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SEMINAR | Sexual health among friends: young people, social media, and health promotion



Start Date

29th Jun 2016 2:30pm

End Date

29th Jun 2016 3:30pm

Institute for the Study of Social Change logo

A University of Tasmania Digital Cultures Research Collective and Institute for the Study of Social Change seminar

presented by

Dr Paul Byron, UNSW

Currently, health promoters grapple with using social media for the promotion of young people's sexual health. Common to these struggles is a failure to consider the specificities of young people's social media use, and the central role of friendship within this. Social media obviously differ to traditional media, where sexual health promotion has historically presented its messages. In digital media cultures, the young person can no longer be approached as an isolated consumer, but as a networked media producer. Addressing public health's failure to attend to the participatory culture of social media, I reverse the focus to begin with friendship – as the foundation and impetus for young people's social media practices.

Beginning with mediated friendship practices, we can ask: how might friendship intimacies encourage and support sexual health discussion within young people's personal networks? For health communication to be fostered and practiced through online social networks, health promoters must consider the conditions, affordances, and risks of these networks. Doing so can inform new ways of generating and sharing sexual health information, beyond an expert/consumer binary. To date, health promoters have not deeply considered the role of friendship in everyday health communications, and this paper seeks to challenge this by highlighting young people's accounts of friendship for sexual health support, drawing focus groups and interviews with young people from Sydney and regional Australia.

Wednesday 29 June 2016, 2.30pm

Launceston, Newnham Campus: A001 (Video Immersion Room)
Hobart, Sandy Bay Campus: Physics 218 (Video Immersion Room)

Please contact Dr Brady Robards for more information

Event Flyer (PDF 407KB)