Maintenance Notice

Due to necessary scheduled maintenance, the JMIR Publications website will be unavailable from Monday, March 11, 2019 at 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM EST. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Who will be affected?


Journal Description

JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting (JPP) is a new sister journal of JMIR (the leading open-access journal in health informatics, Impact Factor 2017: 4.671). JPP has a unique focus on technologies, medical devices, apps, engineering, informatics applications for patient/parent education, training, counselling, behavioral interventions, preventative interventions and clinical care for pediatric and adolescent populations or child-parent dyads. JPP recognizes the role of patient- and parent-centered approach in the 21st century using information and communication technologies to optimize pediatric and adolescent health outcomes.

As an open access journal, we are read by clinicians, patients and, parents/caregivers alike. We, as all JMIR journals, have a focus on applied science reporting the design and evaluation of health innovations and emerging technologies. We publish original research, viewpoints, and reviews (both literature reviews and medical device/technology/app reviews). JPP has no submission fee. 

Be a founding author of this new journal and submit your paper today!


Recent Articles:

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Feasibility and Acceptability of a Culturally Tailored Website to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Physical Activity Levels in African American...


    Background: African American youth (aged 8-14 years) do not adhere to national dietary and physical activity guidelines. Nonadherence to these recommendations contributes to disproportionate rates of obesity compared with their white counterparts. Culturally tailored electronic health (eHealth) solutions are needed to communicate nutrition and physical activity messages that resonate with this target population. Objective: This study aimed to identify the impact of exposure to a website hosting culturally tailored cartoons to inspire fruit and vegetable uptake and physical activity levels in African American mother-child dyads. Methods: Statistical analysis included paired sample t tests to evaluate knowledge gains, self-efficacy, and readiness to change. Adapted items from Prochaska’s Stages of Change toward the following 4 behaviors were assessed with pre- and posttest surveys: (1) fruit and vegetable selection on my plate, (2) meal preparation, (3) fruit and vegetable selection outside of home, and (4) physical activity. Open-ended comments on videos from mother-child dyads were used to determine user acceptance. Observations of repeated responses during content analysis informed coding and development of key themes. Results: A final sample size of 93 mother-child dyads completed the study. Mothers reported significant improvement from precontemplation or contemplation stages to preparation or action stages for (1) fruit and vegetable selection on her plate (P=.03), (2) meal preparation for her family (P=.01), (3) fruit and vegetable selection outside the home (P<.001), and (4) physical activity (P<.001). Significant improvements were found in knowledge, stage of change, and self-efficacy for the 4 target behaviors of interest (P<.001). Children’s open-ended commentary reported vicarious learning and positive character identification with brown-skinned cartoons exhibiting healthful food and exercise behaviors. Mothers commented on the lack of accessible produce in their neighborhoods not depicted in the cartoon videos. Conclusions: Culturally adapted cartoons that incorporate tailored preferences by African American families, such as race or demography, may help increase adherence to target health behaviors when developing eHealth behavior solutions.

  • Source: Jisc; Copyright: Jisc and Matt Lincoln; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND).

    What Women With Disabilities Write in Personal Blogs About Pregnancy and Early Motherhood: Qualitative Analysis of Blogs


    Background: More than 1 in 10 women of reproductive age identify as having some type of disability. Most of these women are able to become pregnant and have similar desires for motherhood as women without disability. Women with disability, however, face greater stigma and stereotyping, additional risk factors, and may be less likely to receive adequate reproductive health care compared with their peers without disability. More and more individuals, including those with disability, are utilizing the internet to seek information and peer support. Blogs are one source of peer-to-peer social media engagement that may provide a forum for women with disability to both share and obtain peer-to-peer information and support. Nevertheless, it is not clear what content about reproductive health and pregnancy and/or motherhood is featured in personal blogs authored by women with spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), spina bifida, and autism. Objective: The objective of this study was twofold: (1) to examine the information being shared in blogs by women with 4 types of disabilities, namely, SCI, TBI, spina bifida, and autism, about reproductive health, disability, health care, pregnancy, and motherhood; and (2) to classify the content of reproductive health experiences addressed by bloggers to better understand what they viewed as important. Methods: Personal blogs were identified by searching Google with keywords related to disabilities, SCI, TBI, spina bifida, and autism, and a variety of keywords related to reproductive health. The first 10 pages of each database search in Google, based on the relevance of the search terms, were reviewed and all blogs in these pages were included. Blog inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) written by a woman or care partner (ie, parent or spouse) of a woman with a self-identified diagnosis of SCI, TBI, spina bifida, or autism; (2) focused on the personal experience of health and health care during the prepregnancy, prenatal, antepartum, intrapartum, and/or postpartum periods; (3) written in English; and (4) published between 2013 and 2017. A descriptive and thematic qualitative analysis of blogs and corresponding comments was facilitated with NVivo software and matrix analysis. Results: Our search strategy identified 125 blogs that met all the inclusion criteria; no blogs written by women with spina bifida were identified. We identified 4 reproductive health themes featured in the blog of women with disabilities: (1) (in)accessible motherhood, (2) (un)supportive others, (3) different, but not different, and (4) society questioning motherhood. Conclusions: This analysis of personal blogs about pregnancy and health care written by women with SCI, TBI, and autism provides a glimpse into their experiences. The challenges faced by these women and the adaptations they made to successfully navigate pregnancy and early motherhood provide insights that can be used to shape future research.

