Study: Teens Turn to Web for Health-Related Issues

Teens and young adults are flocking to the Web for health-related information as much as they are downloading music and playing games online and more often than shopping online, according to a national survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation released on Tuesday.

A survey conducted by the foundation found that one in four people 15 to 24 years old say that they get "a lot'' of health information online and a significant proportion of youth are acting on what they find.

"We had no idea that so many young people were going online to get health information. A lot of us assumed that they were going online just to download the latest Red Hot Chili Peppers song so that was a surprise. It is even more so than adults,'' said Victoria Rideout, vice president and director of the program for the Study of Entertainment Media and Health at the foundation.

Nearly 40 percent of them saying they have changed their own behavior because of information they found on the Web.

The survey, Generation, includes findings on how young people use the Internet as a health resource, their concerns about confidentiality, their opinions on filtering technology and online pornography, and new data on where and how often teens and young adults are going online.

Half of all online youths have searched the Web for information on specific diseases such as cancer or diabetes and sensitive, youth-oriented topics, such as HIV (news - web sites)/AIDS (news - web sites), birth control, and sexually transmitted diseases, are also popular.

About one in four of those surveyed have looked up information on weight issues, mental health, drugs and alcohol, and violence.

"Confidentiality is so important and at this point most young people have faith that the Internet offers them that confidentiality,'' Rideout said.

News source: Yahoo!/Internet Report

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