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Open Access Research article

Use of the internet as a source of health information by Spanish adolescents

Jaime Jiménez-Pernett13, Antontio Olry de Labry-Lima123, Clara Bermúdez-Tamayo13*, Jose Francisco García-Gutiérrez123 and Maria del Carmen Salcedo-Sánchez23

Author Affiliations

1 Andalusian School of Public Health, Granada, Spain

2 CIBER en Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain

3 Alto Guadalquivir Hospital, Andujar, Spain

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2010, 10:6  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-10-6

Published: 29 January 2010

Abstract

Background

The Internet is a fundamental part of the daily life of adolescents, they consider it as a safe and confidential source of information on health matters. The aims is to describe the experience of Spanish adolescents searching for health information on the Internet.

Methods

A cross-sectional study of 811 school-age adolescents in Granada was carried out. An adapted and piloted questionnaire was used which was controlled by trained personnel. Sociodemographic and health variables were included together with those concerning the conditions governing access to and use of information and communication technologies (ICT).

Results

811 adolescents were surveyed (99.38% response rate), mean age was 17 years old. Of these, 88% used the Internet; 57.5% used it on a daily or weekly basis and 38.7% used it occasionally. Nearly half the sample group (55.7%) stated that they used the Internet to search for health-related information. The main problems reported in the search for e-health were the ignorance of good web pages (54.8%) and the lack of confidence or search skills (23.2%).

Conclusions

In conclusion, it seems plausible to claim that websites designed and managed by health services should have a predominant position among interventions specifically addressed to young people.