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Qualitative and Quantitative Evaluation of the Make Safe Happen App: Mobile Technology–Based Safety Behavior Change Intervention for Parents


    Background: Nearly half of the unintentional injuries in children happen in and around the home; many of these injuries are preventable. Providing parents and caregivers with proper injury prevention information that is easily accessible may help them make their homes safer for children. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate parental injury prevention awareness and home safety behaviors, motivations for and challenges to taking injury prevention and safety actions for parents as well as user experience following the use of the Make Safe Happen mobile app. Methods: A total of 40 parents with children aged 0-12 years living in Columbus, Ohio, participated in 1 of 5 focus group discussions following the completion of (1) a pretest survey, (2) use of the Make Safe Happen app, and (3) a posttest survey. Results: Following the use of the Make Safe Happen app, parents reported a significant increase in injury prevention awareness and completed 45% more home safety behaviors in and around their homes. Nearly all of the parents felt the app provided them with the information needed to make their home safer for their children; the great majority of parents intended to make such changes in the future. Conclusions: The combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection allowed for rich data capture and provided a deeper understanding of parents’ safety knowledge, behaviors, app use, and decision making regarding child injury prevention in and around the home. The Make Safe Happen app provides the information and motivation parents and caregivers need to help them take steps to prevent child injuries that may occur in and around their homes.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: skeeze; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Use of Physical Activity Monitoring Devices by Families in Rural Communities: Qualitative Approach


    Background: Several studies support the impact of information communication technology–based interventions to promote physical activity among youth. However, little is known on how technology can be used by the entire family to encourage healthy behavior. Previous studies showed that children and youth rely and are dependent upon the decisions and values of their caregivers when it comes to having a healthy lifestyle. Thus, the exploration of behavior and attitudes of the entire family is needed. Objective: The study aimed to explore (1) perceptions of how the use of physical activity tracking devices (Fitbit Zip) by families in rural communities influence their patterns of participation in physical activity, (2) how attitudes toward physical activity change as a result of using physical activity tracking devices as a family, and (3) what factors influence participation in physical activity among families in rural communities. Methods: A total of 11 families with 1 to 3 children of different ages (7-13 years) took part in semistructured group interviews following 2 weeks of using physical activity tracking devices (Fitbit Zip) as a family. The participants were asked to discuss their experience using the Fitbit Zip as a family, the motivation to be physically active, the changes in their pattern of participation in those activities, the level of engagement by different family members, and the factors that affected their participation. All interviews were voice-recorded with the participants’ permission and later transcribed verbatim using pseudonyms. To analyze the data, the principal investigator (IS) used open, axial, and selective coding techniques. Results: A total of 3 themes and several subthemes appeared from the data. The families in rural communities reported no or minimal changes in physical activities as a result of using physical activity tracking devices (Fitbit Zip) because of a lack of interest or an already active lifestyle. However, the attitude toward physical activity was altered. The family members reported an increased awareness of their activity level, introduced more conversations about active and healthy lifestyles, and changed their view of physical activity to a more positive one. The participants described the changes they were able to make and the constraining factors that stopped them from making further changes in their lifestyle. Conclusions: Technology might serve as a facilitator to participation in physical activity among families. Technology can motivate the change in attitude toward active recreation. As long-term changes in lifestyle require internal motivation, the change in the attitude might have a more long-lasting impact than the change in the immediate behavior. More longitudinal studies are needed to further explore long-term change in both behavior and attitude toward physical activity. Additional exploration of constraints to participation in physical activity among families is also an important area of exploration.

