Screen time could af­fect surgery stu­dents’ dex­ter­ity

Con­cerns have been raised about a de­cline in the hands-on skills of young peo­ple

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Surgery pro­fes­sor Roger Knee­bone from Im­pe­rial College London has de­scribed how new stu­dents seem to strug­gle with prac­ti­cal tasks such as thread­ing a nee­dle and sewing – cru­cial skills for sur­geons. The wor­ry­ing de­cline in man­ual dex­ter­ity may be re­lated to our in­creased de­pen­dence on touch­screen tech­nol­ogy rather than learn­ing how to use our hands through ba­sic craft skills.

“It is a con­cern of mine and my sci­en­tific col­leagues that whereas in the past you could make the as­sump­tion that stu­dents would leave school able to do cer­tain prac­ti­cal things – cut­ting things out, mak­ing things – that is no longer the case,” ex­plained Pro­fes­sor Knee­bone. “A lot of things are re­duced to swip­ing on a twodi­men­sional flat screen… We have stu­dents who have very high exam grades but lack tac­tile gen­eral knowl­edge.”

Pro­fes­sor Knee­bone and oth­ers are call­ing for more well-rounded school cur­ric­ula that sup­ports cre­ative sub­jects where these vi­tal skills can be de­vel­oped

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