• Tech-savvy children struggle with handwriting skills, study shows


    Many parents try to limit their kids' screen time, and now, researchers are providing more incentives.

    A study shows technology may be stunting your kids’ early development and handwriting ability.

    Channel 9 anchor Brittney Johnson looked into changes that can help your child have a healthy balance of technology and basic hand skills.

    Meghan Bykowski's son, Luke, loves to color, but since he's used to tapping away at a tablet more than scribbling with his hands, she worries about his arm getting tired.

    "The times have changed and paper and pencil are not the same," Bykowski said.

    Like many young children, Luke interacts with smart devices.

    In a new study, researchers in the United Kingdom found that kids spend so much time swiping at a young age that by they time they start school, their hand muscles are weaker, and some may have trouble even holding crayons and pencils.

    Kindergarten teacher Becky Filiaggi noticed subtle changes.

    "Playing with Play-Doh, they're very good at, but it's really tiny, pinching things, pinching their pencil, that's where you notice,” she said.

    Scott Miller, a principal, said he has studied the reduced skill development from students.

    "I'd say over the last five years or so, we've seen sort of a shift," Miller said.

    "They were born with Wi-Fi, that’s just the way they were born and wired, and that's what they're used to,” Filaggi said.

    To create balance, they blend basic skills and tech tools.

    Filiaggi spends extra time now at the beginning of the year working on coloring and writing children's names.

    Students may write down a journal entry, but then voice-record it onto their tablet or draw a picture and then capture a photo.

    "Every day, the kids are engrossed in a pencil, paper, crayon, marker,” Filaggi said. “They always have that opportunity,"

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents limit screen use to one hour per day and that parents should participate in activities with their kids on smart devices.

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