These days, teens have a new doctor.
It's called the Internet. It turns out that they are not as different are the rest of the population today: when something bothers us, whether it's a toothache or a difficulty in breathing, we try to Google our symptoms and find out what's wrong.
This has been the findings of the latest study conducted by researchers from Northwestern University. Many of the teens they have surveyed revealed they're using the Internet to help them find more health information. Not to be contented, at least 20% of the teens today download health-related apps into their mobile devices.
But before parents and caregivers worry about this new trend, know that the same study reveals something very positive. First, it seems like the teens know how to filter health information available online. This is very important since pseudo-science and myths are incredibly abundant in the Internet.
In terms of where they're getting most of their health info, at least 55% of the teens run to their parents for advice. Some are getting them from medical providers or their doctors, as well as their health classes.
When it comes to online search, teens, interestingly, use medical websites often followed by YouTube, a very popular video channel. This is then followed by Yahoo. Only very few use social media websites such as Twitter for advice or tips.
What exactly are they looking for? The researchers first assumed that most of their searches will be related to teen health concerns including sexually transmitted disease, alcohol, drugs, and other topics they will feel uncomfortable to share with their parents, teachers, or health care providers.
Surprisingly, though, less than 15% of them do that. Most are actually looking for information to help them better understand the conditions of their parents. They are also interested on how to keep themselves healthy, so most of the searches revolve around nutrition and fitness.