Kathryn Lindsay
June 03, 2015 1:30 pm

Here’s something you can say to your parents when they tell you to get off your phone: “It’s for my health!” And it is! New research has shown that 1/3 of American teenagers use the Internet to learn about and change their health behaviors.

This makes sense because, as a teen, a lot of crazy stuff is happening to your body and to those around you, and sometimes it doesn’t feel right to text your friend “what r pimples?”

Enter: The Internet. It comes in fourth as a source teenagers use for finding out information about their health, sitting only behind parents, school classes and doctors. In terms of what teens are specifically searching, The Washington Post breaks it down for you:

It’s not that teens are solely learning from the Internet, but that they’re using it as a resource to supplement what they’ve already been told, meaning it’s super important to make sure that the information you’re getting is coming from a reliable source. Sometimes what you’re clicking could actually be an advertisement, or sponsored link, that isn’t giving you the up-front information you need to make an informed decision about your health. As a rule of thumb, try sticking with “.org” websites, or old faithfuls like WebMD. Stay away from forums or chatrooms about what you’re researching. Not only is the information on there not coming from a medical professional, but it’s also filled with horror stories. Everyone’s had a bad experience with something, but when you’re reading it online, it’s hard to separate that from the norm.

But the biggest thing to remember is that the Internet can’t replace a doctor. While it’s good for satiating curiosity, or helping out with a question here and there, a more substantial health issues can only be solved through a one-on-one, individual diagnosis from your doctor. The Internet can just help you get there!

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