There has been a lot of talk in the media about the negatives of our current social devices such as IPads.

It seems that children lack using the “old” fashion stuff like blocks and Legos and all the fun manipulatives you see in Toys R Us. And their not being exposed to these manipulatives is causing a great problem in their gross and fine motor skills. Their dexterity is poor especially in their fingers. And learning to print and write is very difficult. Some members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers warn how memory can be eroded by overexposure to screen-based technology.

Experts have warned that the growth of families with tablet computers more than doubled from 20-51% last year. This 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 behavior after being exposed to the internet and digital devices from birth. These children rely on instant support of the computer but are often unable to apply when they should have learned from their textbooks. This group is calling on parents to turn home Wi-Fi off overnight to stop children staying awake to play online games on iPads.

I cannot tell you how many parents call me because of the problems their children are having in school. Writing is one of these problem areas and difficulty in long term comprehension of what they have read is another. I remember when the computer program….was it Super Simon?…..was called the new reading program for children and all parents were using it to expose their children to letters and words. Then the research came out contradicting this because the visual system cannot handle images being shown at those speeds. It was injuring the visual processing areas. Where are the Mr. Roger reruns and Sesame Street if you want your children to learn at an appropriate speed that is “normal”?

Why is normal not okay anymore? Anything less than average is not acceptable and all these parents want their kids to be super achievers. Probably because it makes them (the parents) look good but it destroys the self-esteems of the children.

Take a look at Alexander McCall Smith’s series about a little boy named Bertie who has been placed in this super achiever category by his mother. In the latest book (which are very funny books), he places his name on EBay to see if someone is interested in adopting him. Sad, but there is a very strong message there.