  • Untitled.

    Usability and Acceptability of a Text Message-Based Developmental Screening Tool for Young Children: Pilot Study


    Background: Only 30% of parents of children aged 9-35 months report that their child received a developmental screening in the previous year. Screening rates are even lower in low-income households, where the rates of developmental delays are typically higher than those in high-income households. Seeking to evaluate ways to increase developmental screening, Text4baby, a national perinatal texting program, created an interactive text message-based version of a validated developmental screening tool for parents. Objective: This study aimed to assess whether a text message-based developmental screening tool is usable and acceptable by low-income mothers. Methods: Low-income mothers of infants aged 8-10 months were recruited from the Women, Infants and Children Program clinics in Prince George’s County, MD. Once enrolled, participants used text messages to receive and respond to six developmental screening questions from the Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status: Developmental Milestones. After confirming their responses, participants received the results and feedback. Project staff conducted a follow-up phone survey and invited a subset of survey respondents to attend focus groups. A representative of the County’s Infants and Toddlers Program met with or called participants whose results indicated that their infants “may be behind.” Results: Eighty-one low-income mothers enrolled in the study, 93% of whom reported that their infants received Medicaid (75/81). In addition, 49% of the mothers were Hispanic/Latina (40/81) and 42% were African American (34/81). A total of 80% participated in follow-up surveys (65/81), and 14 mothers attended focus groups. All participants initiated the screening and responded to all six screening questions. Of the total, 79% immediately confirmed their responses (64/81), and 21% made one or more changes (17/81). Based on the final responses, 63% of participants received a text that the baby was “doing well” in all six developmental domains (51/81); furthermore, 37% received texts listing domains where their baby was “doing well” and one or more domains where their baby “may be behind” (30/81). All participants received a text with resources for follow-up. In a follow-up survey reaching 65 participants, all respondents said that they would like to answer screening questions again when their baby was older. All but one participant would recommend the tool to a friend and rated the experience of answering questions and receiving feedback by text as “very good” or “good.” Conclusions: A mobile text version of a validated developmental screening tool was both usable and acceptable by low-income mothers, including those whose infants “may be behind.” Our results may inform further research on the use of the tool at older ages and options for a scalable, text-based developmental screening tool such as that in Text4baby.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: Andi Gra; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    “If You Let Them, They Will Be on It 24 Hours a Day”: Qualitative Study Conducted in the United States Exploring Brazilian Immigrant Mothers’ Beliefs,...


    Background: The increasing prevalence of excessive screen time (ST) among children is a growing public health concern, with evidence linking it to an increased risk of overweight and obesity among children. Objective: This study aimed to explore the beliefs, attitudes, and practices of Brazilian immigrant mothers living in the United States related to their preschool-age children’s ST behaviors. Methods: A qualitative study comprising 7 focus group discussions (FGDs) was conducted with Brazilian immigrant mothers living in the United States. All FGDs were audio-recorded and professionally transcribed verbatim. The Portuguese transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: In total, 37 women participated in the FGDs. Analyses revealed that although most mothers expressed concerns for their preschool-age children’s ST, nearly all viewed ST as an acceptable part of their children’s daily lives. Furthermore, mothers perceived that ST has more benefits than disadvantages. The mothers’ positive beliefs about (eg, educational purposes and entertainment) and perceived functional benefits of ST (eg, ability to keep children occupied so tasks can be completed and facilitation of communication with family outside the United States) contributed to their acceptance of ST for their preschool-age children. Nevertheless, most mothers spoke of needing to balance their preschool-age children’s ST with other activities. Mothers reported using several parenting practices including monitoring time and content, setting limits and having rules, and prompting their children to participate in other activities to manage their preschool-age children’s ST. Conclusions: This study provides new information on the beliefs, attitudes, and practices of Brazilian immigrant mothers living in the United States related to their preschool-age children’s ST. Study findings revealed several potentially modifiable maternal beliefs and parenting practices that may provide important targets for parenting- and family-based interventions aimed at limiting preschool-age children’s ST.

  • Wearable timelapse camera for children. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Procedures to Select Digital Sensing Technologies for Passive Data Collection With Children and Their Caregivers: Qualitative Cultural Assessment in South...


