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Parents’ Use of Social Media as a Health Information Source for Their Children: A Scoping Review

Open AccessPublished:December 10, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2021.12.006

      Abstract

      Background

      Parents are increasingly using social media to inform health decisions for their children.

      Objective

      This scoping review examines 1) How do parents use social media to find health information for their children? 2) What motivates parents to engage with social media to seek health information for their children? 3) How do parents seek to understand and evaluate the health information they find on social media, and how does social media impact parental health information-seeking?

      Methods

      Scopus, CINAHL, Medline, PubMed, and Embase databases were searched, with open date parameters. Peer-reviewed studies that examined parents’ and responsible caregivers’ use of social media as a source of health information for their children (aged <18 years) were included.

      Results

      The 42 included studies spanned 2011 to 2020. More than half (n = 24, 57%) were published in 2019 and 2020. Parents use social media for information about specific health concerns both before and after a medical diagnosis for their child. Parents are motivated to engage with social media as they seek out extensive information based on lived experience from other parents, as well as social support and community.

      Conclusion

      This scoping review reveals parents’ motivation to use social media for health information, and how that can interact with, and impose on, clinical practice. It is important for those who provide pediatric health care to both understand and accommodate this permanent shift facilitated by social media, when working with parents who are seeking health information when making health decisions for their children.

      Keywords

      How to Use This Scoping Review
      • To aid in clinical care as a basis for asking parents if and how they access health information through social media.
      • To develop research programs investigating how health information is sourced on social media.
      • To inform policy relating to how parents source and use health information found on social media.
      What This Scoping Review Adds
      A concise overview of how parents use social media as part of their health information seeking process, what motivates parents to use social media, and how this use of social media can impact and impose on the provision of health care and clinical practice to children as it has been delivered up until now.
      Parents are increasingly using social media to seek health information for their children.
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      Social media allows parents to form emotionally and socially supportive communities despite geographical barriers. It also facilitates the exchange of information between parents who might not have connected otherwise. However, social media may challenge parents' health literacy skills
      • Livingstone S
      Media literacy and the challenge of new information and communication technologies.
      in new ways due to the lack of expert input,
      • Schudson M
      The objectivity norm in American journalism*.
      and fact-checking regulatory gatekeeping, that underpin the factual authority of traditional news media.
      • Van Dijck J
      The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media.
      ,
      • Fortinsky KJ
      • Fournier MR
      • Benchimol EI
      Internet and electronic resources for inflammatory bowel disease: a primer for providers and patients.
      Engagement is central to social media,
      • Kaplan AM
      • Haenlein M
      Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media.
      ,
      • O'Reilly T
      What is Web 2.0: design patterns and business models for the next generation of software.
      allowing multiple conversations to occur irrespective of geography and time. Information is exchanged between parents much like an ordinary conversation, but exchanges are digitized and available to those with access. This fundamental difference
      • Van Dijck J
      The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media.
      ,
      • Hamm MP
      • Chisholm A
      • Shulhan J
      • et al.
      Social media use among patients and caregivers: a scoping review.
      means parents may access evidence-based, user-generated information, but, unwittingly, also opinion which is not based on fact,
      • Dylko I
      • McCluskey M
      Media effects in an era of rapid technological transformation: a case of user-generated content and political participation.
      and may even be contradictory. This also may create confusion,
      • Price SL
      • Aston M
      • Monaghan J
      • et al.
      Maternal knowing and social networks: understanding first-time mothers’ search for information and support through online and offline social networks.
      delay access to health care,
      • Lee K
      • Hoti K
      • Hughes JD
      • et al.
      Dr Google and the consumer: a qualitative study exploring the navigational needs and online health information-seeking behaviors of consumers with chronic health conditions.
      or increase the use of treatments without medical oversight,
      • Hamm MP
      • Chisholm A
      • Shulhan J
      • et al.
      Social media use among patients and caregivers: a scoping review.
      possibly harming children's health.
      Researchers have investigated the quality of information on social media and the Internet; however, insight into parents' use of social media to seek health information for their children is limited.
      • Hamm MP
      • Chisholm A
      • Shulhan J
      • et al.
      Social media use among patients and caregivers: a scoping review.
      ,

      Students 4 Best Evidence. Grey literature and their sources. Students 4 best evidence. Published May 7, 2021. Available at: https://s4be.cochrane.org/?p=16596&preview=true&preview_id=16596. Accessed October 31, 2021.

      Accordingly, we conducted a scoping review of relevant peer-reviewed research to answer the following research questions: 1) How do parents use social media to find health information for their children? 2) What motivates parents to engage with social media to seek health information for their children? 3) How do parents seek to understand and evaluate the health information they find on social media, and how does social media impact parental health information seeking?

      Methods

      The PRISMA-ScR methodology was chosen due to the heterogeneity of study designs, platforms used, the variety of health issues parents sought information for, and this being a new area of study.
      • Tricco AC
      • Lillie E
      • Zarin W
      • et al.
      PRISMA extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR): checklist and explanation.
      ,
      • Arksey H
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      Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework.
      The PRISMA-ScR allowed us to map the existing scholarly literature
      • Peters MDJ
      • Godfrey CM
      • Khalil H
      • et al.
      Guidance for conducting systematic scoping reviews.
      and identify future research directions,
      • Arksey H
      • O'Malley L
      Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework.
      ,
      • Levac D
      • Colquhoun H
      • O'Brien KK
      Scoping studies: advancing the methodology.
      while also allowing for flexibility when deciding which literature sources were to be included and excluded by design
      • Peters MDJ
      • Godfrey CM
      • Khalil H
      • et al.
      Guidance for conducting systematic scoping reviews.
      and preserving research integrity and rigor. A review protocol was developed (but not registered) a priori in compliance with the protocol outlined in the Joanna Briggs Institute Manual of Evidence Synthesis,

      11.2 Development of a scoping review protocol - JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis - JBI Global Wiki. Available at: https://jbi-global-wiki.refined.site/space/MANUAL/3283910908/11.2+Development+of+a+scoping+review+protocol. Accessed November 7, 2021.

      using the SUMARI protocol template provided. The reporting for the scoping review was done in compliance with the PRISMA-ScR extension,
      • Tricco AC
      • Lillie E
      • Zarin W
      • et al.
      PRISMA extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR): checklist and explanation.
      using the PRISMA-ScR checklist.
      The inclusion and exclusion criteria were determined a priori. Peer-reviewed scholarly research (published in English) that examined parents with a child aged between 0 and 18 years of age that specified social media as a source of health information were included. The term ‘parent’ is used here as an all-inclusive term, encompassing biological and non-biological caregivers responsible for the health decisions of a dependent child younger than 18 years. Studies were excluded if they included parents of children over 18 years of age, were concerning pregnancy/prenatal care, or included children under the age of 18 years seeking their own health information. Studies on mHealth were excluded along with studies that did not clearly differentiate the use of the Internet from that of social media.
      Embase, Scopus, CINAHL, and Medline were searched on August 30, 2020 with identical but translated search strategies. A targeted search of Journal of Medical Internet Research through PubMed (journal specified) was also conducted on September 22, 2020. All peer-reviewed empirical research was included, with all other search results being excluded to limit bias which is known to be inherent in editorials based on opinion, and lack of peer review for conference abstracts. Gray literature (literature that is produced by governments, academics, businesses and industry, but is not formally controlled or published by publishing houses
      • Schöpfel J
      Towards a Prague definition of Grey literature.
      ) was excluded due to the inability to determine quality,

      Students 4 Best Evidence. Grey literature and their sources. Students 4 best evidence. Published May 7, 2021. Available at: https://s4be.cochrane.org/?p=16596&preview=true&preview_id=16596. Accessed October 31, 2021.

      and impartiality.
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      The search terms used were developed with the assistance of an information services librarian. Search terms used across the databases were identical but translated to work for the requirements of each database (see Appendix 1). Date filters were left open (ie no date filters were used to limit results) to include studies across the entire social media lifespan and enable us to view changes and trends over time. The search strategy was executed by the first author with assistance from the consulting information services librarian.
      The results from all searches were exported to Covidence

      Covidence - Better systematic review management. Available at: https://www.covidence.org/. Accessed February 3, 2022.

      where duplicates were removed within the program, manually double-checked and deleted manually where required. Two reviewers (E.F. and M.B.) screened all papers by title, abstract and full paper according to the eligibility criteria that was inputted into Covidence to assist with consistency between reviewers and within screening for each reviewer. Inconsistencies were discussed between the two screening reviewers. Two papers that could not be resolved between the two screening reviewers were referred to the entire authorship team for discussion as to eligibility, resulting in one paper being included and one paper being excluded. Studies that appeared in records more than once were collapsed into a single unit (first study published) for the purposes of analysis. The screening process was guided by the scoping review protocol.

