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      Parenthood, information and support on the internet. A literature review of research on parents and professionals online

      research-article
      1 , 2 ,
      BMC Family Practice
      BioMed Central

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          Abstract

          Background

          The aim of this article was to address questions on how parents use the internet to find information and support regarding children, health and family life. Another aim was to find out how professionals use the internet to provide support and information to parents. This was done by a literature review.

          Methods

          Articles were searched for in five databases with a search strategy called "building block" approach.

          Results

          The review showed that the majority of today's parents search for both information and social support on the internet. However, there are considerable differences due to gender, age and socio-economic differences. First time middle class mothers aged 30–35 are most active in looking up health and parent information on the internet. In the same time, several studies report diminishing class differences on parent web sites. An important reason to the increasing number of parents who turn to the internet for information and interaction has shown to be the weakened support many of today's parents experience from their own parents, relatives and friends. Professionals have recognized the parents' great interest for going online and offer both information and support on the net.

          Conclusion

          Many benefits are reported, for example the possibility to reach out to a wider audience and to increase access to organisations without an increase in costs. Other benefits include the possibility for parents to remain anonymous in their contacts with professionals and that parents' perceived need for information can be effectively met around the clock. Interventions for wider groups of parents, such as parent training on the net, are still very rare and more research is needed to evaluate different types of interventions on the net. However, most studies were empirical and lacked theoretical frameworks which leave questions on how we can more fully understand this phenomenon unanswered.

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          Most cited references69

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          Empirical studies assessing the quality of health information for consumers on the world wide web: a systematic review.

          The quality of consumer health information on the World Wide Web is an important issue for medicine, but to date no systematic and comprehensive synthesis of the methods and evidence has been performed. To establish a methodological framework on how quality on the Web is evaluated in practice, to determine the heterogeneity of the results and conclusions, and to compare the methodological rigor of these studies, to determine to what extent the conclusions depend on the methodology used, and to suggest future directions for research. We searched MEDLINE and PREMEDLINE (1966 through September 2001), Science Citation Index (1997 through September 2001), Social Sciences Citation Index (1997 through September 2001), Arts and Humanities Citation Index (1997 through September 2001), LISA (1969 through July 2001), CINAHL (1982 through July 2001), PsychINFO (1988 through September 2001), EMBASE (1988 through June 2001), and SIGLE (1980 through June 2001). We also conducted hand searches, general Internet searches, and a personal bibliographic database search. We included published and unpublished empirical studies in any language in which investigators searched the Web systematically for specific health information, evaluated the quality of Web sites or pages, and reported quantitative results. We screened 7830 citations and retrieved 170 potentially eligible full articles. A total of 79 distinct studies met the inclusion criteria, evaluating 5941 health Web sites and 1329 Web pages, and reporting 408 evaluation results for 86 different quality criteria. Two reviewers independently extracted study characteristics, medical domains, search strategies used, methods and criteria of quality assessment, results (percentage of sites or pages rated as inadequate pertaining to a quality criterion), and quality and rigor of study methods and reporting. Most frequently used quality criteria used include accuracy, completeness, readability, design, disclosures, and references provided. Fifty-five studies (70%) concluded that quality is a problem on the Web, 17 (22%) remained neutral, and 7 studies (9%) came to a positive conclusion. Positive studies scored significantly lower in search (P =.02) and evaluation (P =.04) methods. Due to differences in study methods and rigor, quality criteria, study population, and topic chosen, study results and conclusions on health-related Web sites vary widely. Operational definitions of quality criteria are needed.
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            Empirical Studies Assessing the Quality of Health Information for Consumers on the World Wide Web

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              Information Seeking in Electronic Environments

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMC Fam Pract
                BMC Family Practice
                BioMed Central
                1471-2296
                2009
                18 May 2009
                : 10
                : 34
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Social Work, Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University, Sweden
                [2 ]Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
                Article
                1471-2296-10-34
                10.1186/1471-2296-10-34
                2694765
                19450251
                4b071aaf-f3d1-4504-9b99-9712e08632f7
                Copyright © 2009 Plantin and Daneback; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 23 August 2008
                : 18 May 2009
                Categories
                Research Article

                Medicine
                Medicine

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