Events Calendar

Big Data in the Digital Health Landscape

Thursday, October 22, 2020
4:30 pm

"Big Data in the Digital Health Landscape: An exploration of apps within the transition to parenting context and the co-production of ethical practice in research with minors"

Presented by Danica Facca
Via Zoom

Contact the Mediations Facebook event team to request the Zoom login.
Everyone is welcome.


This talk will report on two separate, but complementary studies funded by Western’s Faculty of Health Sciences Emerging Team Grant headed by Dr. Lorie Donelle. The first part of the talk will share an excerpt of findings from a qualitative descriptive study (Transition to Parenting within the Context of Digital Health 3-year study 2019-2022), which employed focus groups to understand new parents’ experiences with and uses of digital technology during four-stages—pre-natal, pregnancy, labour, and post-partum—of their transition to becoming a new parent. In particular, these findings will focus on the intersection of motherhood and surveillance and the ways in which digital technologies amplify intensive mothering norms; mothers are caught in a double bind of being expected to utilize whatever tools are available at their disposal, online or otherwise, for the sake of their families’ well-being, while being scrutinized by others about whether or not their digital practices are appropriate, excessive and potentially damaging to their families’ well-being.

The second part of the talk will report on a related and recently published study Exploring the ethical issues in research using digital data collection strategies with minors: A scoping review (Facca, Smith, Shelley et al., 2020) which explored existing literature to canvass current ethical issues that arise when using digital data collection in research with minors to inform methodological approaches of using big data strategies within future digital health research work. Themes which emerged across the reviewed literature included: consent, data handling and ownership, children’s data rights, observing behaviors that may result in risk of harm to participants or others, private versus public conceptualizations of data generated via social media, and gatekeeping. The review revealed that there is a degree of uncertainty which invariably exists regarding the ethics of research that involves children and digital technology which can often lead to the preclusion of minors from otherwise important lines of research inquiry. While uncertainty warrants ethical consideration, increased ethical scrutiny and restricting the conduct of such research raises its own ethical challenges. The talk will conclude with a discussion about the ethical merits of co-producing ethical practice with minors in digital health research as a mechanism to proceed with such research while addressing concerns around uncertainty.

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
FIMS Communications

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