75% of Young Web Users Seek Health Information Online
Three-fourths of American Internet users between the ages of 15 and 24 have used the Internet to find health or medical information, according to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. ABCNEWS.com reports that the only online activities in which more young people have participated are e-mailing, school research and finding news and entertainment information. The survey, conducted between Sept. 24 and Oct. 31, is the first in-depth look at how young people use the Internet for health purposes. Almost half of survey respondents reported using the Internet to find information about sexual health, with the "vast majority" rating issues such as pregnancy, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases as "very important." "It may be something they don't want their parents to know about," said Dr. Robert Johnson, director of adolescent and young adult medicine at the New Jersey Medical School in Newark, N.J. Many youths researching sexually transmitted diseases and other sensitive issues "would much rather go to the Internet than [to] a parent," Johnson added. While nearly 40% of survey participants said they had changed their behavior based on information they found online, only 17% said they trust the information on the Internet "a lot." By comparison, 85% said they trust the information they get from their physicians. Almost all, however, said the information they find online is useful (Carpenter, ABCNews.com, 12/11). To view the study, go to http://www.kff.org/content/2001/20011211a/.