Technology Has Created The One Handed Child


I admit.  I’m on my phone a lot.  All the time.

But I didn’t grow up on my phone all the time.  I grew up — using both hands!

The other day my daughter and I went to the neighbors’ house to walk their dog.  I wanted to make sure she could do it by herself.  Accordingly, I instructed her to open the door by herself using the key.  She dutifully inserted the key in the lock with her right hand and turned.  The door did not pop open, of course.  She turned the key again with her right hand.  It did not open.  Her left hand hung at her side.

She was bewildered, perplexed, really.

She turned the key again with her right hand.  Her empty left hand still hung at her side, useless.

Before my head exploded, I had to speak up — slowly:

“Turn the key with one hand, use the other hand to turn the knob and push.”

She’s  a teen, not a toddler.  Yet it had not occurred to her to use both hands.

I blame Apple.  Usually this kid has a phone and/or iPod in hand.  She is so used to holding a  device  that it has rendered one hand useless, even when it’s empty.

This scenario has happened often with my kids.   They only use one hand for most things, even cooking.  Oh, I admit they’ve become quite adept at using one hand, but it’s not efficient.  Not at all.

And it looks ridiculous.

When my children were babies and toddlers they always scored so well on those tests for large and small motor skills.  They could manipulate small toys and they could climb on anything.

Now they forget that they have two hands.

I think someone should conduct a study on the long-term effects of the use of personal digital devices on the (arrested) development of manual dexterity in teens — because I think this is a problem.

Seriously.  Have you ever watched a person do laundry with one hand?  It’s ridiculous.

Just Me With . . . both hands.

4 responses

  1. I never thought about that. Yesterday, I almost ran down two kids with their phones because their eyes were cast down. Okay, they almost ran me down as I cruised along in the electric cart. I will have to watch for one-handed teens. Maybe the left hand will be a useless, left-over appendage with no use like the appendix. Maybe future generations will not be able to look straight ahead or up, just down.

    1. Yeah, it’s scary. That’s why it’s more important now than ever that kids play musical instruments and sports. Mine do both but they still forget to use both hands. Sad.

  2. Oh yes! Love this post. I recall about a decade ago that I did not see SMS-ing as the next big thing, as it basically reduced our use of language to a lowest-common-denominator point. This seems to be the next/natural extension of this.

    1. Thanks. I’ve also found that I’ve said to my kids — “Your turn to talk” when we’re talking on the phone. I think the texting has slowed their learning of oral give and take. The other thing they do is when they ask you to take them somewhere and I ask where, they give me an address, like I’m a GPS.

      I’ll say, “Well I think I know that street but where is it near (and I’m talking about local places here). Is it near school or the library?”

      Answer: “I don’t know. I gave you the address.”

      Me: “Ask her if it’s near the school.”

      Then she’ll text the girl and wait for a response.

      “CALL HER!”


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