While we’re talking about young people having protected or unprotected sex and safe sex practices, it was found in a recent study that social media could be used to encourage young adults to use condoms when it’s appropriate. This is something that was pretty interesting. What they did was take two different groups of young adults. One of the groups was signed up for a Facebook page that talked about healthy, protected sexual activities, using condoms and safe sex. The other group was just enrolled in a Facebook page that had general news, updates and information.
Condom Use and Facebook Influence
It was found is that condom use went up in the test group after they started tracking the safe sex Facebook page in their own pages and status updates. This was compared to a survey of their practices before the study began. The other thing they found was that six months after the study was over, in a follow up survey, these kids’ condom use went back to previous levels.
It is interesting to see how social media can be used to influence healthy behaviors. Certainly it is something to keep track of. While the study didn’t show a lasting effect, even short term changes in habits can be helpful. I hope this will encourage some of you out there to try social media as an avenue for health communication.
Responsible Social Media Use
There are ways to use social media responsibly and use it in a clever and creative way to engage people about health. You can encourage people to be healthy and to help them exhibit behaviors that will keep them healthy. It may seem frivolous when you look at the title but social media use is going to make a huge difference in how we communicate with patients down the road. We’re already seeing that in our younger populations. They are less likely to answer e-mails or phone calls so we have to engage them in other ways. There’s just lots of things we can do to improve the way we communicate with all of our patients.
Find the links to this news item and all the additional resources from this episode of the Nursing Show here – Fungal Meningitis on Steroids and Episode 214.