Education in the Digital Age

Healthy and Happy Children

image of Education in the Digital Age

The COVID-19 pandemic was a forceful reminder that education plays an important role in delivering not just academic learning, but also in supporting physical and emotional well-being. Balancing traditional “book learning” with broader social and personal development means new roles for schools and education more generally.

This volume is part of a series that examines the intersections between education, well-being and digital technologies. Complementing the first volume Educating 21st Century Children: Emotional Well-Being in the Digital Age, this volume turns the spotlight on physical health and well-being. It explores the important role of play and risk-taking in learning. It examines the “pursuit of perfection” and the impact on children’s lives, whether it be physical, cognitive or academic. It highlights important efforts countries have made to tackle inequality and protect and empower students in both physical and digital environments. It ends with a look at the pending agenda, underscoring the role of partnerships, policy and protection.


Physical health trends in childhood

Establishing good physical health and healthy behaviours in childhood and adolescence is essential for well-being, education and health outcomes later in life. The last half century has seen a number of improvements in child and adolescent health on average across the OECD, notably the reduction of rates of accidental death and injury and a decline in alcohol consumption, smoking and teenage pregnancy. On the other hand decreasing rates of physical activity and rising levels of obesity continue to be a challenge. Education, along with individual, community and society level factors, affects these trends. This chapter explores physical health trends in childhood, their modifiers, and some qualities of effective interventions in education. It covers knowledge gaps and research limitations, and high priority challenges faced by OECD and partner countries.


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