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Exercise & Wellness Apps as Resources for Young People

A new study performed at the University of Birmingham, and published in the journal Learning, Media and Technology, indicates that young people are apt at judging which health apps are relevant to their age and needs, as well as source relevant digital content.

The study looked at 245 individuals ranging in age from 13 to 18 years across the United Kingdom. About one third of participants were active users of apps and devices that are related to wellness, diet, and exercise.

The researchers found that while peers, parents, and schools had some influence over the apps and devices that were used, most participants were able to disregard content that did not apply to them without influence. They also adapted to the apps with a high level of understanding. When the participants abandoned an app early, it was often because the app was tailored to the needs of adults.

The published research states that young people are “critical participants” of digital health technology. Study leader Dr. Victoria Goodyear, from the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, mentioned that there are over 160,000 health-related apps available. However, most of these are designed for adults to use.
This study challenges the broad assumption that technology for young people is harmful. With health-related apps, health education among young people can be enhanced. The study also demonstrates how we can learn from the way young people use digital health technology to make it more engaging and appealing to all users.

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