      11.2 Development of a scoping review protocol - JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis - JBI Global Wiki. Available at: https://jbi-global-wiki.refined.site/space/MANUAL/3283910908/11.2+Development+of+a+scoping+review+protocol. Accessed November 7, 2021.

      The data were extracted based on participant, concept, context in an iteratively adjusted data extraction tool (see Appendix 2) as set out in the scoping review protocol. Participant data was primarily focused on demographics. Concept data extraction focussed on data needed to directly answer the research questions – such as parent's behavior, motivation, and sentiment related to social media use for health information. Self-reported outcomes (what parents did with or as a result of the health information they found on social media) were also extracted to provide additional insights. Context data extraction focussed on study methodology and setting, including the country in which the study was conducted, the data collection methods and study designs used, the year of data collection, and the social media platforms investigated. Finally, the study data extracted was related to the meta data needed to inform the review. Once data extraction was completed, data synthesis was initiated on Microsoft Excel utilising data filters to dynamically group studies together that had similarities, depending on the data point being explored at the time. Data were then mapped to allow for comprehensive analysis and cohesive results (Tables 1 and 2).
      Table 1Overview of the Characteristics of the Included Studies
      AuthorYearCountryStudy DesignTotal Data Set (n=)Health ConcernSM Platforms UsedFunding Statement
      Adekunle
      • Adekunle AA
      • James O
      • Adeyemo WL
      Health information seeking through social media and search engines by parents of children with orofacial cleft in Nigeria.
      2020NigeriaSurvey50 participantsOrofacial cleftFacebook

      Instagram

      Twitter
      None declared
      Bamashmous et al
      • Bamashmous N
      • Cunningham SJ
      • Parekh S
      Information seeking behaviour of dental trauma patients and their parents.
      2020UKSurvey70 participantsDental traumaYouTube

      Wikipedia

      Facebook

      Dental forums
      Absent
      Bradshaw et al
      • Bradshaw AS
      • Shelton SS
      • Wollney E
      • et al.
      Pro-vaxxers get out: anti-vaccination advocates influence undecided first-time, pregnant, and new mothers on Facebook.
      2020USContent analysis258 participantsVaccinesFacebookAbsent
      Bryan et al
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      2020USSurvey551 participantsGeneral informationFacebook

      Wikis

      blogs
      Bright futures Young Investigators Award from Academic Pediatric Association and Maternal Health Bureau
      Clapton-Caputo et al
      • Clapton-Caputo E
      • Sweet L
      • Muller A
      A qualitative study of expectations and experiences of women using a social media support group when exclusively expressing breastmilk to feed their infant.
      2020AustraliaInterview76 participantsBreastfeedingFacebookNone declared
      Jenkins et al
      • Jenkins MC
      • Moreno MA
      Vaccination discussion among parents on social media: a content analysis of comments on parenting blogs.
      2020USContent analysis64 participantsVaccinesBlogs (comments)Absent
      Kim et al
      • Kim SC
      • Hawkins KH
      The psychology of social media communication in influencing prevention intentions during the 2019 U.S. measles outbreak.
      2020USSurvey4174 participantsMeaslesFacebook

      Twitter

      Instagram

      Pinterest


      Supported by the Department of Communication at George Mason University
      Lebron et al
      • Lebron CN
      • St. George SM
      • Eckembrecher DG
      • et al.
      “Am I doing this wrong?” Breastfeeding mothers’ use of an online forum.
      2020USContent analysis258 posts/ 1445 commentsBreastfeedingBabycentre.com forumAbsent
      Pretorius et al
      • Pretorius K
      • Choi E
      • Kang S
      • et al.
      Sudden infant death syndrome on Facebook: qualitative descriptive content analysis to guide prevention efforts.
      2020USContent analysis20 posts/ 912 comments/ 512 mothers in one Facebook groupSudden Infant Death SyndromeFacebook- Sigma Theta Tau

      - National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
      Raspa et al
      • Raspa M
      • Lynch M
      • Squiers L
      • et al.
      Information and emotional support needs of families whose infant was diagnosed with SCID through newborn screening.
      2020USInterview

      Survey


      7 participants

      76 participants
      Severe Combined Immune DisorderNot specifiedHealth Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) (Grant #SC1MC31881).
      Thorpe et al
      • Thorpe M
      • Taylor J
      • Cole R
      Parents’ use of information accessed through social media to make immunisation decisions for their young children.
      2020AustraliaInterview14 participantsVaccinesFacebook

      YouTube

      Instagram

      Pinterest

      LinkedIn

      Twitter
      None declared
      Wang and Lund
      • Wang T
      • Lund B
      Categories of information need expressed by parents of individuals with rare genetic disorders in a Facebook community group: a case study with implications for information professionals.
      2020USContent analysis100 commentsRare genetic disordersFacebookNone declared
      Castro et al
      • Castro AR
      • Chougui K
      • Bilodeau C
      • et al.
      Exploring the views of osteogenesis imperfecta caregivers on internet-based technologies: qualitative descriptive study.
      2019CanadaInterview18 participantsOsteogenesis imperfectaYouTube

      Facebook
      - Tunis Shriners,

      - Newton Foundation,

      - Scotiabank,

      - Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Institute of Health Services and Policy Research Travel Awards (summer 2018)

      - McGill University Ingram School of Nursing Summer Bursary Program of 2019
      Deas et al
      • Deas J
      • Bean SJ
      • Sokolovska I
      • et al.
      Childhood vaccine attitudes and information sources among Oregon parents and guardians.
      2019USInterview

      Focus group
      6 participants

      33 participants
      VaccinesNot specified- Intercommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization

      - Corvallis Clinic Foundation

      - Community Health Centers of Benton and Linn Counties

      - Anonymous individuals
      Gage- Bouchard et al
      • Gage-Bouchard EA
      • LaValley S
      • Devonish JA
      Deciphering the signal from the noise: Caregivers’ information appraisal and credibility assessment of cancer-related information exchanged on social networking sites.
      2019USInterview40 participantsChildhood cancerFacebook- Supportive Care Research Grant from St Baldrick's Foundation

      - National Care Institute (NCI) grant P30CA016056
      Garcia et al
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      2019UKInterview

      Survey
      64 participants

      21 participants
      FeedingFacebook

      YouTube
      Absent
      Gorman et al
      • Gorman DR
      • Bielecki K
      • Willocks LJ
      • et al.
      A qualitative study of vaccination behaviour amongst female Polish migrants in Edinburgh, Scotland.
      2019ScotlandFocus group13 participantsVaccinesFacebook

      Wikipedia
      None declared
      Hwang and Shah
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      2019USSurvey- secondary analysis4174 participantsVaccinesFacebook

      Twitter
      Absent
      Koskan et al
      • Koskan AM
      • Dominick LN
      • Helitzer DL
      Rural caregivers’ willingness for community pharmacists to administer the HPV vaccine to their age-eligible children.
      2019USInterview26 participantsVaccinesFacebookAbsent
      Kulhas Celik et al
      • Kulhas Celik I
      • Buyuktiryaki B
      • Civelek E
      • et al.
      Internet use habits of parents with children suffering from food allergy.
      2019TurkeySurvey458 participantsFood allergiesFacebookAbsent
      Moon et al
      • Moon RY
      • Mathews A
      • Oden R
      • et al.
      Mothers’ perceptions of the internet and social media as sources of parenting and health information: Qualitative study.
      2019USInterview

      Focus group
      28 participantsGeneral informationFacebookNational Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities 1R01MD007702
      Peterlein et al
      • Peterlein CD
      • Bosch M
      • Timmesfeld N
      • et al.
      Parental internet search in the field of pediatric orthopedics.
      2019GermanySurvey519 participantsOrthopedicsWikipedia

