A Dose of Social Media Can Be Healthy for Teens

By now, most of us know that teens are among the most active online users, but did you know that one of the activities they are engaging in online is seeking health information? According to the Pew’s Teen Life Online, older girls are the most likely to look for health, fitness or diet information – 40% of online girls 15 to 17 reported that they had done so. Older boys were the next most likely to search for that information with 26% saying they had visited those sites. Eighteen percent of all the younger (12-14) online teens said they had looked for health, fitness or dieting information.

Flickr: Frerieke

If you are concerned about the credibility of the information they may find online, and your hospital wants to strengthen its ties in the community, consider giving away something that you have a lot of…expertise in the field of health and nutrition. By setting up a teen social media health program (consider partnering with the local school district or health agency), you have an opportunity to provide a great community service and form stronger community relationships.

In addition to health information, 25% of teens surveyed had also gone online looking for “information that is hard to talk about with others.” One 16-year-old boy wrote about visiting a website just for teens, “…the site had information on puberty and all the awkward teenage moments. It was a really nice, helpful site.” A 17-year-old girl who also used a teen site added, “It’s less weird and cheaper than going to a doctor to ask.” With social media, you can create your own locally based teen health and wellness site featuring your own doctors!

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