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Young people’s uses of wearable healthy lifestyle technologies; surveillance, self-surveillance and resistance.
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.
Department of Life Sciences, Brunel University London, London, UK.
Örebro University, School of Health Sciences. (SMED)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8748-8843
2017 (English)In: Sport, Education and Society, ISSN 1357-3322, E-ISSN 1470-1243, p. 1-14Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

An international evidence-base demonstrates that healthy lifestyle digital technologies, like exergames, health-related mobile applications (‘apps’) and wearable health devices are being used more and more within educational settings. Despite this, there is a lack of in-depth empirical evidence on young people’s experiences and uses of healthy lifestyle technologies. In this article we focus on young people’s uses of a wearable health device – Fitbit – and the associated health app. Informed by the work of Foucault, the purpose is to investigate the surveillance, self-surveillance and resistance that occur by young people. One hundred 13–14 years olds (53 females, 47 males), from five physical education classes in two UK schools participated. Data were generated through 8 focus group interviews, and the nominal interview group technique was applied. Data were analyzed using key concepts from Foucault’s theoretical framework. The results demonstrated that, the daily 10,000 step and calorie burning targets set by the Fitbit device encouraged the young people to do more physical activity. Increases in physical activity occurred because of the self-surveillant practices promoted by the Fitbit through; (i) the monitoring and recording of steps and calories burned, and (ii) peer comparison (or monitoring). Surveillance and self-surveillance practices, however, were clearly connected to health equating to fitness and being ‘fit’ or not being ‘fat’. These narrow interpretations of health, equally, underpinned resistance. Daily step and calorie burning targets, (i) did not sustain young people’s engagement with the device beyond a few weeks, (ii) promoted negative feelings, and (iii) the device was resisted because it did not record physical activity accurately as part of young people’s daily lives. In turn, the young people resisted the educational value of the Fitbit and demonstrated a sceptical stance toward introducing health devices in school and physical education settings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2017. p. 1-14
Keywords [en]
Fitbit, physical activity, biopedagogies, gaze, power relations
National Category
Educational Sciences Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Sports Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-61957DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2017.1375907Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85029908858OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-61957DiVA, id: diva2:1152791
Available from: 2017-10-26 Created: 2017-10-26 Last updated: 2017-11-01Bibliographically approved

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Quennerstedt, Mikael

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