Work Block 3 – eHealth Literacy in Childhood and Adolescence

eHealth Literacy in Childhood and Adolescence – A Rationale current understanding of adults

eHealth literacy focuses on skills and knowledge that are essential to interact with technology-based health tools, in line with an understanding of eHealth as health services delivered or enhanced through internet and related technologies assumed to assist evidence-based patient choice [1]. The discourse on health potentials and risks of these developments covers concerns for privacy [2] and equity, in the sense of a lack of access and use skills among disadvantaged groups [3,4]. When looking at younger age groups such as children and adolescents, it is crucial to use a widened concept of eHealth literacy which encompasses the informed decision when and why to use electronic media for promoting health, and when and why not to use them based on comprehensive knowledge about screen related health risks and benefits for different age groups (meta level eHealth literacy). Longitudinal studies show a strong negative impact of excessive screen-media time on a large number of developmental and social outcomes, supporting a “less is more” approach for this age group [5,6]. Other eHealth literacy components can be allocated to two separate subordinate areas, corresponding to the two choices of using or not using media: One area facilitating non-use is media-reduction-oriented eHealth literacy which encompasses skills needed to reduce problematic screen media use on the level of individuals, families, educational institutions and health systems. Adolescents as frequent internet users show high participation in social networks and frequent display of health risk behaviors online [7], and the internet is at the same time a much-used source for information on adolescent health concerns, especially on topics related to sexuality as well as diet, fitness and exercise [8,9]. Practical implications are that although Meta-level eHealth literacy is not a likely goal to be achieved in interventions targeting adolescents, their media-use-oriented eHealth literacy could be improved in the hope of long-term health advantages.

Sub projects

  • Media Protect
  • PrettY
  • ELMi

The workblock 3 (WB 3) Applied Research of eHealth Literacy (eHL) includes three subproject. The subproject 7 “Media Protect” is about effectiveness of a brief parental intervention to prevent problematic screen media use in children 4-7 years of age. It is a prospective cluster randomized trial. The subproject 8 “PrettY” is about digital health offers for children and adolescents, it is a systematic review and an analysis of websites and apps. The subproject 9 “ELMi” is about eHealth Literacy and Minority Health. It is an ethnographic study on health- related use of new media among disadvantaged adolescents with Turkish and Afghan migration background.


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  7. Moreno MA, Parks MR, Zimmerman FJ, Brito TE, Christakis DA. (2009). Display of health risk behaviors on myspace by adolescents: Prevalence and associations. In: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 163 (1), S. 27–34. DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2008.528.
  8. Baheiraei A, Khoori E, Foroushani AR, Ahmadi F, Ybarra ML. (2013). What sources do adolescents turn to for information about their health concerns? In: Int J Adolesc Med Health. S. 1–8. DOI: 10.1515/ijamh-2012-0112.
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