On Thursday 10 June 2021, the 11th ACHC symposium took place. The theme of this symposium was “Entertainment Media and Health”.

Entertainment media and digital communication play an important role in our daily lives. To relax and enjoy ourselves, we often spend our leisure time watching tv-series, checking updates of our friends on social media, and playing games. But to what extent does the use of these media (unconsciously) influence our physical and mental health, for example resulting from exposure to unhealthy cues in media content? And how can we defend ourselves against such influences? These questions were discussed during the 11th symposium, that was made possible by The Netherlands Flanders Communication Association (NeFCA).

The symposium was chaired by dr. Monique Alblas (UvA), who also opened the afternoon by presenting the most important results of her recently finished PhD research on the effects of exposure to food cues in television content. Tiffany van Stormbroek (De Kijkwijzer) continued and talked about their classification and warning system of potentially harmful media content, such as drugs or violence use in movies. This presentation was followed by the first keynote, jointly given by prof. dr. Patti Valkenburg and dr. Ine Beyens (Universiteit van Amsterdam). They presented an advanced n=1 method for studying the relationship between social media and wellbeing in adolescents. Next, dr. Charlotte de Backer (Universiteit Antwerpen) presented her work on the abundance of food information, and sources of information, in (online) media and its potential impact, and Erwin Fisser (Soa Aids Nederland) gave a talk about collaborating with YouTubers for sexual health campaigns. The program continued with a presentation by dr. Mariek van den Abeele (Universiteit Gent) on digital wellbeing, and the balance between connectivity and disconnection. In addition, 5 Blitz speakers presented their recent research findings and ongoing research projects. The afternoon ended with the second keynote, given by dr. Esther Rozendaal (Erasmus Universiteit Amsterdam). In her talk, Esther presented her work on advertising literacy as strategy to defend ourselves against negative influences of media use on health behaviour.

The ACHC and the audience look back at a successful and inspiring symposium. The full program can be found here. For those who would like to see the presentations, these can be found on the ACHC website.