Teens May Seek Health Information Online, Don’t Always Trust It



A study by Northwestern University Center on Media and Human Development of 1,156 adolescents (13-18) studied how teenagers learned about health. It is often assumed that adolescents are easily reached via social media, the researchers found that these efforts do not necessarily true and that often teenagers want to be more private and don’t want others to know what they’re searching about.

Teenagers reported that they primarily looked online for health information for school projects, and then for fitness and diet advice. A third sought information online when a health issue affected them, and a quarter did so to learn more about treating an illness or an injury. One in three teenagers said they changed their behavior because of what they had learned from online sites or apps.

Interestingly, when asked where they got most of their health information, 55 percent of the teenagers cited their parents. School health classes and medical providers also ranked higher than the Internet as preferred sources. Forty-one percent of teenagers searched online for “unhealthy” in formation, including drinking games and how to be anorexic or bulimic, the researchers found. Forty-three percent said they had seen pornography online.

Teen Tables












NY Times Well Blog

Teens, Health, and Technology A National Survey June 2015

Northwestern University Center on Media and Human Development






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