      Facebook

      YouTube

      Netdoktor.de

      Other forums

      Twitter

      Myspace
      None declared
      Pretorius et al
      • Pretorius K
      • Johnson KE
      • Rew L
      An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health.
      2019USIntegrative review12 papersGeneral supportFacebook

      YouTube
      Absent
      Zhao et al
      • Zhao Y
      • Zhang J
      • Wu M
      Finding users’ voice on social media: an investigation of online support groups for autism-affected users on Facebook.
      2019USNetwork analysis5 Facebook groupsAutism Spectrum DisorderFacebookJiangsu Province Social Science Foundation (#19TQC005)
      Baker and Yang
      • Baker B
      • Yang I
      Social media as social support in pregnancy and the postpartum.
      2018AustraliaSurvey117 participantsGeneral supportFacebookSigma Theta Tau, Gamma Omega Chapter at Virginia Commonwealth University
      Lee
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      2018USSurvey480 participantsGeneral informationFacebook

      Instagram

      Forums

      YouTube

      Flickr

      Twitter
      Absent
      Price et al
      • Price SL
      • Aston M
      • Monaghan J
      • et al.
      Maternal knowing and social networks: understanding first-time mothers’ search for information and support through online and offline social networks.
      2018CanadaFocus group

      e-interview
      19 participantsGeneral informationForums

      Blogs

      Facebook
      Bridge Funding from Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
      Rehman et al
      • Rehman S
      • Lyons K
      • McEwen R
      • et al.
      Motives for sharing illness experiences on Twitter: conversations of parents with children diagnosed with cancer.
      2018CanadaContent analysis1700 tweetsChildhood cancerTwitterNone declared
      Gibson et al
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      2017USInterview

      Survey
      6 participants

      629 participants
      Autism Spectrum DisorderFacebook

      Twitter

      Pinterest

      Forums
      None declared
      Nicholl et al
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      2017IrelandFocus group

      Survey
      8 participants

      121 participants
      Non-specific childhood disabilitiesFacebook

      Twitter

      LinkedIn

      Blog
      Saoirse Foundation
      Walker et al
      • Walker LO
      • Mackert MS
      • Ahn J
      • et al.
      e-Health and new moms: contextual factors associated with sources of health information.
      2017USSurvey165 participantsGeneral informationBabycentre.com forum

      YouTube

      Facebook
      St David's Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research in Underserved Population, School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin.
      Kim et al
      • Kim HN
      • Wyatt TH
      • Li X
      • et al.
      Use of social media by fathers of premature infants.
      2016USContent analysis29 social networking sites/ 131 postsPremature infantsBlogs

      Facebook

      forums
      None declared
      Lupton
      • Lupton D
      The use and value of digital media for information about pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.
      2016AustraliaFocus group36 participantsGeneral informationPinterest

      Instagram

      Facebook

      YouTube
      Personal research funds received from University of Canberra, Australia.
      Orr et al
      • Orr D
      • Baram-Tsabari A
      • Landsman K
      Social media as a platform for health-related public debates and discussions: the Polio vaccine on Facebook.
      2016IsraelContent analysis7 social media platforms / 2289 Facebook commentsVaccinesFacebook- I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee, The Israel Science Foundation (1716/12)

      - Israel Science Foundation grant (1599/15).
      Sharpe et al
      • Sharpe K
      • Di Pietro N
      • Jacob KJ
      • et al.
      A dichotomy of information-seeking and information-trusting: stem cell interventions and children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
      2016CanadaSurvey34 participantsAutism Spectrum Disorder

      Cerebral Palsy
      Facebook

      Twitter

      Blogs

      Forums
      - Stem Cell Network, Public Policy Impact grant: Stem cell therapies for neurodevelopmental disorders: Science, media and public opinion (13/5226 (PP68))

      - NeuroDevNet, Inc.
      Al-Daihani and Al-Ateeqi
      • Al-Daihani SM
      • Al-Ateeqi HI
      Parents of children with disabilities in Kuwait: a study of their information seeking behaviour.
      2015KuwaitSurvey240 participantsNon-specific childhood disabilitiesNot specifiedAbsent
      Criss et al
      • Criss S
      • Woo Baidal JA
      • Goldman RE
      • et al.
      The role of health information sources in decision-making among Hispanic mothers during their children's first 1000 days of life.
      2015USFocus group49 participantsGeneral informationYouTube

      Facebook

      babycentre.com forum
      JWB:

      NIH grants

      - R01MD003963

      - 3T32DK7477-30 S1

      SC:

      - Predoctoral training grant from NIH award # 3R25CA057711

      - Initiative to maximize Student Diversity Aware # GM055353-13

      - Maternal and Child Health Bureau Award #T03MC07648
      Holtz et al
      • Holtz B
      • Smock A
      • Reyes-Gastelum D
      Connected motherhood: social support for moms and moms-to-be on Facebook.
      2015USSurvey647 participantsNon-specific childhood disabilitiesFacebookNone declared
      Mohd Roffeei et al
      • Mohd Roffeei SH
      • Abdullah N
      • Basar SKR
      Seeking social support on Facebook for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
      2015USContent analysis381 Facebook posts + 3256 Facebook commentsAutism Spectrum DisorderFacebookUniversity of Malaya High Impact Research Grant (No. UM.C/625/1/HIR/MOHE /FCSIT/16/H-22001-00-B00016)
      Appleton et al
      • Appleton J
      • Fowler C
      • Brown N
      Friend or foe? An exploratory study of Australian parents’ use of asynchronous discussion boards in childhood obesity.
      2014AustraliaContent analysis2 discussion forums/ 34 threadsChildhood obesityForumsNone declared
      Naftel et al
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      2013USSurvey300 participantsHydrocephalusWikipedia

