Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

‘It would be weird to have that on Facebook’: young people’s use of social media and the risk of sharing sexual health information

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Clifton EversORCiD


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


In today's media environment, information is not simply passed from producers to consumers, but is mediated by participants of new media cultures, including information on sexual health. In focus groups held in Sydney and regional Australia in 2011, we asked young people aged 16–22 about the potential for sexual health promotion via Facebook and other social media. Our findings point to the complex ways in which young people use social media, and the unlikelihood of traditional take-home sexual health messages having traction in social media spaces. Five key aspects which emerged were: the participatory culture of social network sites; the stigma of sexual health, especially sexually transmitted infections (STIs); young people's careful presentations of self; privacy concerns; and the importance of humour in sexual health messaging. Fears of bullying and gossip (or ‘drama’) were also likely to prevent the dissemination of sexual health messages in this environment. However, humorous online videos were noted by participants as a significant way to avoid stigma and enable the sharing of sexual health information. The young people in our study were interested in sexual health information, but did not want to access it at the cost of their own sense of comfort and belonging in their social networks. Any sexual health promotion within these sites must be understood as a site-specific intervention.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Byron P, Albury K, Evers C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Reproductive Health Matters

Year: 2013

Volume: 21

Issue: 41

Pages: 35-44

Print publication date: 01/05/2013

Online publication date: 14/05/2013

ISSN (print): 0968-8080

ISSN (electronic): 1460-9576

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/S0968-8080(13)41686-5


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric