Study Shows That The Internet Is Improving Teens' Healthy Habits

According to a new survey, 84 percent of teens research their health online and one-third of them use this information to improve their healthy habits.


Before you automatically assume a teen staring at a smartphone is just playing Candy Crush or sending Snapchats, listen to this! A new study found that teens often consult the web for health-related inquiries and this leads to improving their overall habits. The research comes from Northwestern University and they discovered that nearly one-third of teens used information found online to improve their behavior — whether exercising to fight depression or testing out healthy recipes to become more nutritious, the Washington Post reports.

This study provided a wealth of valuable information about teens. It showed that they take seriously what content is provided to them online. The most commonly researched topics by teens are fitness, nutrition, stress or anxiety, and other mental health issues. It also revealed that teens often look up information online to help better understand the health conditions of their family and friends.

In the previously mentioned Washington Post article, Vicky Rideout, the study's co-author, explains:

I mainly find it kind of moving, because it really illustrates that a lot of teens are grappling with very real, very important health challenges and that the Internet is empowering them with the information they need to take better care of themselves.

Another interesting result from the study? Parents are still teens' number-one source for health info. That means they take seriously what you — the adults in their lives — have to say. The next most trusted sources are health teachers and doctors/nurses. Researchers say, "The Internet is not replacing parents, teachers, and doctors; it is supplementing them."

While it's very promising that teens are taking their health into their own hands, it doesn't hurt to point them in the right direction. Since they still value what adults have to say, try encouraging them to check out these resources:

• Health teacher and blogger Amy Lauren Smith compiled a list of online health resources that are worth perusing.

The Crisis Text Line is a 24-hour texting hotline that is there to help teens. Share this article and remind them it's there if need be!

Project UROK is a non-profit that wants teens dealing with mental health struggles to know they're not alone. Their site features videos from adults sharing their own stories about mental health, and encourages teens to upload their own.

What are your most trusted and go-to resources for teen health? Send us a tweet @Choices_Mag to share the knowledge!