      Facebook

      YouTube

      Myspace
      Absent
      Cowie et al
      • Cowie GA
      • Hill S
      • Robinson P
      Using an online service for breastfeeding support: what mothers want to discuss.
      2011AustraliaContent analysis1614 posts/206 users on 1 discussion forumBreastfeedingABA ForumAbsent
      Table 2Context Motivating Parents' Health Information Seeking on Social Media
      AuthorYearHealth Concern/QuestionFunction of Information Seeking on Social Media
      Adekunle et al
      • Adekunle AA
      • James O
      • Adeyemo WL
      Health information seeking through social media and search engines by parents of children with orofacial cleft in Nigeria.
      2020Cleft palatePost diagnosis information seeking
      Bamashmous et al
      • Bamashmous N
      • Cunningham SJ
      • Parekh S
      Information seeking behaviour of dental trauma patients and their parents.
      2020Dental traumaPreconsultation self-triage
      Bradshaw et al
      • Bradshaw AS
      • Shelton SS
      • Wollney E
      • et al.
      Pro-vaxxers get out: anti-vaccination advocates influence undecided first-time, pregnant, and new mothers on Facebook.
      2020VaccinationSelf-directed health decision making
      Bryan et al
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      2020Rare childhood conditions & special needsPostdiagnosis information
      Clapton-Caputo et al
      • Clapton-Caputo E
      • Sweet L
      • Muller A
      A qualitative study of expectations and experiences of women using a social media support group when exclusively expressing breastmilk to feed their infant.
      2020BreastfeedingSelf-directed health care
      Lebron et al
      • Lebron CN
      • St. George SM
      • Eckembrecher DG
      • et al.
      “Am I doing this wrong?” Breastfeeding mothers’ use of an online forum.
      2020BreastfeedingSelf-management- support seeking
      Raspa et al
      • Raspa M
      • Lynch M
      • Squiers L
      • et al.
      Information and emotional support needs of families whose infant was diagnosed with SCID through newborn screening.
      2020Severe Combined Immune DisorderPostdiagnosis information seeking
      Thorpe et al
      • Thorpe M
      • Taylor J
      • Cole R
      Parents’ use of information accessed through social media to make immunisation decisions for their young children.
      2020VaccinationSelf-directed health decision making
      Wang & Lund
      • Wang T
      • Lund B
      Categories of information need expressed by parents of individuals with rare genetic disorders in a Facebook community group: a case study with implications for information professionals.
      2020Costello SyndromePostdiagnosis information and support
      Deas et al
      • Deas J
      • Bean SJ
      • Sokolovska I
      • et al.
      Childhood vaccine attitudes and information sources among Oregon parents and guardians.
      2019VaccinationSelf-directed health decision making
      Gage Bouchard et al
      • Gage-Bouchard EA
      • LaValley S
      • Devonish JA
      Deciphering the signal from the noise: Caregivers’ information appraisal and credibility assessment of cancer-related information exchanged on social networking sites.
      2019Childhood cancerPost diagnosis caregiving information
      Garcia et al
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      2019Complementary feedingSelf-directed health care
      Gorman et al
      • Gorman DR
      • Bielecki K
      • Willocks LJ
      • et al.
      A qualitative study of vaccination behaviour amongst female Polish migrants in Edinburgh, Scotland.
      2019VaccinationSelf-directed health decision making
      Hwang & Shah
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      2019VaccinationSelf-directed health decision making
      Kulhas-Celik et al
      • Kulhas Celik I
      • Buyuktiryaki B
      • Civelek E
      • et al.
      Internet use habits of parents with children suffering from food allergy.
      2019Food allergyPre-consultation self-triage
      Moon et al
      • Moon RY
      • Mathews A
      • Oden R
      • et al.
      Mothers’ perceptions of the internet and social media as sources of parenting and health information: Qualitative study.
      2019General information
      Pretorius et al
      • Pretorius K
      • Johnson KE
      • Rew L
      An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health.
      2019General information
      Zhao et al
      • Zhao Y
      • Zhang J
      • Wu M
      Finding users’ voice on social media: an investigation of online support groups for autism-affected users on Facebook.
      2019Autism Spectrum DisorderPostdiagnosis information and support
      Baker & Yang
      • Baker B
      • Yang I
      Social media as social support in pregnancy and the postpartum.
      2018General information
      Lee
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      2018General information
      Price et al
      • Price SL
      • Aston M
      • Monaghan J
      • et al.
      Maternal knowing and social networks: understanding first-time mothers’ search for information and support through online and offline social networks.
      2018General information
      Rehman et al
      • Rehman S
      • Lyons K
      • McEwen R
      • et al.
      Motives for sharing illness experiences on Twitter: conversations of parents with children diagnosed with cancer.
      2018Childhood cancerPostdiagnosis support and health promotion
      Gibson et al
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      2017AutismPostdiagnosis information and support
      Nicholl et al
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      2017Rare childhood conditionsPostdiagnosis information and support
      Kim et al
      • Kim HN
      • Wyatt TH
      • Li X
      • et al.
      Use of social media by fathers of premature infants.
      2016Premature child in Neonatal Intensive Care UnitPostdiagnosis information and support
      Lupton
      • Lupton D
      The use and value of digital media for information about pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.
      2016General information
      Al-Daihani & Al-Ateeqi
      • Al-Daihani SM
      • Al-Ateeqi HI
      Parents of children with disabilities in Kuwait: a study of their information seeking behaviour.
      2015General childhood disabilitiesPostdiagnosis information
      Criss et al
      • Criss S
      • Woo Baidal JA
      • Goldman RE
      • et al.
      The role of health information sources in decision-making among Hispanic mothers during their children's first 1000 days of life.
      2015General information
      Holtz et al
      • Holtz B
      • Smock A
      • Reyes-Gastelum D
      Connected motherhood: social support for moms and moms-to-be on Facebook.
      2015VaccinationSelf-directed health decision making
      Mohd Roffeei et al
      • Mohd Roffeei SH
      • Abdullah N
      • Basar SKR
      Seeking social support on Facebook for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
      2015Autism Spectrum DisorderPostdiagnosis information and support
      Appleton et al
      • Appleton J
      • Fowler C
      • Brown N
      Friend or foe? An exploratory study of Australian parents’ use of asynchronous discussion boards in childhood obesity.
      2014Childhood obesityPostdiagnosis information and support
      Naftel et al
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      2013HydrocephalusPostdiagnosis information and support
      Cowie et al
      • Cowie GA
      • Hill S
      • Robinson P
      Using an online service for breastfeeding support: what mothers want to discuss.
      2011BreastfeedingSelf-directed health care

