40% of teenagers struggle to identify real/fake healthcare messages online, study says

Adolescents are notably active online and have easy access to healthcare information. However, according to a recent study, nearly 41 percent of young adults cannot discern between real and fake healthcare messages online, according to an Aug. 29 analysis published in Frontiers Psychology.

The survey included 300 participants who completed the experiment and individuals 16 to 19 years of age. The experiment presented short health messages and asked respondents to evaluate their trustworthiness. 

Trusting in a message or credibility is defined as "an individual's judgment of the veracity of the content of the communication." It can be evaluated by ascertaining the accuracy, authenticity, and believability of the message. 

Just over 40 percent of participants did not differentiate between real and fake healthcare articles, and 11 percent of participants trusted more fake messages than true messages. However, 48.3 percent of participants trusted more real healthcare messages. 

The study helped to identify how teens and adolescents perceived healthcare communication in an online environment.

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