Reshaping the Landscape of Care: Health Apps and the Ethics of Self-responsibility and Care for the Other

Susanna Trnka, Andrea Merino Ortiz


This article considers the ethical implications of health apps, focusing on how digital technologies create new temporalities of care for the self and for others. Drawing on our own experiences of engaging in digital care, we examine how apps that focus on mood/emotion tracking, mental health, meditation, and other forms of stress-relief reconfigure inter-relationality. Recasting how information is shared as well as the temporal possibilities of social exchanges, such health apps enable "friends" we know or are coming to know, as well as those we do not want to know, to enter into some of the most intimate aspects of our lives, as they unfold in the open-ended flow of time. In doing so, health apps, we suggest, demand a rethinking of the ethics of how we constitute and care for both the self and a variety of (known and unknown) others.


auto-ethnography, health apps; care; ethics; sociality; temporality

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