    Background: Populations in low-resource settings with high childhood morbidity and mortality increasingly are being selected as beneficiaries for interventions using passive sensing data collection through digital technologies. However, these populations often have limited familiarity with the processes and implications of passive data collection. Therefore, methods are needed to identify cultural norms and family preferences influencing the uptake of new technologies. Objective: Before introducing a new device or a passive data collection approach, it is important to determine what will be culturally acceptable and feasible. The objective of this study was to develop a systematic approach to determine acceptability and perceived utility of potential passive data collection technologies to inform selection and piloting of a device. To achieve this, we developed the Qualitative Cultural Assessment of Passive Data collection Technology (QualCAPDT). This approach is built upon structured elicitation tasks used in cultural anthropology. Methods: We piloted QualCAPDT using focus group discussions (FGDs), video demonstrations of simulated technology use, attribute rating with anchoring vignettes, and card ranking procedures. The procedure was used to select passive sensing technologies to evaluate child development and caregiver mental health in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and Kathmandu, Nepal. Videos were produced in South Africa and Nepal to demonstrate the technologies and their potential local application. Structured elicitation tasks were administered in FGDs after showing the videos. Using QualCAPDT, we evaluated the following 5 technologies: home-based video recording, mobile device capture of audio, a wearable time-lapse camera attached to the child, proximity detection through a wearable passive Bluetooth beacon attached to the child, and an indoor environmental sensor measuring air quality. Results: In South Africa, 38 community health workers, health organization leaders, and caregivers participated in interviews and FGDs with structured elicitation tasks. We refined the procedure after South Africa to make the process more accessible for low-literacy populations in Nepal. In addition, the refined procedure reduced misconceptions about the tools being evaluated. In Nepal, 69 community health workers and caregivers participated in a refined QualCAPDT. In both countries, the child’s wearable time-lapse camera achieved many of the target attributes. Participants in Nepal also highly ranked a home-based environmental sensor and a proximity beacon worn by the child. Conclusions: The QualCAPDT procedure can be used to identify community norms and preferences to facilitate the selection of potential passive data collection strategies and devices. QualCAPDT is an important first step before selecting devices and piloting passive data collection in a community. It is especially important for work with caregivers and young children for whom cultural beliefs and shared family environments strongly determine behavior and potential uptake of new technology.

  • iThermonitor app (montage). Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Assessing the Usability of an Automated Continuous Temperature Monitoring Device (iThermonitor) in Pediatric Patients: Non-Randomized Pilot Study


    Background: Fever is an important vital sign and often the first one to be assessed in a sick child. In acutely ill children, caregivers are expected to monitor a child’s body temperature at home after an initial medical consult. Fever literacy of many caregivers is known to be poor, leading to fever phobia. In children with a serious illness, the responsibility of periodically monitoring temperature can add substantially to the already stressful experience of caring for a sick child. Objective: The objective of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility of using the iThermonitor, an automated temperature measurement device, for continuous temperature monitoring in postoperative and postchemotherapy pediatric patients. Methods: We recruited 25 patient-caregiver dyads from the Pediatric Surgery Department at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Pediatric Cancer Centers at the MGH and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Enrolled dyads were asked to use the iThermonitor device for continuous temperature monitoring over a 2-week period. Surveys were administered to caregivers at enrollment and at study closeout. Caregivers were also asked to complete a daily event-monitoring log. The Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 item questionnaire was also used to assess caregiver anxiety at enrollment and closeout. Results: Overall, 19 participant dyads completed the study. All 19 caregivers reported to have viewed temperature data on the study-provided iPad tablet at least once per day, and more than a third caregivers did so six or more times per day. Of all participants, 74% (14/19) reported experiencing an out-of-range temperature alert at least once during the study. Majority of caregivers reported that it was easy to learn how to use the device and that they felt confident about monitoring their child’s temperature with it. Only 21% (4/9) of caregivers reported concurrently using a device other than the iThermonitor to monitor their child’s temperature during the study. Continuous temperature monitoring was not associated with an increase in caregiver anxiety. Conclusions: The study results reveal that the iThermonitor is a highly feasible and easy-to-use device for continuous temperature monitoring in pediatric oncology and surgery patients. Trial Registration: NCT02410252; (Archived by WebCite at

  • Source: Unsplash; Copyright: megan lynette; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    How Women Evaluate Birth Challenges: Analysis of Web-Based Birth Stories


