Tech Talk – Teens Health Online with The Guru & The Dr

tech-talk

Tech Talk with The Cyber Safety Guru and Stop Dr. Google!
The Guru is all about being safe online and the Dr is all about using appropriate online channels for health information – but always remember Google does not replace your doctor! So, today we have come together to talk to you about Teens Health Online!

Being a teenager can be difficult, lots of friendship changes, increased studies and social life, with most teens spending more time online than with the family! So when it comes to teenagers searching for health symptoms it’s important to make sure that they are using appropriate websites!

We all know about puberty blues and with easy reach to laptops, smart phones and iPads, teens are turning to technology to ask about their issues, get information and reach out to others. A Northwestern University study showed that most teenagers were seeking information on: everyday topics such as exercise and nutrition, according to the study. They’re also searching for more information on stress, anxiety, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), depression and sleep.

Common Questions teens may ask include:
How often do I get my periods?
Why do I get wet dreams?
What are the chances on contracting STDs?
How can I get skinnier?
How often should I exercise?

These and more questions, often can be embarrassing to speak to your parents about and hence why teens turn to the Internet. What’s important to remember is that you need clear and open communication about your teen’s health and life cycles. Growing up is difficult and often body functions change and develop, and it’s important to note that these changes are often normal, but if something doesn’t feel right remember you need to tell a trusted adult, parent and seek medical advice from your GP.

If you do want to research online, you must remember you cannot believe everything you read on the Internet. Some websites we would recommend include:

Kidshealth.org is a safe place for teens and tweens who need honest, accurate information and advice our health, emotions and life. All articles are created by a team of paediatricians and other medical experts. They also have a page dedicated to advice for parents – http://kidshealth.org/parent/.

Healthy-kids.com.au is a great online destination for healthy food choices and recommendations for teens.

Healthdirect.gov.au/kids-health is a great avenue for looking up various health issues suffered by kids and teens. They provide in-depth explanations of symptoms, treatments and recommendations.

If you are feeling down, are stressed or going through a tough time with school, friends, well-being or family – we recommend contacting kidshelpline.com.au.

If you are unsure of the changes happening to your body, read this article (link: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/puberty.html)

Or watch this:

What to expect if you’re a girl

What to expect if you’re a boy:

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

1 out of every 8 women is diagnosed with breast cancer. Unfortunately, more and more women are convincing themselves they have breast cancer after Googling different symptoms.

Irene’s Story

Irene (24 years old) recently experienced a pain in her right breast. The pain worsened within a couple hours and she decided to google ‘Breast Pain’.

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With the top 5 search options including the ‘C’ word – Irene immediately panicked! Irene and her mum worried for 2 days before she decided to visit the doctor. Thankfully, the doctor confirmed her Google Diagnosis was incorrect and she was in fact experiencing a side effect from the contraceptive pill.

It is vital for women to know the difference between breast cancer facts and fiction. Don’t believe everything you read on Google. Especially when searching a keyword featuring ‘breast’ – the ‘C’ word appears in every link. To avoid further anxiety and stress, here’s a list of 8 Busted Breast Cancer Myths:

  1. Wearing an underwire bra WILL NOT increase your chances of Breast Cancer
  2. Not all breast lumps are cancerous: 80% of lumps are benign, cysts or other conditions
  3. Women with breast implants are not at higher risk of breast cancer
  4. Wearing antiperspirant does not increase your chances of breast cancer
  5. There is no correlation between the size of your breasts and breast cancer
  6. Breast cancer doesn’t always come in the form of a lump
  7. Being overweight does increase your chance of breast cancer
  8. Abortions do not raise your chance of breast cancer

Don’t let the web, get to your head!

Stop Dr Google

Google Should Never Replace A Real Doctor!

This week, we had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Linda Girgis. Linda is a family physician who treats patients in South River, New Jersey and its surrounding communities.

1655856_1547545698840474_1303930263172636281_nDr. Girgis is a firm believer of educating her patients on how to use Doctor Google safely.

“Many patients Google their health symptoms, and I tend to find them looking at the worst-case scenarios and they worry needlessly” says Dr. Girgis.

She believes googling health symptoms can be a positive thing. She generally loves when patients have researched their health and bring her articles they find online. However, she is finding more and more patients are being deceived by misinformation or exaggerations found on Google.

Dr Girgis finds patients who Google live on two polarizing ends. They either Google their symptoms and fall into a false security that nothing is wrong – which lends them into delayed diagnoses and treatments when there is an issue. Or, they research on Google and “convince themselves that they have cancer, and no amount of testing could convince them otherwise”. Most often, unnecessary tests are conducted due to trying to convince the patient that they are healthy and fine.

In general, Dr. Girgis thinks Doctor Google can be a good idea – “BUT, patients need to be educated” she says. Patients sometimes believe the treatments and remedies they read online, this can be very dangerous or ineffective.

It is important to know which sites are the best to use; otherwise you are reading a bunch of useless and incorrect information. She recommends Maya Clinic, Cleveland Clinic or the CDC.

“Dr. Google should never replace a real doctor” according to Dr. Girgis.

Follow Dr. Girgis on Twitter for more healthcare advise and recommendations @LindaGirgis,MD

‘Don’t let the web, get to your head’

Stop Dr Google.

More Real-Life Cyberchondria Stories

This week, we spoke to more of our readers about their DR Google experiences. Here are some of their stories:

Female, 22

Q. Why did you Google your health symptoms?

A. I was curious to what Google would say.

Q. What symptoms did you Google?

A. I’ve recently googled right arm hurting, wisdom teeth symptoms, ear infection and fainting.

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Q. What was Google’s diagnosis?

A. The right arm hurting was apparently a heart attack – this didn’t worry me very much since it’s quite extreme. But my painful wisdom teeth was showing to be a really bad ear infection.

Q. Did you seek a professional’s opinion?

A. Yes, Google was correct about the ear infection however the suggested treatment was incorrect.

Female, 24

Q. Why did you Google your health symptoms?

A. I Google every kind of symptom that ever pops up. From simple things like causes of headaches because I don’t want to waste a doctors time…to more private things that you don’t particularly want to see a doctor about.

Q. What symptoms did you Google?

A. Ankle sprain

Q. What was Google’s diagnosis?

A. Torn ligaments in my ankle

Q. Did you seek a professional’s opinion?

A. Yes, I went to my physio the next day – she said I had torn ligaments but not to the extreme as described by Google. She also picked up on other issues with my ankle that Google did not mention.

Male, 23

Q. Why did you Google your health symptoms?

A. Yes, to read about different forms of mental health issues.

Q. What symptoms did you Google?

A. Basically feelings, thoughts, dreams, symptoms of mental health issues i.e. lack of sleep etc.

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Q. What was Google’s diagnosis?

A. I most likely have a mild case of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia or minor early stages of depression

Q. Did you seek a professional’s opinion?

A. No, I have not gone to go and see a doctor.

If you’d like to share your cyberchondria stories with us, please email stopdrgoogling@gmail.com.

Don’t let the web, get to your head!

Stop Dr Google.