New study shows that many teens are cautious about sexual health information

A recent study from the sexual health research group Guttmacher Institute reveals that while many teens are "savvy consumers," a majority of young adults are wary in terms of sexual health information, particularly that which they find online or through word of mouth, according to The National Post.

The researchers interviewed 58 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19, asking them about the resources they use to receive safer sex education. The vast majority of participants said they had discussed safe sex with friends, but only around one-third had received information about condoms and other contraceptive devices online. Most of the teens said that they approached the information online and that which they received from friends with skepticism.

"There's this assumption that teens are these blank slates and just uncritically absorb the information that's given to them," Rachel Jones, a lead author of the paper, told the news source. "Our expectation, not just with the internet but in a variety of forums, was that teens are a little more critical."

Meanwhile, the participants in the study said that most of them had received teen sex education at school, and they were more trusting of the information they received there. Additionally, many said they had received some sexual health information from their parents – and while it may have caused them to be uncomfortable, most said they were thankful that mom and dad had taken the time to make sure they were informed.

The study is published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Adolescent Research.

Youngsters who are seeking out information about how to use a condom, sexually transmitted infections or other sex questions should discuss their queries with a medical professional or professional sex educator. 

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