News, Public Health: Physicians, MySpace and Adolescents
January 9, 2009
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” Social networking sites are increasingly popular among teenagers, with 25% of 200 million MySpace users estimated to be minors. Adolescents’ web profiles can place them at risk of a number of adverse consequences because of the health risk information displayed, such as sexual activity and substance use…. In this study, pediatrician Megan Moreno and colleagues examined 500 profiles of self-reported 18-year-olds in the United States. More than half of the profiles referenced 1 or more high-risk behaviors: 24% sexual behaviors, 41% substance use, and 14% violence. “
Source: The Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, Jan 2009, Vol. 163(1), p. 5
Concerns of personal safety, health information privacy, public health and counseling of at-risk teenagers were the focus of studies done by a group of pediatricians and epidemiologists from University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Public profiles of 18-year old adolescents from the social networking site, MySpace.com, were randomly selected and examined for statements about risky sexual behavior, substance abuse or personal safety issues.
Both studies were published this month in the January 2009 issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (subscription required to view the full-text). Here are the titles:
An interview (MP3 file) with one of the principal researchers, Dr. Dimitri Christakis is available linked from an article published in USA Today.
Serena Gordon wrote an article about these studies (published online Jan 6 2009) in The Washington Post (link).