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The impact of technology on children's physical activity
The impact of technology on children's physical activity

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2 In what ways do children interact with technology?

You will start by looking at the range of technology that children typically have access to, the different ways in which they engage with it and the impact of technology on their physical activity levels.

Described image
Figure 2 Father and toddler looking at a tablet

The range of technology that children have access to has changed enormously over the past two decades, and today’s ‘digital universe’ is very different from the universe that many of us will have grown up in. Children of today are often referred to as ‘digital natives’, as they have been brought up using the internet and technology from a very young age.

Activity 2 introduces you to a family whose 5-year-old daughter has developed a less-than-positive relationship with technology.

Activity 2 Children and technology

Timing: Allow 20 minutes

Now watch the video, Digital devices and children [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (located partway down the article page), to see how a family are working towards changing their daughter’s use of technology. Although this is aimed at parents, it provides a useful insight into how some families use technology and the impact of this on their children’s physical activity levels.

Now think back to when you were a child growing up, and answer the following questions:

  1. What technology did you have access to?
  2. How did you spend your free time?


Depending on your age you may have had access to very similar technology to that which is around now. However, for some people a TV may have been the sole form of technology you had access to. Free time outside of school may have been dominated by playing with friends or at after-school clubs, screen time or spending time with family. It is worth reflecting on the different ways that children spend their free time now.