    Background: Birth stories provide an intimate glimpse into women’s birth experiences in their own words. Understanding the emotions elicited in women by certain types of behaviors during labor and delivery could help those in the health care community provide better emotional care for women in labor. Objective: The aim of this study was to understand which supportive reactions and behaviors contributed to negative or positive emotions among women with regard to their labor and delivery experience. Methods: We sampled 10 women’s stories from a popular blog that described births that strayed from the plan. Overall, 90 challenging events that occurred during labor and delivery were identified. Each challenge had an emotionally positive, negative, or neutral evaluation by the woman. We classified supportive and unsupportive behaviors in response to these challenges and examined their association with the woman’s emotional appraisal of the challenges. Results: Overall, 4 types of behaviors were identified: informational inclusion, decisional inclusion (mostly by health care providers), practical support, and emotional support (mostly by partners). Supportive reactions were not associated with emotional appraisal; however, unsupportive reactions were associated with women appraising the challenge negatively (Fisher exact test, P=.02). Conclusions: Although supportive behaviors did not elicit any particular emotion, unsupportive behaviors did cause women to view challenges negatively. It is worthwhile conducting a larger scale investigation to observe what happens when patients express their needs, particularly when challenges present themselves during labor, and health care professionals strive to cater to them.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Thomas Widmann; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA).

    “How Is My Child’s Asthma?” Digital Phenotype and Actionable Insights for Pediatric Asthma


    Background: In the traditional asthma management protocol, a child meets with a clinician infrequently, once in 3 to 6 months, and is assessed using the Asthma Control Test questionnaire. This information is inadequate for timely determination of asthma control, compliance, precise diagnosis of the cause, and assessing the effectiveness of the treatment plan. The continuous monitoring and improved tracking of the child’s symptoms, activities, sleep, and treatment adherence can allow precise determination of asthma triggers and a reliable assessment of medication compliance and effectiveness. Digital phenotyping refers to moment-by-moment quantification of the individual-level human phenotype in situ using data from personal digital devices, in particular, mobile phones. The kHealth kit consists of a mobile app, provided on an Android tablet, that asks timely and contextually relevant questions related to asthma symptoms, medication intake, reduced activity because of symptoms, and nighttime awakenings; a Fitbit to monitor activity and sleep; a Microlife Peak Flow Meter to monitor the peak expiratory flow and forced exhaled volume in 1 second; and a Foobot to monitor indoor air quality. The kHealth cloud stores personal health data and environmental data collected using Web services. The kHealth Dashboard interactively visualizes the collected data. Objective: The objective of this study was to discuss the usability and feasibility of collecting clinically relevant data to help clinicians diagnose or intervene in a child’s care plan by using the kHealth system for continuous and comprehensive monitoring of child’s symptoms, activity, sleep pattern, environmental triggers, and compliance. The kHealth system helps in deriving actionable insights to help manage asthma at both the personal and cohort levels. The Digital Phenotype Score and Controller Compliance Score introduced in the study are the basis of ongoing work on addressing personalized asthma care and answer questions such as, “How can I help my child better adhere to care instructions and reduce future exacerbation?” Methods: The Digital Phenotype Score and Controller Compliance Score summarize the child’s condition from the data collected using the kHealth kit to provide actionable insights. The Digital Phenotype Score formalizes the asthma control level using data about symptoms, rescue medication usage, activity level, and sleep pattern. The Compliance Score captures how well the child is complying with the treatment protocol. We monitored and analyzed data for 95 children, each recruited for a 1- or 3-month-long study. The Asthma Control Test scores obtained from the medical records of 57 children were used to validate the asthma control levels calculated using the Digital Phenotype Scores. Results: At the cohort level, we found asthma was very poorly controlled in 37% (30/82) of the children, not well controlled in 26% (21/82), and well controlled in 38% (31/82). Among the very poorly controlled children (n=30), we found 30% (9/30) were highly compliant toward their controller medication intake—suggesting a re-evaluation for change in medication or dosage—whereas 50% (15/30) were poorly compliant and candidates for a more timely intervention to improve compliance to mitigate their situation. We observed a negative Kendall Tau correlation between Asthma Control Test scores and Digital Phenotype Score as −0.509 (P<.01). Conclusions: kHealth kit is suitable for the collection of clinically relevant information from pediatric patients. Furthermore, Digital Phenotype Score and Controller Compliance Score, computed based on the continuous digital monitoring, provide the clinician with timely and detailed evidence of a child’s asthma-related condition when compared with the Asthma Control Test scores taken infrequently during clinic visits.

