, S.J.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by scott View Post
                      I hate how some of Valerie's teachers get all excited to see her sitting on the playground with her nose in a Kindle. They (just those who are biased towards pseudo-intellectual pursuits) think that her time on the Soccer field is wasted. They don't know much about me, but they know I'm a former Marine and I'm pretty gruff sometimes (especially to mental midgets that are elitist) so I know what they think. Your point is spot on, people who can actually do stuff are much better at everything.

                      I tell them all the time that it's my job to allow her to develop all of her talents and she's the best goalie the school has had in years. Plus, she's not really learning anything in the books she reads and she certainly isn't improving her social skills by reading at recess. Their eyes start to glaze over when I get on a rant about how this school has higher standards and I expect better from her teachers. It's only a few of them so it's not a big deal but as I told her social studies teacher (there's more to the story but she directly questioned my ability to raise such a genius), "I'm trying to raise a happy contributing adult who makes her own world, not a library geek that hides out teaching in a small private school."

                      Too direct?
                      I honestly never realized that adults saw me as someone with their nose in a book all the time. But apparently I did. I also was a dancer, a cheerleader, a lacrosse player and had a social life. But I loved to read. Valerie will be just fine. Her teachers should shut up about the soccer thing and you're right, it's better to be well rounded and to try lots of things. If she's talented at some and has an interest in others, but isn't so talented, it will sort itself out. I wasn't talented as a lacrosse player, but I enjoyed it and was happy with whatever playing time I got. Sounds like Valerie is talented at lots of things and there really is nothing wrong with her reading at recess. She's probably taking in a lot more social skills by watching than you think.
                      Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                      Robert Southwell, S.J.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It will be interesting to see how the "the chirrens need to learn on tablets in school" crowd reacts to this.

                        Maybe, just maybe, it might still be a good idea to teach first graders how to properly operate a pencil.
                        It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                        In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                        Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                        Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by phillygirl View Post
                          I honestly never realized that adults saw me as someone with their nose in a book all the time. But apparently I did. I also was a dancer, a cheerleader, a lacrosse player and had a social life. But I loved to read. Valerie will be just fine. Her teachers should shut up about the soccer thing and you're right, it's better to be well rounded and to try lots of things. If she's talented at some and has an interest in others, but isn't so talented, it will sort itself out. I wasn't talented as a lacrosse player, but I enjoyed it and was happy with whatever playing time I got. Sounds like Valerie is talented at lots of things and there really is nothing wrong with her reading at recess. She's probably taking in a lot more social skills by watching than you think.
                          Oh I agree. I really don't care what she does as long as she's continuing to grow normally. I just hate the teachers she's had that have her all figured out but are really just projecting their own hopes and dreams onto her. Daniel gets the same thing because starting in 3rd grade he became the school computer geek. Almost every teacher has asked him for help with their computer issues and he always fixes them. One of the new 25 year old teachers fresh out of graduate school with an MSW decided to call a meeting with me because I was stifling his creativity. He got a bad grade in Math so I took all the other distractions away - no XBox, no laptop, no iPod. She thought that was inappropriate and wanted to give me some advice. She talked for literally 5 minutes non-stop about the importance of technology in the future.

                          "Stop right there. His mother and I are both programmers. We own two web-based companies. Daniel has had his own laptop since he was two. I don't need a lecture from you, Daniel needs to spend less time coding Roblox and more time on long division."

                          I'm not sure any of these studies are credible since the people who are in this field are typically clueless.
                          "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."
                          -John Locke

                          "It's all been melded together into one giant, authoritarian, leftist scream."
                          -Newman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There is nothing that children are unable to do because of iPad or any other technology. If children are unable to do things, it is because their parents or other caregivers are using the TV, computer or other device as a pacifier to keep from having to do the hard work of interacting with and teaching their children. HRH has been on the computer since she was 3. Pajama Sam and JumpStart teach real skills. But she also had blocks, puzzles, action figures, every type of sports ball imaginable, a trike and then a bike, a trampoline and a nearby playground with all sorts of climbing apparatus, swings and a balance beam. We read to her daily, and then we listened while she read to us. Did I get heartily sick and tired of reading Golden Books and fairy tales over and over? You bet. Was it tedious playing toddler games for hours on end? Yup. Did it produce a smart, articulate, well-read kid with good spatial abilities and avid intellectual curiosity? Definitely. Was it worth the trouble? Damn straight.
                            "Since the historic ruling, the Lovings have become icons for equality. Mildred released a statement on the 40th anniversary of the ruling in 2007: 'I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, Black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.'." - Mildred Loving (Loving v. Virginia)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by scott View Post
                              Oh I agree. I really don't care what she does as long as she's continuing to grow normally. I just hate the teachers she's had that have her all figured out but are really just projecting their own hopes and dreams onto her. Daniel gets the same thing because starting in 3rd grade he became the school computer geek. Almost every teacher has asked him for help with their computer issues and he always fixes them. One of the new 25 year old teachers fresh out of graduate school with an MSW decided to call a meeting with me because I was stifling his creativity. He got a bad grade in Math so I took all the other distractions away - no XBox, no laptop, no iPod. She thought that was inappropriate and wanted to give me some advice. She talked for literally 5 minutes non-stop about the importance of technology in the future.

                              "Stop right there. His mother and I are both programmers. We own two web-based companies. Daniel has had his own laptop since he was two. I don't need a lecture from you, Daniel needs to spend less time coding Roblox and more time on long division."

                              I'm not sure any of these studies are credible since the people who are in this field are typically clueless.
                              My brother and I had the same first grade teacher. My mother actually requested her because she thought she was great (I didn't like her, but had never shared that with my mother because I was always a very obedient, respectful kid). My brother was always brilliant. The scary smart sort of kid. The teacher hated him. When my mother went to the first parent teacher conference she came away at first with the impression that my brother was a horrible student. The teacher railed on the fact that my brother didn't listen in class, was disruptive to the other students and wouldn't sit quietly after he finished all his work. To prove that he didn't listen, she threw out his national test scores and showed that was his lowest score...94 percentile in the nation...everything else was 99 percentile. My mother almost decked her on that one. Every teacher after that knew my brother's issue...he was always finished the assigned work before the teacher could even finish explaining the assignment. The good teachers knew to give my brother lots of extra work and he'd happily do it. If not, he was bored and talked the rest of the time. They also knew that he was a natural leader and if they controlled him in class, they controlled the class. Everyone took his lead. That first teacher, however, didn't get it and took his intellectual curiosity as a direct challenge to her authority and it bothered her that he would say the work was too easy. In addition to being scary smart, he had two older sisters, so he saw our homework (long division) and wasn't interested in what he considered "baby math" (addition and subtraction). For some reason she just couldn't wrap her head around the fact that some kids simply need more challenge in a classroom and she was only capable of teaching to the lowest common denominator.
                              Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                              Robert Southwell, S.J.

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