Funded by The Wellcome Trust, this research project will examine young people’s (13-18 years) engagement with digital health technologies. Mobile and wearable health technologies are revolutionising healthcare, profoundly changing Government policies and the ways that health knowledge is being created, accessed and used around the world. Digital health technologies provide mechanisms of self-surveillance for individuals to measure, monitor and regulate their bodies. Yet, little is known about individuals’ experiences of these technologies, their actual impact on health practices, and the ethical risks or harms they present. The research will address major and pressing gaps in health knowledge, by providing unique insights into young people’s experiences of digital health technologies promoting ‘healthy lifestyles’. This project will develop an innovative theoretically-informed and methodologically novel research approach, bringing together perspectives from the fields of critical digital health, pedagogy and ethics and utilising innovative qualitative methods of data collection to identify related inequalities and opportunities.
The project aims to:
1) explore how young people’s access to and engagement with digital health technologies is shaped by socio-cultural context (geographical, familial, spatial, religious, socoeconomic, cultural) and background (age, gender, digital experience) and identify related disparities.
2) broaden and deepen our understanding of the transformative potential of digital health on young people’s lives and the complex configurations that operate around their digital health encounters.
3) Informed by theoretical frameworks of pedagogy, document the processes of learning through which young people discover, select, adopt, share, employ, resist or reject the information and assumptions about health and bodies that are offered by digital technologies.
Ethnography, Qualitative Interview, Digital Ecology, Online Survey