  • VisitU. Source: VisitU; Copyright: Stefan van Rooijen (founder of VisitU); License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Home to Hospital Live Streaming With Virtual Reality Goggles: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Experiences of Hospitalized Children


    Background: Being separated from home and relatives is a major stressor for children and adolescents when hospitalized. Children long for a manner to be distracted, pleasured, and socially connected during hospitalization. Different technological devices have been applied in health care to answer those needs. Both virtual reality (VR) and videoconferencing have proven their value in hospital wards and pediatrics. VisitU combines these 2 technologies innovatively. VisitU is a recently launched VR product enabling users to be virtually at home during hospitalization. Objective: This study aims to explore the experiences of hospitalized patients with the VR intervention of VisitU in addition to standard care. Methods: Over a 3-month period, a purposive sample of 10 patients hospitalized in the Radboudumc Amalia Children’s Hospital was included in this qualitative study. Semistructured interviews were performed, one before and one after the use of the VR device. Patients were asked open-ended questions concerning their experiences with VisitU on practical, cognitive, emotional, and social domains. The interviews were audiorecorded and transcribed verbatim. Atlas.ti was used to support the qualitative analysis. Furthermore, the inductive thematic analysis was done according to the 6-step procedure described by Braun and Clarke. Results: The following 6 main themes were the result of the qualitative analysis: “Being hospitalized,” “Expectations of VisitU,” “VisitU in use,” “VisitU, the benefits,” “The impact of VisitU,” and “Barriers when using VisitU.” The way VisitU was used by patients varied. The main benefits of VisitU were being somewhere else, being at home, and facilitating social connection. Limitations were experienced on the technical abilities, physical side effects, and complexity of use. Despite that, patients were positive about VisitU and unanimous in the view that they would like to use it again and advise other patients to use it. Conclusions: This study shows the positive experiences of pediatric patients with VR live streaming. VisitU brings together the needs of patients and possibilities of VR and videoconferencing; it offers patients a way out of the hospital. Nevertheless, practical and technical obstacles must be overcome and side effects are an area of further research.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: Freepik; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Social Media Content About Children’s Pain and Sleep: Content and Network Analysis


    Background: Social media is often used for health communication and can facilitate fast information exchange. Despite its increasing use, little is known about child health information sharing and engagement over social media. Objective: The primary objectives of this study are to systematically describe the content of social media posts about child pain and sleep and identify the level of research evidence in these posts. The secondary objective is to examine user engagement with information shared over social media. Methods: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook were searched by members of the research team over a 2-week period using a comprehensive search strategy. Codes were used to categorize the content of posts to identify the frequency of content categories shared over social media platforms. Posts were evaluated by content experts to determine the frequency of posts consistent with existing research evidence. User engagement was analyzed using Netlytic, a social network analysis program, to examine visual networks illustrating the level of user engagement. Results: From the 2-week period, nearly 1500 pain-related and 3800 sleep-related posts were identified and analyzed. Twitter was used most often to share knowledge about child pain (639/1133, 56.40% of posts), and personal experiences for child sleep (2255/3008, 75.00% of posts). For both topics, Instagram posts shared personal experiences (53/68, 78% pain; 413/478, 86.4% sleep), Facebook group posts shared personal experiences (30/49, 61% pain; 230/345, 66.7% sleep) and Facebook pages shared knowledge (68/198, 34.3% pain; 452/1026, 44.05% sleep). Across platforms, research evidence was shared in 21.96% (318/1448) of pain- and 9.16% (445/4857) of sleep-related posts; 5.38% (61/1133) of all pain posts and 2.82% (85/3008) of all sleep posts shared information inconsistent with the evidence, while the rest were absent of evidence. User interactions were indirect, with mostly one-way, rather than reciprocal conversations. Conclusions: Social media is commonly used to discuss child health, yet the majority of posts do not contain research evidence, and user engagement is primarily one-way. These findings represent an opportunity to expand engagement through open conversations with credible sources. Research and health care communities can benefit from incorporating specific information about evidence within social media posts to improve communication with the public and empower users to distinguish evidence-based content better. Together, these findings have identified potential gaps in social media communication that may be informative targets to guide future strategies for improving the translation of child health evidence over social media.

Citing this Article

Right click to copy or hit: ctrl+c (cmd+c on mac)