Effect of Touch Screen Tablet Use on Fine Motor Development of Young Children

Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2017 Oct 20;37(5):457-467. doi: 10.1080/01942638.2016.1255290. Epub 2017 Jan 10.


Aim: To investigate the effects of touch-screen tablet use on the fine motor development of preschool children without developmental delay.

Methods: 40 children who used a touch-screen tablet more 60 minutes per week for at least 1 month received a 24-week home fine motor activity program using a touch-screen-tablet. 40 children matched for age (mean = 61.0 months) and sex who did not meet the criteria for previous tablet use received a 24-week program consisting of manual play activities. Motor performance was measured using the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency. The two-factor mixed design ANOVA was used to compare performance of the touch-screen tablet and non-touch-screen tablet groups.

Results: Pretest analysis showed no group differences in motor performance and pinch strength. At posttest, children in the nontouch-screen-tablet group made significantly greater changes in fine motor precision (p < 0.001), fine motor integration (p = 0.008), and manual dexterity (p = 0.003).

Conclusion: Using a touch screen tablet extensively might be disadvantageous for the fine motor development of preschool children.

Keywords: Touch-screen tablet; child development; fine motor; preschool.

MeSH terms

  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computers, Handheld*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Pinch Strength / physiology