TikTok is teaching teenagers more about sex than their schools

According to a study, 3 out of 5 people (59%) have encountered false or deceptive health information on TikTok. Social media is filled with health videos, making it challenging to battle disinformation on these platforms, especially given the limitless supply of available content. Recent research commissioned by Superdrug Online Doctor polled 2,000 social media users to learn more about how Britons use social media to get advice on sexual health and other topics that are important to youth.

The study found that Brits act on health advice they find online an average of four times a year, either by sharing with friends, researching symptoms, or buying products. One in ten Brits took the advice they later realised needed to be corrected. Overall, 15% of respondents chose Instagram as their most trusted channel for health information, while 12% chose Twitter (7 per cent).

TikTok has 1.6 billion views on #sexualhealth

Younger audiences tended to have more faith in TikTok, which had 38.9% of users between the ages of 18 and 24. The survey also showed that 58% of viewers between the ages of 16 and 24 thought the health advice they saw on social media was reliable. The study also reveals that articles with “TikTok” and “fake” in the headline have increased by 812% since last December, indicating a significant surge in reporting false material on the site.

Teens are turning to TikTok for sex ed. Here's what they're learning
Credits: Yahoo.com

With 1.6 billion views on TikTok’s #sexualhealth hashtag and an even larger 3.1 billion views for STI symptoms, sexual health information has amassed a sizable audience on social media. Inquisitive teenagers are looking to TikTok for answers; 55% of 16 to 24-year-olds say they have learned more about sex via the platform than they have in school, with that percentage slightly declining to 46.5% of 25 to 34-year-olds.

Young adults may also be using social media due to schools’ lax sex education policies. In a recent survey conducted by Superdrug Online Doctor, 72% of British said their sex education in school was “very basic” or “poor.” The study also discusses how inaccurate health information can lead to misdiagnosis and increased unwarranted worry.

Receiving inaccurate information may have an adverse effect

According to the study, 63% of consumers believe that receiving inaccurate health information may have an adverse effect on their overall confidence, and 65% of consumers believe that it can. Although it was also shown that disinformation affected half of the British people’s interpersonal interactions, and one in two stated it might even affect their social life.

Smriti Joshi, a psychologist, offered the following advice on how to recognize a false post and make sure you fact-check the material you read:
1. Be aware of social media algorithm changes.
2. Consider this critically and decide if it’s appropriate for you.
3. Always be careful to verify the information’s source before using it.
4. A piece of knowledge is generally too wonderful to be true if it appears miraculous.