This exploratory study aimed to develop a novel evidence-base on how digital health technologies influence young people’s learning about health and wellbeing.
Focussing on the health-related areas of physical activity, diet/nutrition, body image and sleep, researchers from the University of Birmingham worked with young people to better understand, from their perspectives, the issues and opportunities generated by health-related apps and wearable devices.
Data collection took place with 245 young people (age 13-18) from 10 UK schools located in the West Midlands and the South of England. Data were generated from participatory activities and focus group interviews.
The data highlight positive impacts on young people’s physical and mental health, as well as risks and the potential for harm. Family members, peers and the health-related information young people access from social media, influenced young people to engage with health-related apps and/or devices. Schools, PE lessons and sport, as well as family members and peers, were also found to be powerful contexts where young people can be supported to engage with digital health technologies critically and safely.
This work was supported by the Society for Educational Studies