Access to online health information seems like the right way to go; especially for Generation Y. Online health information could potentially be doing more harm than good. How can we trust what we read, when there are countless versions of information out there? Are we in any state to self-diagnose ourselves based on the information we have researched, instead of going to see a health professional?
Lee suggests that to facilitate this shift, new media acts as a source of information. People turn to the Internet for answers to their health problems. But, how accurate is this information?
Lewis (2006), discovered that while there are benefits of accessing health information online, raises questions and concern to panic about the potential for the web to produce an ‘epidemic of misinformation’. She found that passive recipients of online health information are prone to outbreaks of ‘cyberchondria’. Cyberchondria refers to self diagnosis over the Internet. These days, it is just too easy to be misled, thinking you have the disease or health problem; all because you think you have the symptoms of that particular health problem.
As future media communication professionals, it would be our job to support the advances that new media presents us with. In this instance, it would seem wrong. It is not our job as uncertified individuals to unprofessionally diagnose ourselfs, based on the information handed to us over the Internet.
Cyberchondria - Information Overload
Lee, F. 2011.”DIY Health. Are we becoming our own doctors?,” Faithchantel’s Blog, April 9. Accessed April 11. http://faithchantal.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/diy-health-are-we-our-becoming-own-doctors/
Lewis, T. 2006. “Seeking health information on the internet: lifestyle choice or bad attack of cyberchondria?” in Media, Culture & Society 28(4): 521-539.