iPads and tablets now appear set to join ebooks, the Internet, television, bicycles, and other agents of moral decay as hate figures in the latest press-stoked moral panic in the UK. As reported in the UK Daily Telegraph, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has issued research claiming that tablet addiction has left a generation of manually challenged British children.
The Daily Telegraph cites an ATL conference speaker who warns of “increasing numbers of young pupils who can swipe a screen but have little or no manipulative skills to play with building blocks or the like.” The ATL will also apparently be drawing up guidelines on safe tablet use and reasonable usage limitations for children, who, apparently, are growing up with fabulous computer skills but limited ability with pen and paper.
It’s worth noting also that the ATL appears to be a pretty alarmist and agenda-driven organization, issuing roughly one press release a day with titles such as “Childhood being eroded as children spend less time with families and friends” and “Pressures on teachers causing rise in mental health issues.” In the circumstances, it’s hard to be too confident about the objectivity and impartiality of their research. But still, it makes for a lovely old panic.