      Results

      Study Characteristics

      A total of 42 papers met the inclusion criteria (Fig. 1). The publication dates spanned from 2011 to 2020 (Fig. 2). Included studies used methodologies such as quantitative (n = 15),
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      ,
      • Adekunle AA
      • James O
      • Adeyemo WL
      Health information seeking through social media and search engines by parents of children with orofacial cleft in Nigeria.
      • Bamashmous N
      • Cunningham SJ
      • Parekh S
      Information seeking behaviour of dental trauma patients and their parents.
      • Kim SC
      • Hawkins KH
      The psychology of social media communication in influencing prevention intentions during the 2019 U.S. measles outbreak.
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      • Kulhas Celik I
      • Buyuktiryaki B
      • Civelek E
      • et al.
      Internet use habits of parents with children suffering from food allergy.
      • Peterlein CD
      • Bosch M
      • Timmesfeld N
      • et al.
      Parental internet search in the field of pediatric orthopedics.
      • Baker B
      • Yang I
      Social media as social support in pregnancy and the postpartum.
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      • Walker LO
      • Mackert MS
      • Ahn J
      • et al.
      e-Health and new moms: contextual factors associated with sources of health information.
      • Sharpe K
      • Di Pietro N
      • Jacob KJ
      • et al.
      A dichotomy of information-seeking and information-trusting: stem cell interventions and children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
      • Al-Daihani SM
      • Al-Ateeqi HI
      Parents of children with disabilities in Kuwait: a study of their information seeking behaviour.
      • Holtz B
      • Smock A
      • Reyes-Gastelum D
      Connected motherhood: social support for moms and moms-to-be on Facebook.
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      • Zhao Y
      • Zhang J
      • Wu M
      Finding users’ voice on social media: an investigation of online support groups for autism-affected users on Facebook.
      qualitative (n = 22),
      • Price SL
      • Aston M
      • Monaghan J
      • et al.
      Maternal knowing and social networks: understanding first-time mothers’ search for information and support through online and offline social networks.
      ,
      • Gage-Bouchard EA
      • LaValley S
      • Devonish JA
      Deciphering the signal from the noise: Caregivers’ information appraisal and credibility assessment of cancer-related information exchanged on social networking sites.
      • Orr D
      • Baram-Tsabari A
      • Landsman K
      Social media as a platform for health-related public debates and discussions: the Polio vaccine on Facebook.
      • Bradshaw AS
      • Shelton SS
      • Wollney E
      • et al.
      Pro-vaxxers get out: anti-vaccination advocates influence undecided first-time, pregnant, and new mothers on Facebook.
      • Clapton-Caputo E
      • Sweet L
      • Muller A
      A qualitative study of expectations and experiences of women using a social media support group when exclusively expressing breastmilk to feed their infant.
      • Jenkins MC
      • Moreno MA
      Vaccination discussion among parents on social media: a content analysis of comments on parenting blogs.
      • Lebron CN
      • St. George SM
      • Eckembrecher DG
      • et al.
      “Am I doing this wrong?” Breastfeeding mothers’ use of an online forum.
      • Pretorius K
      • Choi E
      • Kang S
      • et al.
      Sudden infant death syndrome on Facebook: qualitative descriptive content analysis to guide prevention efforts.
      • Thorpe M
      • Taylor J
      • Cole R
      Parents’ use of information accessed through social media to make immunisation decisions for their young children.
      • Wang T
      • Lund B
      Categories of information need expressed by parents of individuals with rare genetic disorders in a Facebook community group: a case study with implications for information professionals.
      • Castro AR
      • Chougui K
      • Bilodeau C
      • et al.
      Exploring the views of osteogenesis imperfecta caregivers on internet-based technologies: qualitative descriptive study.
      • Deas J
      • Bean SJ
      • Sokolovska I
      • et al.
      Childhood vaccine attitudes and information sources among Oregon parents and guardians.
      • Gorman DR
      • Bielecki K
      • Willocks LJ
      • et al.
      A qualitative study of vaccination behaviour amongst female Polish migrants in Edinburgh, Scotland.
      • Koskan AM
      • Dominick LN
      • Helitzer DL
      Rural caregivers’ willingness for community pharmacists to administer the HPV vaccine to their age-eligible children.
      • Moon RY
      • Mathews A
      • Oden R
      • et al.
      Mothers’ perceptions of the internet and social media as sources of parenting and health information: Qualitative study.
      • Rehman S
      • Lyons K
      • McEwen R
      • et al.
      Motives for sharing illness experiences on Twitter: conversations of parents with children diagnosed with cancer.
      • Kim HN
      • Wyatt TH
      • Li X
      • et al.
      Use of social media by fathers of premature infants.
      • Lupton D
      The use and value of digital media for information about pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.
      • Criss S
      • Woo Baidal JA
      • Goldman RE
      • et al.
      The role of health information sources in decision-making among Hispanic mothers during their children's first 1000 days of life.
      • Mohd Roffeei SH
      • Abdullah N
      • Basar SKR
      Seeking social support on Facebook for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
      • Appleton J
      • Fowler C
      • Brown N
      Friend or foe? An exploratory study of Australian parents’ use of asynchronous discussion boards in childhood obesity.
      • Cowie GA
      • Hill S
      • Robinson P
      Using an online service for breastfeeding support: what mothers want to discuss.
      and mixed methodology (n = 4)
      • Raspa M
      • Lynch M
      • Squiers L
      • et al.
      Information and emotional support needs of families whose infant was diagnosed with SCID through newborn screening.
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      or review (n = 1).
      • Pretorius K
      • Johnson KE
      • Rew L
      An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health.
      The majority of studies were conducted in the United States (US) (n = 23),
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      ,
      • Kim SC
      • Hawkins KH
      The psychology of social media communication in influencing prevention intentions during the 2019 U.S. measles outbreak.
      ,
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      ,
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      ,
      • Walker LO
      • Mackert MS
      • Ahn J
      • et al.
      e-Health and new moms: contextual factors associated with sources of health information.
      ,
      • Holtz B
      • Smock A
      • Reyes-Gastelum D
      Connected motherhood: social support for moms and moms-to-be on Facebook.
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      • Zhao Y
      • Zhang J
      • Wu M
      Finding users’ voice on social media: an investigation of online support groups for autism-affected users on Facebook.
      • Gage-Bouchard EA
      • LaValley S
      • Devonish JA
      Deciphering the signal from the noise: Caregivers’ information appraisal and credibility assessment of cancer-related information exchanged on social networking sites.
      ,
      • Bradshaw AS
      • Shelton SS
      • Wollney E
      • et al.
      Pro-vaxxers get out: anti-vaccination advocates influence undecided first-time, pregnant, and new mothers on Facebook.
      ,
      • Jenkins MC
      • Moreno MA
      Vaccination discussion among parents on social media: a content analysis of comments on parenting blogs.
      • Lebron CN
      • St. George SM
      • Eckembrecher DG
      • et al.
      “Am I doing this wrong?” Breastfeeding mothers’ use of an online forum.
      • Pretorius K
      • Choi E
      • Kang S
      • et al.
      Sudden infant death syndrome on Facebook: qualitative descriptive content analysis to guide prevention efforts.
      ,
      • Wang T
      • Lund B
      Categories of information need expressed by parents of individuals with rare genetic disorders in a Facebook community group: a case study with implications for information professionals.
      ,
      • Deas J
      • Bean SJ
      • Sokolovska I
      • et al.
      Childhood vaccine attitudes and information sources among Oregon parents and guardians.
      ,
      • Koskan AM
      • Dominick LN
      • Helitzer DL
      Rural caregivers’ willingness for community pharmacists to administer the HPV vaccine to their age-eligible children.
      ,
      • Moon RY
      • Mathews A
      • Oden R
      • et al.
      Mothers’ perceptions of the internet and social media as sources of parenting and health information: Qualitative study.
      ,
      • Kim HN
      • Wyatt TH
      • Li X
      • et al.
      Use of social media by fathers of premature infants.
      ,
      • Criss S
      • Woo Baidal JA
      • Goldman RE
      • et al.
      The role of health information sources in decision-making among Hispanic mothers during their children's first 1000 days of life.
      ,
      • Mohd Roffeei SH
      • Abdullah N
      • Basar SKR
      Seeking social support on Facebook for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
      ,
      • Raspa M
      • Lynch M
      • Squiers L
      • et al.
      Information and emotional support needs of families whose infant was diagnosed with SCID through newborn screening.
      ,
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      ,
      • Pretorius K
      • Johnson KE
      • Rew L
      An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health.
      followed by Australia (n = 6),
      • Baker B
      • Yang I
      Social media as social support in pregnancy and the postpartum.
      ,
      • Clapton-Caputo E
      • Sweet L
      • Muller A
      A qualitative study of expectations and experiences of women using a social media support group when exclusively expressing breastmilk to feed their infant.
      ,
      • Thorpe M
      • Taylor J
      • Cole R
      Parents’ use of information accessed through social media to make immunisation decisions for their young children.
      ,
      • Lupton D
      The use and value of digital media for information about pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.
      ,
      • Appleton J
      • Fowler C
      • Brown N
      Friend or foe? An exploratory study of Australian parents’ use of asynchronous discussion boards in childhood obesity.
      ,
      • Cowie GA
      • Hill S
      • Robinson P
      Using an online service for breastfeeding support: what mothers want to discuss.
      Canada (n = 4)
      • Price SL
      • Aston M
      • Monaghan J
      • et al.
      Maternal knowing and social networks: understanding first-time mothers’ search for information and support through online and offline social networks.
      ,
      • Sharpe K
      • Di Pietro N
      • Jacob KJ
      • et al.
      A dichotomy of information-seeking and information-trusting: stem cell interventions and children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
      ,
      • Castro AR
      • Chougui K
      • Bilodeau C
      • et al.
      Exploring the views of osteogenesis imperfecta caregivers on internet-based technologies: qualitative descriptive study.
      ,
      • Rehman S
      • Lyons K
      • McEwen R
      • et al.
      Motives for sharing illness experiences on Twitter: conversations of parents with children diagnosed with cancer.
      and UK (n = 2).
      • Bamashmous N
      • Cunningham SJ
      • Parekh S
      Information seeking behaviour of dental trauma patients and their parents.
      ,
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      Germany,
      • Peterlein CD
      • Bosch M
      • Timmesfeld N
      • et al.
      Parental internet search in the field of pediatric orthopedics.
      Ireland,
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      Israel,
      • Orr D
      • Baram-Tsabari A
      • Landsman K
      Social media as a platform for health-related public debates and discussions: the Polio vaccine on Facebook.
      Kuwait,
      • Al-Daihani SM
      • Al-Ateeqi HI
      Parents of children with disabilities in Kuwait: a study of their information seeking behaviour.
      Nigeria,
      • Adekunle AA
      • James O
      • Adeyemo WL
      Health information seeking through social media and search engines by parents of children with orofacial cleft in Nigeria.
      Turkey,
      • Kulhas Celik I
      • Buyuktiryaki B
      • Civelek E
      • et al.
      Internet use habits of parents with children suffering from food allergy.
      and Scotland
      • Gorman DR
      • Bielecki K
      • Willocks LJ
      • et al.
      A qualitative study of vaccination behaviour amongst female Polish migrants in Edinburgh, Scotland.
      each accounted for one study. Seven studies included only mothers,
      • Price SL
      • Aston M
      • Monaghan J
      • et al.
      Maternal knowing and social networks: understanding first-time mothers’ search for information and support through online and offline social networks.
      ,
      • Holtz B
      • Smock A
      • Reyes-Gastelum D
      Connected motherhood: social support for moms and moms-to-be on Facebook.
      ,
      • Lebron CN
      • St. George SM
      • Eckembrecher DG
      • et al.
      “Am I doing this wrong?” Breastfeeding mothers’ use of an online forum.
      ,
      • Gorman DR
      • Bielecki K
      • Willocks LJ
      • et al.
