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Bitefile Social Media Interventions

Strengths and Opportunities

  • Social media can be a successful tool for health interventions.
  • Social media campaigns can promote parent-child communication.
  • Personalized messages and feedback are necessary to stimulate young adults to continue healthy behavior.

Avoiding risks and threats

  • Privacy is very important for teens when they search for sexual health information online. Therefore it’s crucial that social network sites focusing on sex-related health messages guarantee youngsters' anonymity. 
  • A Facebook intervention page should be accessible for members of the intervention group only, to protect their privacy and avoid cyberbullying.
  • Before interacting online, most teens prefer direct contact with sexual health clinics first. Therefore it’s important that online social network contact should not replace traditional contact moments (i.e. group presentations, school visits, community events etc.) but serve as reinforcement afterwards. 
  • Teens only accept friend requests from trustworthy institutions who are familiar or already accepted by peers. It’s therefore important to target youth via communities or schools. 

Specific tips and tricks

  • Use social media as well as other online and offline media. A combination of digital media technologies (e.g., Facebook and texting) will be most succesful.
  • Keep your fans interested. 
  • Make your fans buzz the information to their friends.
  • A Facebook intervention page can keep young people interested in the program, especially when
    • events are posted
    • pictures can be shared by users.
    • users can respond to posts
  • Reserve enough time (and money) to maintain the social media intervention page.
  • Be aware of the importance of positive mental well-being during adolescence. When targeting health interventions to teens, it’s wise to stimulate and promote that well-being.

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