Ethan Lindenberger, 18, of Norwalk, Ohio, decided to get vaccinated against his mother’s wishes. He turned to Reddit for answers. 

February 11

Ethan Lindenberger, frustrated by years of arguments about his mother’s anti-vaccination stance, staged a quiet defection on Reddit.

The Norwalk, Ohio, teenager needed advice, he said, on how to inoculate himself against both infectious disease and his family’s dogma. At 18, he was old enough, Lindenberger explained. He wanted to get vaccinated. But he didn’t know how.

“Because of their beliefs I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, God knows how I’m still alive,” Lindenberger wrote days before Thanksgiving.

As anti-vaccination movements metastasize amid outbreaks of dangerous diseases, Internet-savvy teenagers are fact-checking their parents’ decisions in a digital health reawakening — and seeking their own treatments in bouts of family defiance.

“This generation of unvaccinated children coming of age has looked at the science and want to protect themselves,” said Allison Winnike, president and chief executive of the Immunization Partnership, a Texas-based nonprofit vaccine advocacy group.

Anti-vaccination efforts spread after the publication of a now-debunked 1998 study linking some immunizations to autism, Winnike said.

“Now you’re seeing children coming of age, out from a cloud of misinformation,” Winnike told The Washington Post on Monday.

Online science magazine Undark first reported Lindenberger’s story.