Young people are using the internet to find information on personal issues, according to new research. The 18-25 year olds who were surveyed said they value the privacy of using the internet. The research also showed that the young people surveyed are aware that information online may not be reliable and are mindful of this when they are looking up information.
Young people look for information about sensitive issues online
The majority of young people surveyed used the internet on their phones to find information on such issues and have ways to figure out if a source can be trusted or not.
Who did the research?
This research was done by the Insight Data Analytics SFI Research Centre which is a joint initiative between researchers at Dublin City University, NUI Galway, University College Cork, University College Dublin and other partner institutions.
What does the research say?
Research of 1,300 18-25 year olds shows that 83% use online resources to find out information on personal and emotional issues. 80% of young people use their phones to find this information. Young people like using the internet because they can find out information on sensitive issues without having to share their identity- 80% said the privacy the internet offers is important.
The research shows that online sources of information about personal and emotional issues are important for young people, and that having a mobile friendly site is key in helping as many young people as possible.
Is there a danger of young people reading misinformation online?
Over half the respondents said they would worry that information online is reliable. Author of the paper Claudette Pretorius, MA says this is something that could be addressed in collaboration with government and educational institutions.
While young people worry about the reliability of information online, those surveyed also showed that they have ways of checking how trustworthy information is.
“Young people have also shown they are capable of coming up with their own strategies to verify information and assign credibility.” says Claudette.
The young people surveyed appeared to have a good idea about what information sources could be trusted with most, nearly 83%, saying that a health service logo was important in letting them know if a site is credible or not. 55% of those surveyed said it was important to them that an information source was recommended by a school or college.
Some trusted online sources of information
If you are looking for a trusted source of information on personal or emotional issues go to our help page or see if any of the following trusted websites suit your needs.
- Aware.ie – For information on depression and bipolar disorder
- Bodywhys.ie – The eating disorder association of Ireland
- BeLonGTo.org – Supporting LGBTI+ people in Ireland
- Jigsaw.ie – The national centre for youth mental health