All parents understand the difficulty of giving their teenagers advice. Parenting a child through puberty can be like driving a car with broken power steering. You’re trying your best to turn in the right direction, but you’re often just hoping that you’ll get to your destination. Convincing your children to make healthy choices can be just as tough.
Luckily, there is still one source our kids trust for health advice: the internet. And while, we probably wouldn’t approve of most of the sites our teenagers visit on their smartphones and computers, a new study from researches at Northwestern says adolescents find good health advice online. Even more surprisingly, the study found that teens heed this advice. According to the study, when teens came across websites with information for improving their health, they decreased soda consumption, exercised more often, and ate more fruits and vegetables. Your health advice for your teens may fall on deaf ears, but connecting kids with these seven online and mobile resources might help them take a step in a healthier direction.
- Greatist – Teenagers don’t want to be lectured. They like light, funny pieces that they can post on their friends’ Facebook profiles. Greatist was launched with this concept in mind. It blends the need for professional expertise (or at least well-researched opinions) with the social media emphasis that millennials are looking for.
- BuzzFeed Health – Your kids are probably already reading Buzzfeed. It’s a leading outlet for news on entertainment, politics, and everything in between. It’s also geared towards millennials. With its emphasis on funny “listicles” and generating viral content, your teen will come for the cat videos and stay for the informative health news BuzzFeed Health offers.
- Fitness Blender – Fitness Blender is a YouTube channel targeted towards young people who want to stay active but don’t necessarily know how. It provides full workouts and fitness questions your teen is probably wondering about. Fitness focused YouTube channels can be incredibly helpful given that 20 percent of teens use YouTube to find health information and more than 40 percent use the internet for exercise and fitness tips.
- EverydayHealth Newsletters – EverydayHealth has a wide variety of newsletters that range from Healthy Living, to Diet and Nutrition, to Living with Asthma. Check out this list, see if one of these newsletters would be a great fit for your teen, and help them make healthier decisions, one email at a time.
- AnxietyBCYouth – Being a teenager can be hard. Peer pressure, school work, and the social challenges that come with being that age often makes kids pretty anxious. You should talk to your child about any anxiety they may be feeling. And if necessary, consult a mental health professional. But AnxietyBCYouth provides resources to help teens get a handle on anxiety that we all felt at that age, and can let them realize they aren’t alone in feeling stressed.
- Health Tap – Here’s a source that kids can access directly from their smartphones. This app lets teenagers benefit from daily health tips and up-to-date health news. The app also includes checklists that help users reach different health goals and allow them to type out questions to be answered by real doctors for free.
- St. Joseph Health HealthCalling Blog – Ok, a bit of a shameless plug here – but many health systems host their own health blogs, and St. Joseph Health, my health network, is no exception. The HealthCalling blog that I write for has practical articles from some of our top doctors and experts, talking about some of the top health issues facing Orange County. HealthCalling is a great source of pertinent health news from a source you and your kid can trust.