Will Technology Make My Child Obese? (And Other Physical Development Concerns)

Did you know that obe­si­ty in chil­dren is the No. 1 health con­cern among Amer­i­can par­ents? For good rea­son, as sta­tis­tics show that about one in five Amer­i­can chil­dren and teens are over­weight or obese. While health advo­cates agree that a num­ber of fac­tors con­tribute to the rise in obe­si­ty in chil­dren, tech­nol­o­gy is draw­ing more atten­tion as a poten­tial threat to children’s phys­i­cal health. What’s more, some teach­ers wor­ry that tech­nol­o­gy may be get­ting in the way of devel­op­ing the motor skills nec­es­sary to suc­ceed in school.

We’ve already looked at how tech­nol­o­gy influ­ences children’s emo­tion­al devel­op­ment, self-esteem, and think­ing. Now let’s exam­ine how tech­nol­o­gy affects your children’s phys­i­cal devel­op­ment and motor skills. This quick guide looks at the pros and cons and what par­ents need to keep in mind.

Download the Jellies App

No unboxings. No ads. Just good, quality videos for kids.

Children and Technology: Impacts on Physical Development

What does tech­nol­o­gy use mean for your child’s phys­i­cal devel­op­ment and motor skills?


  • Some apps encour­age chil­dren to get off the couch and play. One of the most pop­u­lar top­ics in Jel­lies, for exam­ple, is filled with videos that prompt chil­dren to march in place, jump, and dance in time with music. Oth­er Jel­lies top­ics inspire chil­dren to prac­tice their hand­writ­ing, draw­ing, and cre­ative skills.
  • Chil­dren need fine motor skills (fin­ger, hand, wrist, and toe move­ments) and gross motor skills (arms, legs, and feet) for coor­di­na­tion. Touch screens and oth­er tech­nol­o­gy pro­vide addi­tion­al ways for chil­dren to prac­tice their eye-hand and visu­al-motor skills. 


  • Most tech­nol­o­gy encour­ages seden­tary behav­ior. Move­ment isn’t nec­es­sary to watch videos or play a game on a tablet or phone. Instead, it takes away from valu­able, active play time.
  • Encour­age­ment and tuto­ri­als from good kids apps only go so far. Chil­dren still need the time and resources to prac­tice motor skills. For exam­ple, some teach­ers are con­cerned that tech­nol­o­gy is get­ting in the way of chil­dren build­ing enough hand strength need­ed to hold a pen­cil.

What Parents Need to Know About Children and Technology

How much time your chil­dren spend on screens mat­ters. It’s no big sur­prise that if your chil­dren are on a phone or tablet most of the day, they’re miss­ing out on the active and cre­ative pur­suits that make up a healthy, bal­anced life. Exces­sive tech­nol­o­gy use often leads to the over­all lack of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty that can cause weight gain. Add to that improp­er nutri­tion and fam­i­ly his­to­ry and you have a recipe for disaster.

This doesn’t mean you need to elim­i­nate all screen time from your children’s sched­ules. As not­ed above, some kids tech­nol­o­gy, like Jel­lies, actu­al­ly inspires chil­dren to be active and stretch their cre­ative minds to try new, fun things. It’s up to you to set bound­aries for your children’s screen use along­side active and social play­time. For help with this, check out our resource on estab­lish­ing screen time rules for your fam­i­ly.

Head on over to the Jel­lies blog for more resources about chil­dren and tech­nol­o­gy. We tack­le pop­u­lar tech par­ent­ing top­ics like The Trou­ble With Kids Video Apps and How to Set Up Parental Con­trols on Your iPhone or iPad.