A new study by Northwestern University shows that teenagers age 13 to 18 are not likely to use social media for health and medical topics. According to the report, nearly nine out of ten surveyed indicated that they would not likely post a health question on a social networking site. The inference that this might be a case of TMI (Too Much Information) even for this connected generation.
The same study indicates that more than half of the respondents go to Google with their health questions if they go online, although only a quarter of them indicate that they are “very satisfied” with the information that they get from the Internet. More than half are “very satisfied” with the information that they get from parents or doctors and nurses. And parents remain the most common source for health information.
The implication of these results is that privacy concerns about health issues appear to start at an early age. The fact that teens are hesitant to share information about their health and health questions on social media could point to how services should design their systems. The peer sharing that seems to work for fitness goals may not work for more personal data about health and illness issues.