King County Kids Can’t Tell Time. Should We Care?

A recent study suggests that only 35 percent of children in King County can tell time on an analog clock. Like other arguably antiquated abilities such as writing in cursive, telling time though on an analog clock seems to have been lost in the digital age.

Time is of the essence. Unless, apparently, it’s read on an analog clock.

A recent study suggests that only 35 percent of children in King County can tell time on an analog clock. Like other arguably antiquated abilities such as writing in cursive, telling time though on an analog clock seems to have been lost in the digital age.

Specifically, a DiscountWatchStore.com survey—we know, we know, consider the source—found that only 37 of the 105 children tested received an adequate score. This despite the fact that the second grade Common Core in Washington State requires that children be able to tell time the old fashion way.

But some aren’t ready to let telling time go the way of handwriting. The Bellevue Boys and Girls club last week hosted a workshop to teach kids the lost skill, which the group says remains an important part of daily life.

“I think we need to take a step back and do it the old fashioned way,” Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue’s Shannon Kestner says. “Reading an analog clock gives [kids] a grasp on the concept of time, that time is actually happening. It’s also a great visual for math skills.”

Although kids learn how to read analog clocks in school, Kester said many older kids lose the skill because they don’t use it day-to-day.

James Fattal, a spokesman for DiscountWatchStore.com, also said he feels the ability to read an analog clock is still an important ability—and not just because it helps his company move product.

“It’s something that is still present in our modern day,” said Fattal. “Children may still find themselves in situations where they’ll need to tell time on an analog clock.” (For one, he says, maybe they wind up in London staring at Big Ben).

Fattal said he attributes the inability to read analog clocks to the laziness of modern society. Why do something the hard way when there’s a digital solution?

Not everyone is convinced, though.

The blog Seattleish, writing in response to the study, argues that there are other, more modern ways to teach kids concepts of time.

“there are a lot of dope ways to enrich a kid’s brain that doesn’t involve shaming them for growing up in a different generation,” the blog post states. “Get that kid a Sudoku puzzle! Or a crossword! Play a memory game with them!”

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