IPad Has Downside: Oh No!

I padToday’s article titled Infants ‘unable to use toy building blocks’ due to iPad addiction from the London Telegraph on April 15th almost does not seem real, but it is real and very sad. Graeme Paton, education editor, tell us that a “rising numbers of infants lack the motor skills needed to play with building blocks because of an ‘addiction’ to tablet computers and smartphones.”

“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.”

“Some older children are unable to complete traditional pen and paper exams because their memory had been eroded by overexposure to screen-based technology.”

“Experts have warned that the growth (in iPad usage) is having a serious effect on children’s social and physical development.”

“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.”

What to do…

Probably exactly what you are already doing, being careful not to let your young children spend the predominance of their time using these devices. You know that hands-on interactive experiences provide the true pathways for learning. You know that all learning takes place throughout the five senses. You also know that the iPad is not a hands-on tool and that using it allows only sight and sound to be stimulated.

As summer draws near, please remember that the very best place for play is the outdoors. The minute you enter almost any play area, you and your child will be reminded about the five senses and how they all work together for learning. Once you see, hear, taste, touch and smell the difference, you are likely to find yourselves running, jumping, discovering, singing, talking, meeting new people and enjoying life a whole lot more!

You can’t beat that!

~ Dr. Sally

Parenting Tips with Dr. Sally

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“May every moment be a happy memory.”

— Debra Crozier



  1. This article just took a Mother’s Day twist.

    “A smartphone application which sends loving texts to the user’s mother in order to “protect their inheritance” has gone on sale in the App Store.”

    That is a quote from another London Telegraph article that was published today.

    Here’s another turn. I was at Disney World last week with one of my daughters, and we went on quite a few rides. The best part of many were the real people who either waved good-bye as you left or who waved hi upon your return. Who would have thought that!

  2. The Wall Street Journal had a related article on May 8th. This was about using young preschoolers to test apps for high-tech companies. It makes sense until you get to a quote like this:

    “Instead of going to the playground or gymnastics class, we go to the LeapFrog lab,” says Christy Mast, a mother of two in San Leandro, Calif., whose husband works in the biotech industry.”

    There are only 24 hours a day. We can only do so much, and everything we experience is important. Not so easy, not so easy!

  3. This is a big problem . I spoke about this in my last Baby and Wee class. There are a lot of two year olds who are receiving occupational and speech therapy. There are companies that provide special education for children ages 2 up. It is funny how as a society we do not aim to prevent problems. It is about time that we practice prevention instead of allowing problems to happen and then we study them.

    Today I was at an event with a few people. There were many children there. A little boy was running, and I held his hand just above his wrist, and I noticed that his fingers were hanging down,lifeless. The muscles in his wrist are not developed yet. He is heading for occupational therapy which is the new business model for many agencies.

    Being able to control one’s body builds self- esteem in infants/toddlers. The five year fund did a research and it showed that 85% of Americans voters feel that that less than 50% of children are ready for kindergarten. I hope that parents will become empowered through discussions and forums. I think that infants/toddler must be given the opportunity to play with developmental toys in order to help with brain development.

    I’m wondering if the so called “third world” is having this issue also? We need to get back to basics.

  4. Hi Daseta,

    I love your “third world” country comment. I have often thought about that myself. With so much of our technological progress forward we go backwards in so many other ways.

    Not good!

  5. I believe that we need to try and enjoy both worlds since each of them has a lot to contribute to our kids development and growth. There is nothing that will replace the playground and the power of real communication. Technology however offers lots of different enjoyable options to develop skills that really needed in today’s world. I think that limiting the time of technological activity per day would probably be a good solution.

  6. Hi Katie,

    Yes, you really hit the nail on the head. Technology marches on in our behalf, and it is absolutely terrific to have so many new and wonderful tools to use in different ways… just in moderation.

    Today’s concern is not a new one. When television started in the 1950’s, parents took care to preserve time for their children to read and play outdoors. Computer use in the 1990’s came with the same precautions. DVD’s were a scare too.

    Now iPads and cell phones with all their apps are the newest challenge. We as parents continue to know our stuff.

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