Here at BodiMojo, we’re here to help you embrace technology, while taking a look at how we can team up to align it with our forces as we help teens grow into happy, healthy young adults. Today, we’re happy to share with you some positive research associated with teens’ internet use. Teens are using the world wide web more than ever today to improve their health, and they are not posting their findings to social media.
A recent study from Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development took a look at teen’s health and technology use in a national survey of 13 to 18 year olds. According to the study, nearly one-third of teenagers said they used online data to improve their health decisions — such as cutting back on drinking soda, using exercise to combat depression and trying healthier recipes. We’re beginning to see the positive link between wellness and technology.
What exactly did the study find? The three top-searched health related concerns for teens were: fitness and exercise, diet and nutrition and stress or anxiety. In times of concern regarding their health, teens are consulting the internet and making positive changes in their lives as a result.
“I searched up anxiety, depression and causes of self-harming because last year I was having problems with these things and I didn’t want to speak to my parents about it because they didn’t know. The sites I saw helped until I gained enough confidence and told my Mom and Dad,” said one 13-year-old Hispanic female in the study.
Apart from teenagers consulting the internet to find detailed information about their own health concerns or curiosity, the study also detailed how teens are pursuing the internet to find health information related to something their parent’s, grandparents and loved ones may be experiencing.
“My grandma has Alzheimers and I wanted to learn about it,” said a 15-year-old White female.
Despite the inquiries into health related concerns, curiosity and overall information-seeking, the study showed that teenagers are not posting their findings to social media. They are educating themselves about health, but they are not following up on social media with their friends about it.
“For health things, if you wouldn’t feel comfortable telling your grandma, you shouldn’t post it online.” said one 7th grade female in a focus group as part of the study. While we may see our children, teens and adolescents using social media incessantly, they are not sharing personal information about their health or the health of their loved ones to social networking sites.
Lastly, the study looked at where teen’s most valued health information came from. Great news. Parents still remain by far the leading source of health information for teenagers. Fifty-five percent of teens surveyed said they get “a lot” of health information from parents, followed by health classes in school, doctors and nurses. The internet is fourth in place when it comes to health information consumption for teenagers, far surpassing other media such as: books, television, news and magazines. Eighty-four percent of teens said they consult the internet for health information.
What does this mean for you? You can rest assured that your teen is likely improving his or her health with internet use and not over sharing it to social media. While he or she is likely using this as an asset to help become his or her best when it comes to health, he or she still depends on you for most information related to health.
Here at BodiMojo, we’re happy to be your trusted resource for information about taking care of your child, teen and/or adolescent’s health and well-being. Please continue to be a part of our community as we work toward bridging the positive impacts of technology use and well-being!