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      Social media and digital technology use among Indigenous young people in Australia: a literature review

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          Abstract

          Introduction

          The use of social media and digital technologies has grown rapidly in Australia and around the world, including among Indigenous young people who face social disadvantage. Given the potential to use social media for communication, providing information and as part of creating and responding to social change, this paper explores published literature to understand how Indigenous Australian youth use digital technologies and social media, and its positive and negative impacts.

          Methods

          Online literature searches were conducted in three databases: PubMed, Google Scholar and Informit in August 2014; with further searches of additional relevant databases (Engineering Village; Communication & mass media complete; Computers & applied sciences complete; Web of Science) undertaken in May 2015. In addition, relevant literature was gathered using citation snowballing so that additional peer-reviewed and grey literature was included. Articles were deemed relevant if they discussed social media and/or digital technologies and Indigenous Australians. After reading and reviewing all relevant articles, a thematic analysis was used to identify overall themes and identify specific examples.

          Results

          A total of 22 papers were included in the review. Several major themes were identified about how and why Indigenous young people use social media: identity, power and control, cultural compatibility and community and family connections. Examples of marketing for health and health promotion approaches that utilize social media and digital technologies were identified. Negative uses of social media such as cyber bullying, cyber racism and the exchange of sexually explicit content between minors are common with limited approaches to dealing with this at the community level.

          Discussion

          Strong cultural identity and community and family connections, which can be enhanced through social media, are linked to improved educational and health outcomes. The confidence that Indigenous young people demonstrate when approaching the use of social media invites its further use, including in arenas where this group may not usually participate, such as in research.

          Conclusions

          Future research could examine ways to minimise the misuse of social media while maximising its positive potential in the lives of Indigenous young people. Future research should also focus on the positive application of social media and showing evidence in health promotion interventions in order to reduce health inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people.

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          Most cited references23

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          The effectiveness of social marketing interventions for health improvement: what's the evidence?

          To review the effectiveness of social marketing interventions designed to improve diet, increase physical activity, and tackle substance misuse. This article describes three reviews of systematic reviews and primary studies that evaluate social marketing effectiveness. All three reviews used pre-defined search and inclusion criteria and defined social marketing interventions as those which adopted six key social marketing principles. The reviews provide evidence that social marketing interventions can be effective in improving diet, increasing exercise, and tackling the misuse of substances like alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. There is evidence that social marketing interventions can work with a range of target groups, in different settings, and can work upstream as well as with individuals. Social marketing provides a very promising framework for improving health both at the individual level and at wider environmental and policy-levels. Problems with research design, lack of conceptual understanding or implementation are valid research concerns.
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            Social Media and Mobile Apps for Health Promotion in Australian Indigenous Populations: Scoping Review

            Background Health promotion organizations are increasingly embracing social media technologies to engage end users in a more interactive way and to widely disseminate their messages with the aim of improving health outcomes. However, such technologies are still in their early stages of development and, thus, evidence of their efficacy is limited. Objective The study aimed to provide a current overview of the evidence surrounding consumer-use social media and mobile software apps for health promotion interventions, with a particular focus on the Australian context and on health promotion targeted toward an Indigenous audience. Specifically, our research questions were: (1) What is the peer-reviewed evidence of benefit for social media and mobile technologies used in health promotion, intervention, self-management, and health service delivery, with regard to smoking cessation, sexual health, and otitis media? and (2) What social media and mobile software have been used in Indigenous-focused health promotion interventions in Australia with respect to smoking cessation, sexual health, or otitis media, and what is the evidence of their effectiveness and benefit? Methods We conducted a scoping study of peer-reviewed evidence for the effectiveness of social media and mobile technologies in health promotion (globally) with respect to smoking cessation, sexual health, and otitis media. A scoping review was also conducted for Australian uses of social media to reach Indigenous Australians and mobile apps produced by Australian health bodies, again with respect to these three areas. Results The review identified 17 intervention studies and seven systematic reviews that met inclusion criteria, which showed limited evidence of benefit from these interventions. We also found five Australian projects with significant social media health components targeting the Indigenous Australian population for health promotion purposes, and four mobile software apps that met inclusion criteria. No evidence of benefit was found for these projects. Conclusions Although social media technologies have the unique capacity to reach Indigenous Australians as well as other underserved populations because of their wide and instant disseminability, evidence of their capacity to do so is limited. Current interventions are neither evidence-based nor widely adopted. Health promotion organizations need to gain a more thorough understanding of their technologies, who engages with them, why they engage with them, and how, in order to be able to create successful social media projects.
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              Protest 2.0: online interactions and Aboriginal activists

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                esr36@georgetown.edu
                Journal
                Int J Equity Health
                Int J Equity Health
                International Journal for Equity in Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                1475-9276
                25 May 2016
                25 May 2016
                2016
                : 15
                : 81
                Affiliations
                [ ]Georgetown University, 3700, O St NW, Washington, DC 20057 USA
                [ ]Western Australian Centre for Rural Health (WACRH), University of Western Australia, 167 Fitzgerald St, Geraldton, WA 6530 Australia
                Article
                366
                10.1186/s12939-016-0366-0
                4881203
                27225519
                5b8b73d0-540a-4e60-99eb-79f806975a62
                © Rice et al. 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                History
                : 16 December 2015
                : 4 May 2016
                Categories
                Systematic Review
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2016

                Health & Social care
                social media,digital technology,indigenous,aboriginal,youth,young people,australia
                Health & Social care
                social media, digital technology, indigenous, aboriginal, youth, young people, australia

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