Online Program

Cell phone and computer use among parents visiting an urban pediatric emergency department

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Wendy C. Shields, MPH, Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Eileen McDonald, MS, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Elise Perry, MHS, Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Mary Aitken, MD, Injury Prevention Center, Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock, AR
Andrea C. Gielen, ScD, ScM, Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Background Many health interventions using cell phones and computers do not target low-income families. Quantifying cell phone and internet use among low-income families will help determine if those technologies are suitable media to deliver a health intervention addressing the specific needs of low-income families.

Objective/Purpose 1. Estimate the prevalence of cell phone and computer use among low-income families 2. Determine how parents prefer to receive child health and safety information

Methods We visited two PEDs in Baltimore, MD and Little Rock, AR during the hours likely to have a high volume of patients. Our previous work in this population demonstrated 60% of the population have less than $5000 per capita income. A convenience sample of parents of children 8 years old or younger were invited to complete a self-administered survey in the waiting area. The survey was offered in English and Spanish.

Results To date, 196 surveys have been completed. A majority (96%) of respondents reported owning a cell phone. Among respondents owning a cell phone, 86% reported owning a smart phone. Android and iPhone were the most popular brands (49% and 30%, respectively) among smart phone owners. Over half (60%) of respondents reported having computer internet access at home; 30% reported having internet access at work. Less than half (48%) of respondents check email daily on the computer while a majority (75%) check email daily on their cell phone. Most parents reported that they would like to be able to use their cell phone (79%) or a computer (80%) to get child safety information.

Discussion/Conclusions Smart phones are prevalent among low-income families and utilizing their capacity such as apps and text messages may be suitable to target health interventions to this hard-to-reach population. It may be more effective to use cell phone based interventions than computer based interventions.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Explain that cell phones, and in particular smart phones, are prevalent among urban low-income families. Describe that cell phones are a suitable media to deliver child health and safety information to families.

Keyword(s): Health Communications, Urban Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I received my MHS from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with an emphasis in Epidemiology. I am currently Project Director and Data Analyst for two federally funded grants that aim to reduce motor vehicle and home injuries among low-income urban families. I participated in the design of the instrument and in the data collection and analysis of the content in this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.