openPR Logo
Press release

Are social networks essential to improving the quality of life of teenage patients? AboutKidsHealth.ca investigates

03-08-2011 12:54 PM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: AboutKidsHealth.ca

AboutKidsHealth - leading online Canadian source for children's health

AboutKidsHealth - leading online Canadian source for children's health

Leading online Canadian source for children’s health, AboutKidsHealth.ca, investigates how social networks are becoming invaluable for the wellbeing of teenagers who are hospitalized for extended periods of time.

Since its inception more than two decades ago, the Internet continues to influence the way people work, play, and access information. What started out as a medium for academics and military personnel to share research and classified information, the Internet has become an ubiquitous array of invisible networks, connecting people from all corners of the globe on home computers, iPads, and smartphones.

But with the advent of social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, the Internet is changing the way people interact with each other. For some, social networks are a platform for idle chatter. But for others, like 14-year-old Liam Jefferson, these sites play a vital role in their daily lives.

In the summer of 2010, Jefferson was diagnosed with myelodysplasia, or preleukemia, an often chronic condition in which the bone marrow -- the area of the body where red cells, white cells, and platelets develop -- does not function properly. For the last six months, he has been in and out of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) for treatment, including chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. With no other option than to stay at the hospital for days, and even weeks at a time, Jefferson began to feel isolated from the outside world.

“You’re kind of closed off from everyone and you can’t talk to anybody,” he says. “As a teenager you spend a lot of time reaching out and being social with everybody, and I think this is important because it really helps you figure out who you are and what you want to do later in life. That’s why I like Facebook ... for the social aspect.”

At this point, access to the Internet, specifically social networks, is crucial to the quality of life of a teenage patient, especially those with a chronic condition.

“They are lifelines. They allow teenagers who are patients to not feel that disconnected and this is paramount for them,” says Deborah Berlin-Romalis, a clinical social worker at SickKids. “It’s their connection with that world, and it allows them to stay posted, post pictures, and give updates to friends and family because the phone is just not enough now.”

Berlin-Romalis, who works in both the Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program and the Paediatric Brain Tumour Program at SickKids, says living day-to-day in a hospital is tough for anyone, no matter how old they are. But for adolescents, who are ready to launch themselves into young adulthood, it can be especially challenging.

In a recent study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation, researchers discovered that blogging and online health discussions are the two most popular activities people living with a chronic disease engage in while surfing the Web.

“These resources allow an internet user to dive deeply into a health topic, using the internet as a communications tool, not simply an information vending machine,” writes Susannah Fox, associate director of digital strategy at Pew and coauthor of the study. “Living with a chronic disease is also associated, once someone is online, with a greater likelihood to access user-generated health content such as blog posts, hospital reviews, doctor reviews, and podcasts.”

For Jefferson, scouring the Web for information about his condition wasn’t something he engaged in right away. “I remember in the beginning, when the doctors would ask me if I had any questions for them, I was pretty quiet because I just wanted [the procedure] done,” he says. “But once I got into researching my condition, I began to think about it more and more and from that I started to get more involved by asking a lot of questions.”

Please visit AboutKidsHealth.ca for more information, or view the original article here: http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/News/NewsAndFeatures/Pages/Social-networking-a-lifeline-for-hospitalized-teens.aspx

AboutKidsHealth.ca is the leading Canadian online source for trusted child health information, and has a scope and scale that is unique in the world. Developed by SickKids Learning Institute in collaboration with over 300 paediatric health specialists, the site provides parents, children, and community health care providers with evidence-based information about everyday health and complex medical conditions, from second-hand smoke to chronic illnesses. AboutKidsHealth.ca adheres to rigorous quality standards for the creation and review of health information.

Visit www.aboutkidshealth.ca to find out more.

For more information, please contact:
Sue Mackay, Communications
susan.mackay@sickkids.ca
The Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
Canada
M5G 1X8
Tel: 416-813-5165

This release was published on openPR.

Permanent link to this press release:

Copy
Please set a link in the press area of your homepage to this press release on openPR. openPR disclaims liability for any content contained in this release.

