Online Access by Adolescents in Accra: Ghanaian Teens' Use of the Internet for Health Information

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Abstract

In developed countries, adolescents go online to find information about health; however, little is known about the online practices of youth from developing countries. This study's purpose was to explore and provide current information, drawn from adolescents living in Ghana's capital city of Accra, on the use of the Internet as a health information source. Using a representative sample of in-school adolescents and a convenience sample of out-of-school adolescents, 778 15- to 18-year-olds completed a detailed media and health information survey. Two-thirds (66%) of the in-school youth and approximately half (54%) of the out-of-school youth had previously gone online. Of all these Internet users, 53% had sought online health information, and this percentage did not differ significantly by gender, age, ethnicity, or even school status. Youth reported great interest, high levels of efficacy, and positive perceptions of online health information. Although more research should be conducted, this study offers exciting data on the potential to deliver, via the Internet, health information to youth in developing countries.

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