With concerns of digital technology harming young people’s health, a new study from the University of Birmingham says that mobile applications focused on exercise, diet and wellness promote their overall well-being and act as effective learning tools.
The study showed that young people are “critical participants” of digital health technologies and are able to judge which health related apps are relevant to their age and bodies, source appropriate digital content as well as dismiss those that might be harmful to them.
The study revealed that there are currently over 160,000 health apps available on the major app stores focused on wellness, diet and exercise of which many you people used frequently – although the apps were targeted towards adults.
For the study, the team included 245 young people aged from 13 to 18.
Findings, published in the Journal of Learning, Media and Technology, showed that one-third of the participants were active users of apps and devices related to exercise, diet and wellness such as MyFitnessPal, HealthEngine and RunKeeper.
Importantly, many of the participants were able to disregard content that was either irrelevant to them, potentially harmful to their bodies, or simply ‘boring’.
The researchers concluded that health education can be enhanced by learning from the ways in which young people access, select and use digital health technologies.