      A qualitative study of vaccination behaviour amongst female Polish migrants in Edinburgh, Scotland.
      • Koskan AM
      • Dominick LN
      • Helitzer DL
      Rural caregivers’ willingness for community pharmacists to administer the HPV vaccine to their age-eligible children.
      • Moon RY
      • Mathews A
      • Oden R
      • et al.
      Mothers’ perceptions of the internet and social media as sources of parenting and health information: Qualitative study.
      ,
      • Lupton D
      The use and value of digital media for information about pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.
      one study included only fathers
      • Kim HN
      • Wyatt TH
      • Li X
      • et al.
      Use of social media by fathers of premature infants.
      and 19 included both parents and/or caregivers.
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      ,
      • Adekunle AA
      • James O
      • Adeyemo WL
      Health information seeking through social media and search engines by parents of children with orofacial cleft in Nigeria.
      ,
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      ,
      • Peterlein CD
      • Bosch M
      • Timmesfeld N
      • et al.
      Parental internet search in the field of pediatric orthopedics.
      ,
      • Sharpe K
      • Di Pietro N
      • Jacob KJ
      • et al.
      A dichotomy of information-seeking and information-trusting: stem cell interventions and children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
      ,
      • Al-Daihani SM
      • Al-Ateeqi HI
      Parents of children with disabilities in Kuwait: a study of their information seeking behaviour.
      ,
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      ,
      • Gage-Bouchard EA
      • LaValley S
      • Devonish JA
      Deciphering the signal from the noise: Caregivers’ information appraisal and credibility assessment of cancer-related information exchanged on social networking sites.
      ,
      • Orr D
      • Baram-Tsabari A
      • Landsman K
      Social media as a platform for health-related public debates and discussions: the Polio vaccine on Facebook.
      ,
      • Thorpe M
      • Taylor J
      • Cole R
      Parents’ use of information accessed through social media to make immunisation decisions for their young children.
      ,
      • Castro AR
      • Chougui K
      • Bilodeau C
      • et al.
      Exploring the views of osteogenesis imperfecta caregivers on internet-based technologies: qualitative descriptive study.
      ,
      • Deas J
      • Bean SJ
      • Sokolovska I
      • et al.
      Childhood vaccine attitudes and information sources among Oregon parents and guardians.
      ,
      • Rehman S
      • Lyons K
      • McEwen R
      • et al.
      Motives for sharing illness experiences on Twitter: conversations of parents with children diagnosed with cancer.
      ,
      • Mohd Roffeei SH
      • Abdullah N
      • Basar SKR
      Seeking social support on Facebook for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
      ,
      • Appleton J
      • Fowler C
      • Brown N
      Friend or foe? An exploratory study of Australian parents’ use of asynchronous discussion boards in childhood obesity.
      ,
      • Raspa M
      • Lynch M
      • Squiers L
      • et al.
      Information and emotional support needs of families whose infant was diagnosed with SCID through newborn screening.
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      Table 1 provides an overview of the characteristics of the included studies.
      Figure 2
      Figure 2Number per year of scholarly papers featuring parents’ use of social media for pediatric health information. * Jan – August 2020 only.
      A total of 10,198 participants are represented in this review, as well as 919 posts, 12,496 comments, and 17 Twitter accounts with 1700 tweets. Study sample sizes varied from 10 to 4174 participants. Papers included in this review spanned from 2011 to 2020 (Fig. 2). In asking what are the patterns of parental use of social media to find health information for their children are, our review discovered the majority of quantitative studies of large social media platforms found that parents made extensive use of Facebook (10%–100%)
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      ,
      • Adekunle AA
      • James O
      • Adeyemo WL
      Health information seeking through social media and search engines by parents of children with orofacial cleft in Nigeria.
      • Bamashmous N
      • Cunningham SJ
      • Parekh S
      Information seeking behaviour of dental trauma patients and their parents.
      • Kim SC
      • Hawkins KH
      The psychology of social media communication in influencing prevention intentions during the 2019 U.S. measles outbreak.
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      • Kulhas Celik I
      • Buyuktiryaki B
      • Civelek E
      • et al.
      Internet use habits of parents with children suffering from food allergy.
      • Peterlein CD
      • Bosch M
      • Timmesfeld N
      • et al.
      Parental internet search in the field of pediatric orthopedics.
      • Baker B
      • Yang I
      Social media as social support in pregnancy and the postpartum.
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      • Walker LO
      • Mackert MS
      • Ahn J
      • et al.
      e-Health and new moms: contextual factors associated with sources of health information.
      • Sharpe K
      • Di Pietro N
      • Jacob KJ
      • et al.
      A dichotomy of information-seeking and information-trusting: stem cell interventions and children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
      ,
      • Holtz B
      • Smock A
      • Reyes-Gastelum D
      Connected motherhood: social support for moms and moms-to-be on Facebook.
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      • Zhao Y
      • Zhang J
      • Wu M
      Finding users’ voice on social media: an investigation of online support groups for autism-affected users on Facebook.
      ,
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      • Pretorius K
      • Johnson KE
      • Rew L
      An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health.
      to access health information. Parents also commonly used Twitter (0.8%–42.9%),
      • Adekunle AA
      • James O
      • Adeyemo WL
      Health information seeking through social media and search engines by parents of children with orofacial cleft in Nigeria.
      ,
      • Kim SC
      • Hawkins KH
      The psychology of social media communication in influencing prevention intentions during the 2019 U.S. measles outbreak.
      ,
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      ,
      • Peterlein CD
      • Bosch M
      • Timmesfeld N
      • et al.
      Parental internet search in the field of pediatric orthopedics.
      ,
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      ,
      • Sharpe K
      • Di Pietro N
      • Jacob KJ
      • et al.
      A dichotomy of information-seeking and information-trusting: stem cell interventions and children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
      ,
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      ,
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      Wikipedia (8.2%–18%),
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      ,
      • Bamashmous N
      • Cunningham SJ
      • Parekh S
      Information seeking behaviour of dental trauma patients and their parents.
      ,
      • Peterlein CD
      • Bosch M
      • Timmesfeld N
      • et al.
      Parental internet search in the field of pediatric orthopedics.
      ,
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      and YouTube (14%–16.3%)
      • Peterlein CD
      • Bosch M
      • Timmesfeld N
      • et al.
      Parental internet search in the field of pediatric orthopedics.
      ,
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      ,
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      ,
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      ,
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      ,
      • Pretorius K
      • Johnson KE
      • Rew L
      An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health.
      (Fig. 3). Two studies reported discussion forum use (13.1%–16%), including German medical forums
      • Peterlein CD
      • Bosch M
      • Timmesfeld N
      • et al.
      Parental internet search in the field of pediatric orthopedics.
      and dental forums.
      • Bamashmous N
      • Cunningham SJ
      • Parekh S
      Information seeking behaviour of dental trauma patients and their parents.
      Figure 3
      Figure 3Platforms represented in quantitative studies of parents' health information seeking (2013–2020)1,21–
      • Sharpe K
      • Di Pietro N
      • Jacob KJ
      • et al.
      A dichotomy of information-seeking and information-trusting: stem cell interventions and children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
      ,
      • Holtz B
      • Smock A
      • Reyes-Gastelum D
      Connected motherhood: social support for moms and moms-to-be on Facebook.
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      • Zhao Y
      • Zhang J
      • Wu M
      Finding users’ voice on social media: an investigation of online support groups for autism-affected users on Facebook.
      ,
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      • Pretorius K
      • Johnson KE
      • Rew L
      An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health.
      . *Jan-August 2020 only.
      Facebook is the preferred platform for parents seeking pediatric health information, dominating other platforms from 2017, and featured twice as often as other platforms
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      • Kulhas Celik I
      • Buyuktiryaki B
      • Civelek E
      • et al.
      Internet use habits of parents with children suffering from food allergy.
      • Peterlein CD
      • Bosch M
      • Timmesfeld N
      • et al.
      Parental internet search in the field of pediatric orthopedics.
      ,
      • Zhao Y
      • Zhang J
      • Wu M
      Finding users’ voice on social media: an investigation of online support groups for autism-affected users on Facebook.
      ,
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      ,
      • Pretorius K
      • Johnson KE
      • Rew L
      An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health.
      in 2019 (Fig. 3). Facebook groups catering to parents with children with specific health concerns (e.g. Costello Syndrome, Hydrocephalus) were commonly reported, as well as geographically specified groups (e.g. an Autism Spectrum Facebook group in Malaysia).
      • Price SL
      • Aston M
      • Monaghan J
      • et al.
      Maternal knowing and social networks: understanding first-time mothers’ search for information and support through online and offline social networks.
      ,
      • Kulhas Celik I
      • Buyuktiryaki B
      • Civelek E
      • et al.
      Internet use habits of parents with children suffering from food allergy.
      ,
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      ,
      • Holtz B
      • Smock A
      • Reyes-Gastelum D
      Connected motherhood: social support for moms and moms-to-be on Facebook.
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      • Zhao Y
      • Zhang J
      • Wu M
      Finding users’ voice on social media: an investigation of online support groups for autism-affected users on Facebook.
      ,
      • Bradshaw AS
      • Shelton SS
      • Wollney E
      • et al.
      Pro-vaxxers get out: anti-vaccination advocates influence undecided first-time, pregnant, and new mothers on Facebook.
      ,
      • Clapton-Caputo E
      • Sweet L
      • Muller A
      A qualitative study of expectations and experiences of women using a social media support group when exclusively expressing breastmilk to feed their infant.
      ,
      • Pretorius K
      • Choi E
      • Kang S
      • et al.
      Sudden infant death syndrome on Facebook: qualitative descriptive content analysis to guide prevention efforts.
      ,
      • Wang T
      • Lund B
      Categories of information need expressed by parents of individuals with rare genetic disorders in a Facebook community group: a case study with implications for information professionals.
      ,
      • Moon RY
      • Mathews A
      • Oden R
      • et al.
      Mothers’ perceptions of the internet and social media as sources of parenting and health information: Qualitative study.
      ,
      • Lupton D
      The use and value of digital media for information about pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.
      ,
      • Mohd Roffeei SH
      • Abdullah N
      • Basar SKR
      Seeking social support on Facebook for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
      ,
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      ,
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      These Facebook groups were shown to be the most frequent facilitator of parents' engagement with social media for health information. Some parents were also part of closed Facebook groups (where parents apply to the group's administration to join, and engagement is inaccessible to non-members).
      • Price SL
      • Aston M
      • Monaghan J
      • et al.
      Maternal knowing and social networks: understanding first-time mothers’ search for information and support through online and offline social networks.
      ,
      • Bradshaw AS
      • Shelton SS
      • Wollney E
      • et al.
      Pro-vaxxers get out: anti-vaccination advocates influence undecided first-time, pregnant, and new mothers on Facebook.
      ,
      • Lupton D
      The use and value of digital media for information about pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.
      ,
      • Mohd Roffeei SH
      • Abdullah N
      • Basar SKR
      Seeking social support on Facebook for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).

