Tablet whizzkids lose link to reality

14 July 2015 - 02:13 By Aarti J Narsee

If you think your child is a genius for completing that 100-piecepuzzle on an i-Pad, think again. Just because children can write and solve puzzles on a tablet doesn't mean they can do it in real life. While tablet manufacturers are increasingly targeting children aged eight to 12, experts have warned against using educational apps to replace traditional sources of learning.They say the overuse of tablets by children can cause short-sightedness, have an impact on fine motor development and lead to a lack of physical activity.A study in the UK showed that 50% of children have access to tablets, and that the rise of the touch-screen has been the most rapid introduction of a technology ever documented.Lenovo Africa general manager Graham Braum said: "One of our biggest growth areas has been among the eight- to 12-year-old segment."But parenting expert Stephanie Dawson-Cosser said: "You can't learn the basics through touching a screen. The process of learning is tactile and tangible."It should not be through a flat screen because the brain doesn't absorb this."While children did benefit from using tablets, there were also pitfalls, such as lack of physical activity and poor fine motor neuron skills.Nikki Bush, co-author of the book Tech-Savvy Parenting, said demand for tablets was due to schools integrating technology into the classroom."While mothers may brag about their child being able to do a 100-piece puzzle on a tablet, the same child may not be able to complete a puzzle in real time," said Bush."The bottom line is, in children under nine, that real-time learning comes first and onscreen should follow as a reinforcement."..

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