You can edit or delete your press release Are social networks essential to improving the quality of life of teenage patients? AboutKidsHealth.ca investigates here

News-ID: 165606 • Views:

More Releases from AboutKidsHealth.ca

How can the Microsoft Kinect aid the medical field? AboutKidsHealth.ca reports
How can the Microsoft Kinect aid the medical field? AboutKidsHealth.ca reports
With eight million units sold in its first 60 days on the market, the Microsoft Kinect’s impact on the gaming industry is phenomenal. But developers are just beginning to realize the potential of Kinect for use in medicine, reports AboutKidsHealth.ca, leading online Canadian source for children’s health information. Kinect is a type of technology that allows the user to play video games on Xbox 360 without the need for a controller.
Why do multilingual children do better in school? AboutKidsHealth.ca investigates
Why do multilingual children do better in school? AboutKidsHealth.ca investigate …
Leading online provider of children’s health information in Canada, AboutKidsHealth.ca, investigates the way in which children are able to learn languages so easily, and why this makes them perform more highly in school. Canadian-born, Christopher Woon was just a baby when he was first exposed to the mother tongue from his parents. While growing up in the English-speaking community of Port Hope, Ontario, he spoke exclusively in Korean in the house.
How can parents help children with chronic conditions as they enter their teens? AboutKidsHealth.ca finds out
How can parents help children with chronic conditions as they enter their teens? …
AboutKidsHealth.ca, leading online Canadian source for children’s health information, looks into what steps parents of children with chronic conditions can take to help them transition into adulthood taking charge of their own health. Not long ago, it used to be that most children born with spina bifida would not survive to age 20. The condition, in which the spinal column does not close properly before birth, has several types and
More children turning to acupuncture to ease chronic pain, claims AboutKidsHealth.ca
More children turning to acupuncture to ease chronic pain, claims AboutKidsHealt …
AboutKidsHealth.ca, the leading Canadian source for children’s health, says that more and more children are experiencing success when treating chronic pain with acupuncture. When teenager Andrew Pearce was first diagnosed with the immune system disorder Guillaim-Barre syndrome, he could barely walk. His muscles were weak and he was in deep, aching pain. At one point, he could not move anything in his body from his shoulders down. He went through a

All 5 Releases


More Releases for AboutKidsHealth

AboutKidsHealth advises on phobias and anxiety in children
AboutKidsHealth, leading online Canadian source for children’s health information, looks into what steps parents of children with phobias can take to help. As a child, John Greene looked forward to the day when the end-of-summer carnival rolled into his hometown. For months leading up to the highly anticipated event, he would set aside a portion of his total allowance – a mere 75 cents, he recalls – to spend on sticks
Children learning early math can be helped by parents, reports AboutKidsHealth
AboutKidsHealth, leading online provider of children’s health information, reports on methods available to parents seeking to help their kids with early math, even before they go to school. Like many parents, Tracy Solomon spends quite a bit of time counting with her son Xavier. “First, we learned to recognize numbers: speed signs on the road or pointing out people with numbers on their sports jerseys,” she recalls of his preschool days. Next
Is teenage drinking and driving avoidable? AboutKidsHealth reports
Many teenagers find that getting a driver’s license is a signal of increasing social independence and confidence, but for many parents it is a maze of worrying statistics and unsettling thoughts. Leading online provider of children’s health information, AboutKidsHealth, reports on the phenomenon of teenagers drinking and driving. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), road crashes still remain the leading cause of death among teenagers. Forty-five per cent of these
Are energy drinks too freely available? AboutKidsHealth reports
Leading online provider of children’s health information, AboutKidsHealth, asks about the dangers of energy drinks> and looks into their increasing consumption by young people. With over half of the energy drink market consisting of children, teenagers, and young adults no older than 25, it isn’t surprising that the bulk of the marketing efforts for these drinks are directed towards this younger demographic. Advertised as fun, youthful, and above all, healthy, many children
Non-communicable diseases in the developing world – a hidden pandemic? AboutKi …
AboutKidsHealth, leading online provider of children’s health information, reports on possible causes for the alarmingly high growth of non-communicable diseases in the developing world. In the heart of the densely packed streets of Dhaka in Bangladesh lie two of the country’s largest international middle-schools, Heed and Maple Leaf School. Reputed for their high academic standards, the schools are the most popular and populous in the country, despite one obvious peculiarity: each
Toronto barbershops are helping fathers get involved with their children, report …
AboutKidsHealth, leading online source of children’s health information, looks into a grassroots program run in barbershops in Toronto,which encourages black fathers to get involved in the lives of their children. Anthony Davis, better known as Peculiar-I, is a "regular" at Toronto's J.C. Hair Salon & Barbers. "It's good to be back," he says, during his most recent visit. "It feels like it's been too long." But unlike most, if not all,