      Characteristics of Parents who use Social Media for Health Information

      Across the nine studies reporting parents’ highest qualification, between 6.3% and 52.4% of parents had completed high school or equivalent,
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      ,
      • Kim SC
      • Hawkins KH
      The psychology of social media communication in influencing prevention intentions during the 2019 U.S. measles outbreak.
      ,
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      ,
      • Peterlein CD
      • Bosch M
      • Timmesfeld N
      • et al.
      Parental internet search in the field of pediatric orthopedics.
      ,
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      ,
      • Walker LO
      • Mackert MS
      • Ahn J
      • et al.
      e-Health and new moms: contextual factors associated with sources of health information.
      ,
      • Al-Daihani SM
      • Al-Ateeqi HI
      Parents of children with disabilities in Kuwait: a study of their information seeking behaviour.
      • Holtz B
      • Smock A
      • Reyes-Gastelum D
      Connected motherhood: social support for moms and moms-to-be on Facebook.
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      ,
      • Gage-Bouchard EA
      • LaValley S
      • Devonish JA
      Deciphering the signal from the noise: Caregivers’ information appraisal and credibility assessment of cancer-related information exchanged on social networking sites.
      ,
      • Castro AR
      • Chougui K
      • Bilodeau C
      • et al.
      Exploring the views of osteogenesis imperfecta caregivers on internet-based technologies: qualitative descriptive study.
      ,
      • Gorman DR
      • Bielecki K
      • Willocks LJ
      • et al.
      A qualitative study of vaccination behaviour amongst female Polish migrants in Edinburgh, Scotland.
      • Koskan AM
      • Dominick LN
      • Helitzer DL
      Rural caregivers’ willingness for community pharmacists to administer the HPV vaccine to their age-eligible children.
      • Moon RY
      • Mathews A
      • Oden R
      • et al.
      Mothers’ perceptions of the internet and social media as sources of parenting and health information: Qualitative study.
      ,
      • Raspa M
      • Lynch M
      • Squiers L
      • et al.
      Information and emotional support needs of families whose infant was diagnosed with SCID through newborn screening.
      ,
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      ,
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      while 14.2% to 78.2% had a bachelor's degree qualification.
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      ,
      • Kim SC
      • Hawkins KH
      The psychology of social media communication in influencing prevention intentions during the 2019 U.S. measles outbreak.
      ,
      • Kulhas Celik I
      • Buyuktiryaki B
      • Civelek E
      • et al.
      Internet use habits of parents with children suffering from food allergy.
      ,
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      ,
      • Al-Daihani SM
      • Al-Ateeqi HI
      Parents of children with disabilities in Kuwait: a study of their information seeking behaviour.
      • Holtz B
      • Smock A
      • Reyes-Gastelum D
      Connected motherhood: social support for moms and moms-to-be on Facebook.
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      ,
      • Gage-Bouchard EA
      • LaValley S
      • Devonish JA
      Deciphering the signal from the noise: Caregivers’ information appraisal and credibility assessment of cancer-related information exchanged on social networking sites.
      ,
      • Thorpe M
      • Taylor J
      • Cole R
      Parents’ use of information accessed through social media to make immunisation decisions for their young children.
      ,
      • Castro AR
      • Chougui K
      • Bilodeau C
      • et al.
      Exploring the views of osteogenesis imperfecta caregivers on internet-based technologies: qualitative descriptive study.
      ,
      • Moon RY
      • Mathews A
      • Oden R
      • et al.
      Mothers’ perceptions of the internet and social media as sources of parenting and health information: Qualitative study.
      ,
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      ,
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      A later study
      • Raspa M
      • Lynch M
      • Squiers L
      • et al.
      Information and emotional support needs of families whose infant was diagnosed with SCID through newborn screening.
      found higher educational attainment was associated with the use of social media for information, whereas studies before 2018 found a preference for social media information among parents with lower educational attainment.
      • Walker LO
      • Mackert MS
      • Ahn J
      • et al.
      e-Health and new moms: contextual factors associated with sources of health information.
      ,
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      ,
      • Pretorius K
      • Johnson KE
      • Rew L
      An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health.
      A 2020 US study of informational and emotional needs of parents of newborns with Severe Combined Immune Deficiency found parents with higher levels of education were more likely to prefer social media as a source of health information (P = .025) than those with nontertiary qualifications.
      • Raspa M
      • Lynch M
      • Squiers L
      • et al.
      Information and emotional support needs of families whose infant was diagnosed with SCID through newborn screening.
      This is in direct contrast to a 2013 study that found parents who completed their education before or at the end of high school had a significant preference toward social media platforms for information in comparison to parents with tertiary qualifications (P = .017).
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      Mothers with lower educational qualifications were found to use YouTube as a source of health information concerning baby care or being a new mother (P < .01).
      • Walker LO
      • Mackert MS
      • Ahn J
      • et al.
      e-Health and new moms: contextual factors associated with sources of health information.
      Income
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      ,
      • Kim SC
      • Hawkins KH
      The psychology of social media communication in influencing prevention intentions during the 2019 U.S. measles outbreak.
      ,
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      ,
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      • Walker LO
      • Mackert MS
      • Ahn J
      • et al.
      e-Health and new moms: contextual factors associated with sources of health information.
      • Sharpe K
      • Di Pietro N
      • Jacob KJ
      • et al.
      A dichotomy of information-seeking and information-trusting: stem cell interventions and children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
      ,
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      ,
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      ,
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      or employment status
      • Al-Daihani SM
      • Al-Ateeqi HI
      Parents of children with disabilities in Kuwait: a study of their information seeking behaviour.
      was included as a descriptive statistic across 10 quantitative studies. Two US studies used income as a variable. A 2013 study exploring the technology preferences of caregivers of children with hydrocephalus found a preference for social media for health information was associated with living above the poverty line (P = 0.04), being non-Anglo-Europeans (P = .004), having a lower income (P = .004) and having a government (income assessed) insurance policy (P = .005).
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      A 2018 study of US mothers and immigrant Korean mothers to the United States did not find income to be of significance when determining whether parents chose to use social media for health information or not.
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.

