February 1, 2014

Online social networking sites-a novel setting for health promotion?

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Online social networking sites-a novel setting for health promotion?

Health Place. 2013 Dec 25;26C:161-170

Authors: Loss J, Lindacher V, Curbach J

Among adolescents, online social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook are popular platforms for social interaction and may therefore be considered as 'novel settings' that could be exploited for health promotion. In this article, we examine the relevant definitions in health promotion and literature in order to analyze whether key characteristics of 'settings for health promotion' and the socio-ecological settings approach can be transferred to SNS. As many of our daily activities have shifted to cyberspace, we argue that online social interaction may gain more importance than geographic closeness for defining a 'setting'. While exposition to positive references to risk behavior by peers may render the SNS environment detrimental to health, SNS may allow people to create their own content and therefore foster participation. However, those health promotion projects delivered on SNS up until today solely relied on health education directed at end users. It remains unclear how health promotion on SNS can meet other requirements of the settings approach (e.g. building partnerships, changing the environment). As yet, one should be cautious in terming SNS a 'setting'.

PMID: 24457613 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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