Study: Half of Midland kindergartners not ready to start school

MIDLAND -- An alarming new study from the nonprofit 'Educate Midland' sheds light on the negative impact technology is having on children - Almost half of Midland kindergartners aren't ready for five key developmental areas.

Data for the study was gathered through surveys of almost all of Midland ISD's kindergarten teachers. The results were then analyzed by Educate Midland, MISD, and other community organizations.

Early childhood is a critical time for brain development, and now that kids are spending more time with technology the way they're learning is changing.

Four-year-old Grayson Bates has been learning a lot.

"He knows the Pledge of Allegiance, he has letter and number recognition, he writes and spells his name," says Ashley, Grayson's mom.

When he starts kindergarten int he fall he should be at the head of the class. Other students may not be the same.

"What we found is they need some help in their social and emotional development and their physical skills," said Della Frye, Director of MISD's Early Childhood Education.

According to Frye, kids these days aren't playing or learning the way they used to. She says there are several reasons for the change.

"We definitely see that kids who are in front of the screen or the iPad, their language skills are not as developed as what they need to be when they enter school," said Frye.

So what can parents do to change this trend?

"Talking to your child, instead of putting them in front of a phone or another screen device."

Grayson's mom agrees, but she says it's about balance.

"I do believe that technology has put a damper on things but it's a new time. You have to regulate it, but as parents if you want your children to succeed you have to interact with them."

The results from the study weren't all bad - many kindergartners are still showing to be ahead of the curve with several children doing well at learning the alphabet and numbers.