Is Your WebLitLegit? Finding Safe and Good Health Information on the Internet

Teresa Wagner, Carol J. Howe, Brennan Lewis, Tracine Adame

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: There exists a paucity of literature about teenager health literacy in general and teenagers are likely to turn to the internet for health information. Therefore, they need good e-health literacy to properly understand and apply the information obtained. Yet, many have limited e-health literacy, lacking the knowledge and skills to filter and distinguish reliable from unreliable health information and searches return large amounts of information, making it difficult to recognize whether information is reputable and raising concerns regarding teenagers' safety. Brief Description of Activity: We developed a toolkit in collaboration with community-based organizations serving teenagers and teenagers themselves usable with brief training to present a 1-hour, interactive workshop. We transformed current adult information for locating and appraising online health information into a teenager friendly format using relevant health topics to engage participants. IMPLEMENTATION: We met teenagers in teenager-friendly settings where they already gather to engage them and leverage the relationship fostered within those settings to bridge positive and negative social determinant influences on health literacy and e-health literacy as well as cross potential cultural, economic, political, and demographic barriers. Using the "train the trainer" method to build sustainability, we trained teenagers and group leaders to use the toolkit to run workshops with teenagers and placed the components in an easily available online format. RESULTS: After completing the workshop, teenager participants expressed a high level of confidence in using Medline Plus, locating health information online, identifying Truth versus Trash and making health decisions. Most teenagers reported they would recommend the WebLitLegit workshop to their friends and it improved their ability to find credible online health information. LESSONS LEARNED: The workshop's practical application provided participants with real-life examples for evaluating online information using the "LEGIT" acronym. The integration of this community-based program fostered relationships between the teenager participants, community organizations, and university students and faculty. All of the organizations involved benefited through exposure to health literacy concepts and knowledge of evaluation criteria, which may help expand e-health literacy in the community because the students, teenagers, and community partners are able to sustainably share the toolkit within their social network. [HLRP: Health Literacy Research and Practice. 2022;6(2):e151-e158.] Plain Language Summary: Teenagers use the internet to find health information but have difficulty deciding if the information is correct and safe. WebLitLegit workshops help teenagers find correct and safe information to make health decisions. Teenagers completing the workshop thought their ability to find correct information and make good health decisions improved. This best practice adds to the literature by addressing needed teenager e-health literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e151-e158
JournalHealth literacy research and practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022


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