Young People's health-related engagements with/in digital spaces

Sarah MacIsaac, Oliver Hooper

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Schools are often considered key sites for teaching young people about health. However, much learning around health and the body occurs through public pedagogies. Public pedagogy previously occurred mostly within families or through mediums such as the traditional media but, as digital spaces become ever more prominent within society, they are increasingly becoming influential avenues for learning. Research suggests that young people engage frequently with such digital spaces, spending increasing amounts of time online and valuing digital spaces for learning about health. However, there are concerns about young people's engagements with digital spaces, including those around screen time and sedentary behaviours, body dissatisfaction and cyberbullying. Whilst it is known that young people engage frequently with these digital spaces, the implications of their engagements, and their influence on young people's knowledge and behaviours, remain somewhat unclear. This chapter explores key digital spaces within which young people learn about health and their bodies, specifically wearable devices and self-tracking technologies and social media platforms. It highlights how young people use these digital spaces, what they access and learn as they do so and the resulting implications of such use. Subsequently, consideration is given to how young people's engagements with/in digital spaces may influence their experiences of, and engagements with, physical education (PE) in schools. Finally, it explores the ways in which PE teachers might make constructive links between the health-related learning occurring within digital spaces and that within PE and how they might help young people engage positively with such digital spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Pedagogies in Physical Education, Physical Activity and Health
EditorsJulie Stirrup, Oliver Hooper
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003003991
ISBN (Print)9780367435844 , 9780367423667
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2021


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