We live in a day and age when we can Google anything we want to know, about any subject or topic, and instantly access a wealth of information. While this can be an effective method of answering questions and learning new things, it can also be worrisome. Teenagers are part of an instant gratification generation, where they find the answers they want in seconds. Here are a few thoughts on teen health and how kids of even a young age use the internet and technology to learn about their bodies.
Why Teens Google Their Health
Teenagers have a growing number of questions about their health and the changes occurring in their body. They Google everything from skincare and beauty, to weight loss, questions regarding puberty, sex, and any health concerns they are too embarrassed or insecure to talk to their parents or physician about. One of the many problems with this is they may end up severely misinformed. This could lead to unhealthy self-diagnosis or self-treatment, even destructive behaviors.
Self-Diagnosis Is Not The Only Concern
Another factor teens may fail to consider is the information they access may not be accurate, or if they post their health-related questions to a public forum or Facebook group, their health is now a matter of public information. Last, students don’t just Google their health, but yours. If you have a chronic health condition, they may Google it and find information that is frightening. Again, they may not be gathering this information from a reputable source.
To help parents navigate this concern, which did not exist when they were in high school, we have attached a podcast from DigitalParentPodcast.com. This 35-minute talk with Dr. Laura Offutt helps parents and their kids take a proactive approach to digital health. She even shares some teen-friendly reliable sources. Dr. Offutt is the top teen health advocate in the country; she can also be found on YouTube.