      Parents' Motivations for Using Social Media as a Health Information Source

      Parents’ motivations for using social media as a health information source were reported in 33 studies. Motivations included seeking or giving information,
      • Lee K
      • Hoti K
      • Hughes JD
      • et al.
      Dr Google and the consumer: a qualitative study exploring the navigational needs and online health information-seeking behaviors of consumers with chronic health conditions.
      ,
      • Adekunle AA
      • James O
      • Adeyemo WL
      Health information seeking through social media and search engines by parents of children with orofacial cleft in Nigeria.
      • Bamashmous N
      • Cunningham SJ
      • Parekh S
      Information seeking behaviour of dental trauma patients and their parents.
      • Kim SC
      • Hawkins KH
      The psychology of social media communication in influencing prevention intentions during the 2019 U.S. measles outbreak.
      ,
      • Kulhas Celik I
      • Buyuktiryaki B
      • Civelek E
      • et al.
      Internet use habits of parents with children suffering from food allergy.
      ,
      • Baker B
      • Yang I
      Social media as social support in pregnancy and the postpartum.
      ,
      • Lee HS
      A comparative study on the health information needs, seeking and source preferences among mothers of young healthy children: American mothers compared to recent immigrant Korean mothers.
      ,
      • Al-Daihani SM
      • Al-Ateeqi HI
      Parents of children with disabilities in Kuwait: a study of their information seeking behaviour.
      • Holtz B
      • Smock A
      • Reyes-Gastelum D
      Connected motherhood: social support for moms and moms-to-be on Facebook.
      • Naftel RP
      • Safiano NA
      • Falola MI
      • et al.
      Technology preferences among caregivers of children with hydrocephalus: clinical article.
      • Zhao Y
      • Zhang J
      • Wu M
      Finding users’ voice on social media: an investigation of online support groups for autism-affected users on Facebook.
      • Gage-Bouchard EA
      • LaValley S
      • Devonish JA
      Deciphering the signal from the noise: Caregivers’ information appraisal and credibility assessment of cancer-related information exchanged on social networking sites.
      ,
      • Bradshaw AS
      • Shelton SS
      • Wollney E
      • et al.
      Pro-vaxxers get out: anti-vaccination advocates influence undecided first-time, pregnant, and new mothers on Facebook.
      ,
      • Clapton-Caputo E
      • Sweet L
      • Muller A
      A qualitative study of expectations and experiences of women using a social media support group when exclusively expressing breastmilk to feed their infant.
      ,
      • Lebron CN
      • St. George SM
      • Eckembrecher DG
      • et al.
      “Am I doing this wrong?” Breastfeeding mothers’ use of an online forum.
      ,
      • Wang T
      • Lund B
      Categories of information need expressed by parents of individuals with rare genetic disorders in a Facebook community group: a case study with implications for information professionals.
      ,
      • Deas J
      • Bean SJ
      • Sokolovska I
      • et al.
      Childhood vaccine attitudes and information sources among Oregon parents and guardians.
      ,
      • Gorman DR
      • Bielecki K
      • Willocks LJ
      • et al.
      A qualitative study of vaccination behaviour amongst female Polish migrants in Edinburgh, Scotland.
      ,
      • Kim HN
      • Wyatt TH
      • Li X
      • et al.
      Use of social media by fathers of premature infants.
      • Lupton D
      The use and value of digital media for information about pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.
      • Criss S
      • Woo Baidal JA
      • Goldman RE
      • et al.
      The role of health information sources in decision-making among Hispanic mothers during their children's first 1000 days of life.
      ,
      • Appleton J
      • Fowler C
      • Brown N
      Friend or foe? An exploratory study of Australian parents’ use of asynchronous discussion boards in childhood obesity.
      ,
      • Raspa M
      • Lynch M
      • Squiers L
      • et al.
      Information and emotional support needs of families whose infant was diagnosed with SCID through newborn screening.
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      • Nicholl H
      • Tracey C
      • Begley T
      • et al.
      Internet use by parents of children with rare conditions: findings from a study on parents’ web information needs.
      • Pretorius K
      • Johnson KE
      • Rew L
      An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health.
      seeking or giving support,
      • Bryan MA
      • Evans Y
      • Morishita C
      • et al.
      Parental perceptions of the internet and social media as a source of pediatric health information.
      ,
      • Baker B
      • Yang I
      Social media as social support in pregnancy and the postpartum.
      ,
      • Gage-Bouchard EA
      • LaValley S
      • Devonish JA
      Deciphering the signal from the noise: Caregivers’ information appraisal and credibility assessment of cancer-related information exchanged on social networking sites.
      ,
      • Clapton-Caputo E
      • Sweet L
      • Muller A
      A qualitative study of expectations and experiences of women using a social media support group when exclusively expressing breastmilk to feed their infant.
      ,
      • Lebron CN
      • St. George SM
      • Eckembrecher DG
      • et al.
      “Am I doing this wrong?” Breastfeeding mothers’ use of an online forum.
      ,
      • Rehman S
      • Lyons K
      • McEwen R
      • et al.
      Motives for sharing illness experiences on Twitter: conversations of parents with children diagnosed with cancer.
      ,
      • Kim HN
      • Wyatt TH
      • Li X
      • et al.
      Use of social media by fathers of premature infants.
      ,
      • Mohd Roffeei SH
      • Abdullah N
      • Basar SKR
      Seeking social support on Facebook for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
      • Appleton J
      • Fowler C
      • Brown N
      Friend or foe? An exploratory study of Australian parents’ use of asynchronous discussion boards in childhood obesity.
      • Cowie GA
      • Hill S
      • Robinson P
      Using an online service for breastfeeding support: what mothers want to discuss.
      • Raspa M
      • Lynch M
      • Squiers L
      • et al.
      Information and emotional support needs of families whose infant was diagnosed with SCID through newborn screening.
      ,
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      ,
      • Pretorius K
      • Johnson KE
      • Rew L
      An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health.
      seeking or giving advice,
      • Hwang J
      • Shah DV
      Health information sources, perceived vaccination benefits, and maintenance of childhood vaccination schedules.
      ,
      • Clapton-Caputo E
      • Sweet L
      • Muller A
      A qualitative study of expectations and experiences of women using a social media support group when exclusively expressing breastmilk to feed their infant.
      ,
      • Criss S
      • Woo Baidal JA
      • Goldman RE
      • et al.
      The role of health information sources in decision-making among Hispanic mothers during their children's first 1000 days of life.
      ,
      • Appleton J
      • Fowler C
      • Brown N
      Friend or foe? An exploratory study of Australian parents’ use of asynchronous discussion boards in childhood obesity.
      ,
      • Cowie GA
      • Hill S
      • Robinson P
      Using an online service for breastfeeding support: what mothers want to discuss.
      ,
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      ,
      • Gibson AN
      • Kaplan S
      • Vardell E
      A survey of information source preferences of parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
      or seeking validation or reassurance for decisions made.
      • Moon RY
      • Mathews A
      • Oden R
      • et al.
      Mothers’ perceptions of the internet and social media as sources of parenting and health information: Qualitative study.
      ,
      • Lupton D
      The use and value of digital media for information about pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.
      ,
      • Appleton J
      • Fowler C
      • Brown N
      Friend or foe? An exploratory study of Australian parents’ use of asynchronous discussion boards in childhood obesity.
      Giving support was the predominant motivation, with a 2011 content analysis study reporting 96.8% of comments supported other forum members, followed by the giving of information (29.1%), seeking of support (17.1%), and seeking information (7.7%).
      • Cowie GA
      • Hill S
      • Robinson P
      Using an online service for breastfeeding support: what mothers want to discuss.
      Other reasons parents sought health information on social media included immediacy,
      • Price SL
      • Aston M
      • Monaghan J
      • et al.
      Maternal knowing and social networks: understanding first-time mothers’ search for information and support through online and offline social networks.
      ,
      • Lupton D
      The use and value of digital media for information about pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.
      customization and detail of information, and convenience.
      • Lupton D
      The use and value of digital media for information about pregnancy and early motherhood: a focus group study.
      ,
      • Garcia AL
      • Looby S
      • McLean-Guthrie K
      • et al.
      An exploration of complementary feeding practices, information needs and sources.
      Engagement with social media for health information was associated with feelings of social support (P < .001) and empowerment (P < .001) in a study of pregnant women and mothers in the United States.