The Role of Online Social Networking Sites in Promoting Health for Digital Natives and Immigrants

By Diane Hamilton-Hancock and Leaunda Hemphill.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Known as digital natives, the Net Generation was born around the time the personal computer was introduced, has never known life without technology, and takes for granted that the Internet has always existed. Social networking sites (SNSs) have attracted millions of users worldwide and are increasing attracting the attention of academic and healthcare professionals who are intrigued by their affordability and reach. A review of the literature will focus on the learning characteristics of the Net Generation compared to those of digital immigrants (persons over age 25), and will consider implications for creating online networks for each group. A comprehensive definition of SNSs will be offered along with an examination of the benefits and barriers of using social networks in health and wellness promotion. Step-by-step instructions for creating a SNS using Ning will be provided to aid educators and professionals in creating a site that includes components such as photo and video features, slide presentations, RSS feeds, blog posts, text boxes, hyperlinks, privacy settings, and broadcasts.

Keywords: Net Generation, Digital Native, Digital Immigrant, Social Network Site

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.75-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 599.243KB).

Dr. Diane Hamilton-Hancock

Professor of Health Sciences, Department of Health Sciences, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois, USA

Diane Hamilton-Hancock teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in the Department of Health Sciences at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. She has taught and conducted research in women's health issues, sexuality education, eating disorders prevention and treatment, and the spiritual dimension of health. Most recently, she has worked in instructional design to train students and professionals in the use of innovative technologies to promote health and wellness. In addition to a Ph.D. in health education, Dr. Hamilton-Hancock also holds a M.S. in counseling and a B.S. in dietetics. Before teaching at the university, she provided health and wellness education to numerous corporations, organizations, and institutions and worked extensively as a media consultant providing heath programming for television and radio.

Dr. Leaunda Hemphill

Associate Professor, Department of Instructional Design and Technology, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Illinois, USA

Leaunda Hemphill teaches K-12 technology integration, visual design, and instructional design courses in the Instructional Design and Technology Department at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. She has a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology and has worked extensively in instructional design, training delivery, and cutting edge technology in corporate and academic organizations. She has a M.S. in English, a B.S. in Secondary Education, and a B.S. in Geology. Dr. Hemphill's current research includes the development of K-12 online teaching modules, construction of an instrument to assess the interactivity of online instruction, development of scoring protocols for evaluating the quality of student online writing projects, evaluation of online informal education sites, and evaluation of technology workshops for K-12 educators, principals, and parents.

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