A new survey conducted by the Northwestern University pointed out that 84 percent of teens turn to the internet to look for health related information.
The study led by Ellen Wartella is the first study on teen information research related to health issues conducted in more than a decade. The need for updated and coherent data was imperative for a new, always connected generation.
And while the teens who responded survey, 1,156 in the age group between 13 and 18 years old mostly rely on the internet to search anything they are concerned about in terms of general health, it doesn’t mean that the family environment becomes obsolete.
55 percent of them told the surveyors that they also ask family members for help of information. 32 percent also rely on health classes organized on different topics and 29 percent seek the advice of their physicians or medical personnel.
With the increased connectivity of the millennial generation comes increased attention to hot topics related to health. The respondents answered that they search for common pains and what they might be a symptom of. Also, healthy exercising and healthy lifestyle top their concerns. Some are looking for depression and anxiety or other mental health diagnoses.
The sources they come across are most definitely trusted by a meager 24 percent, while others look in other places for added information that can help them understand the issues at hand.
It’s an exciting finding for the researchers that generally the trend among these teenagers is to improve their lifestyle in a healthy, meaningful way. Cutting off on soft drinks, having a constant intake of healthy food and exercising regularly feature among the top searches.
Approximately one quarter of the teenagers interviewed stated they check the internet for information on health conditions that are present in the family environment or that are affecting their friends.
Super connectivity does not cut back however on privacy. A settled 88 percent of the respondents told the surveyors that they would not feel comfortable to share the concerns they have or they research online via Facebook, Twitter or any other social media.
A more accurate break of searches showed that 42 percent of those participating in the survey researched for fitness and exercise. 36 percent wanted to know more on diet and nutrition guidelines.
19 percent are looking up anxiety or stress related disorders, either for them or their family and friends. Information on the difficult period they are facing, puberty is searched by 18 percent, almost the same percentage as those looking up STDs. 16 percent of the teens showed interest in mental health issues, particularly depression.
The results of the survey have been discussed in Washington D.C. as part of a conference organized by the Center on Media and Human Development of the Northwestern University.
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