OBJECTIVE: To assess Internet access and usage patterns among high-risk youth involved in the juvenile justice system, and to determine if health information technology tools might play a useful role in more actively engaging this population in their health care.
METHODS: A sample of 79 youth between the ages of 13 and 18 years old underwent a structured interview while detained in a large, Northern California juvenile detention facility. After an institutional review board-approved assent/consent process, youth discussed their typical Internet use when not detained, as well as their attitudes toward online access to their personal health information (PHI).
RESULTS: Detained youth from predominantly underserved, minority communities, reported high levels of access to the Internet while outside of the detention setting, with 97% reporting using the Internet at least once per month and 87% at least weekly. Furthermore, 90% of these youth expressed interest in accessing their PHI online and sharing it with either parents or physicians.
CONCLUSIONS: Detained adolescents describe unexpectedly high usage of the Internet and online resources when they are outside of the juvenile hall setting. These youth show an interest in, and may benefit from, accessing their PHI online. Further studies are needed to understand the potential health benefits that may be realized by engaging this population through online tools.
- PHI —
- personal health information
- Accepted July 10, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012 by the American Academy of Pediatrics