Today’s teenagers were born in the digital era, providing them with the skills and inspiration to develop new ways of improving the health and wellbeing of everyone through technology.
The #DigiInventorsChallenge is a fantastic opportunity for Scottish teens to show what they are made of in the digital health arena. Here, Andy Murray explains his reasons for backing the challenge.
It's great that the #DigiInventorsChallenge is aimed at teenagers because at that age you have a very vivid imagination and you are not limited by what you think you can achieve, in the same way as you are when you're an adult.
When I look back at some of my interviews as a teenager, I had that belief that I could do anything and win any match. That sort of mentality will be great in terms of what ideas and concepts are entered into the competition. Scottish teenagers will also unfortunately have a very real experience of knowing somebody with ill health or living with somebody with a long term health condition, and that will definitely shape the type of ideas they come up with too.
There is a lot of publicity around health and wellbeing for young people, but whether a young person at say 12 or 13 actually understands the implications is another thing. It's really important that we continue to bang the drum about eating well, exercising, and spending less time in front of a screen, but it's also important to then give people choices for how they can do things differently. And that's where hopefully this challenge will help. If somebody creates a game that gets people moving, for example, that's a great way of tackling too much screen time in a way that might engage people more than trying to get them to a gym or get them running round a field.
There is much more focus on learning about technology in schools now and almost all teenagers own their own mobile phones and tablets. The kids that are leaving school this year will be looking at healthcare in a totally different way to people ten or fifteen years ago. From my own experience in tennis as well, in the past couple of years I've seen how data can really influence my training and my match strategy, and that knowledge and access to data and content is improving all of the time. I also work with Seedrs, a crowd funding platform, and I'm always really impressed with the innovative ideas that come through some of the young entrepreneurs they are working with.
I think the biggest barrier is probably changing the way people behave already. A lot of behaviour around exercise and diet is established in childhood or is dictated by your parents, so it's very well established, and difficult to change. That's why looking at these issues in a fresh way, a digital way, is a great idea as it may be possible to shake up somebody's habits and ultimately improve their health and wellbeing.
My advice to young people thinking about taking part in the #DigiInventorsChallenge is to give it a go. You never know what you are capable of unless you try.
Thanks for reading,