British children are apparently spending so much time using digital gadgets that they can no longer tell the time on analog clocks, Inspire To Change reported.
Some schools in the UK have now responded to this by removing analog clocks in their examination halls and replacing them with digital ones.
The new clocks are put in place to benefit schoolkids doing their GCSE exams (the equivalent of the 10th grade in the U.S.) and students sitting their A-levels, (similar to the U.S. high school diploma).
The measures are being taken in response to students between 14 and 18 years of age who reported having difficulties telling the exact time on the analog clocks and were hence unable to understand how much time exactly they had left on their exams.
“In the UK, many educators are phasing out analog clocks in favor of digital ones,” the outlet reports.
“Students taking the GCSE and A-level exams were complaining that they couldn’t read the time. In order to make everything ‘as easy and straightforward as possible,’ they are making the switch to digital time reading.”
Deputy general secretary at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Malcolm Trobe, said young people have become accustomed to their digital devices.
“The current generation aren’t as good at reading the traditional clock face as older generations,” he said in an interview for The Telegraph.
“They are used to seeing a digital representation of time on their phone, on their computer. Nearly everything they’ve got is digital so youngsters are just exposed to time being given digitally everywhere.”
Trobe added that the aim of the change was to make sense of situations in which students are assessed “as easy and straightforward as possible”.
“You don’t want them to put their hand up to ask how much time is left,” he clarified. “Schools will inevitably be doing their best to make young children feel as relaxed as the can be. There is actually a big advantage in using digital clocks in exam rooms because it is much less easy to mistake a time on a digital clock when you are working against time.”
Apart from the time telling issue, young students are now also increasingly struggling to perform basic academic tasks such as writing with a pen, according to Sally Payne, a pediatric doctor at the Heart of England Foundation:
“To be able to grip a pencil and move it, you need strong control of the fine muscles in your fingers. Children need lots of opportunities to develop those skills,” she explains.
“It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes. Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil.”
Do you think that the advancement of technology is harming children more than benefiting them in the long run?
Let us know how you feel about the issue in the comment section below.