Electronic device use and fine motor dexterity and handwriting in grade 2 elementary school children.
Aim: The study aimed to investigate whether a correlation exists in the electronic device usage and fine motor dexterity and handwriting in Grade 2 elementary male and female children. Methodology: A quantitative, correlation study design was utilized. Stratified sampling was employed to select n=34, grade 2 children together with their parents/primary caregivers. A parental self-administered questionnaire measured the electronic device type and frequency of use by the children. The children’s fine motor dexterity was measured with the Nine-Hole- Peg-Test and handwriting was measured with the Minnesota Handwriting Assessment. Data was analysed using SPSS version 22. Results and Discussion: Touch screen cellular phones and standard size tablet computers were most frequently used. The mean total time per week spent on electronic devices amounted to 9.3 hours and 5.5 hours per week across all mobile devices. Statistical significant correlations were measured for; total device use and total handwriting score (rho=0.110), total device use and non-dominant hand’s dexterity (rho=0.137), weak trunk stability and handwriting speed (p=0.007), male children’s handwriting speed was superior (p=0.015) and female children’s form of handwriting was superior (p=0.005), male children used handheld videogames more than female children (p=0.001). Conclusions: A weak positive correlation exists between the total time spent on electronic device usage in a week and non-dominant dexterity and handwriting. This implies that more frequent total electronic device usage per week has a higher handwriting total score but weaker non-dominant hand dexterity as a result. No correlation existed between total usage and dominant dexterity. Gender differentials revealed that males displayed faster and superior total scores in handwriting, females displayed superior scores for form, alignment and spacing and dominant/non-dominant hands’ dexterity.