Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that young people are “critical participants” of digital health technologies. Teens are able to judge which fitness and wellness apps are right for them, as well as weed out content that could potentially harm them.

The study, published in the journal Learning, Media and Technology on November 7th, looked at 245 teens aged 13 to 18 and their usage of health apps. About one-third of the study’s participants were active health app users. Although many participants said school and parents were influential in their choice of apps, most of the teens were capable of choosing the apps that worked best for them on their own through trial and error.

Lead researcher, Dr. Victoria Goodyear, from the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, said, “There are currently over 160,000 health apps available on the major app stores focussed on wellness, diet and exercise and they are of particular interest to young people, however, most of these apps are designed for adults.” She stated that these apps, if targeted at a younger generation, could help teens and young adults learn more about their bodies and improve their physical activity.

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