Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 May;77(5):699-702. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2013.01.021. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Patterns of Internet and smartphone use by parents of children attending a pediatric otolaryngology service.

Author information

Department of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, Children's University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin 1, Ireland.



To assess Internet use and the influence of smartphones on health-information seeking by parents and carers of children with ENT conditions.


A paper-based questionnaire was circulated to parents attending otolaryngology services in both the out-patient and day-case settings at a tertiary referral centre.


79.5% of questionnaires were returned. 29.9% had consulted the Internet for ENT-related information. Factors associated with increased rates of ENT-related online activity included younger age, university education, and access to a smartphone (all p ≤ 0.001). 65.7% and 57.7% had found the information which they had found online to be understandable and helpful, respectively; however, just 25.5% felt that it had influenced the medical decisions they had made for their child. 50.3% had previously or intended to discuss information found online with their surgeon. 9.2% had searched online for information regarding their child's surgeon; 19.6% of these said that this had been a factor in choosing that particular surgeon. On ranking 8 information sources in terms of importance (scale 0-5), the ENT Surgeon ranked as most important (mean=4.63), whilst the Internet ranked lowest (3.10). 48.6% of respondents or their partners had an Internet-enabled smartphone; 45.2% said they would definitely use an iPhone app regarding their child's condition if one was available. 36.1% reported they would definitely use the Internet in the future.


Whilst online sources must increasingly be considered in the dialogue with parents, it is clear that parents still rate the clinical team as most important for information gathering. Clinician-provided websites and smartphone applications may be the key to ensuring the provision of quality information into the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center