Statement of purpose Social media (SM) is ubiquitous and offers an opportunity to disseminate reliable and accurate safety recommendations to parents who are frequent social media users, yet little is known about the reach and impact of these messages on safety knowledge and behavior adoption.
Methods/Approach Parents of children (<7 years) were recruited from a nationally representative online survey panel to complete a survey assessing their Internet and SM usage, eHealth literacy level, and to gather their reactions to SM posts on three safety topics (safe sleep, bike safety, and poison prevention). Two social posts contained a photo that did not match recommended safety behaviors in the text (safe sleep and poison prevention), and one post contained a photo that did match with the recommended safety behavior (bike safety). The eHealth Literacy Scale (eHEALS) was used to measure the parent’s eHealth literacy; low eHealth literacy was defined as eHEALS score <26.
Results A total of 580 parents completed the survey. Most were female (58.6%) with high eHealth literacy (84.5%). Low eHealth literate parents used SM more frequently than high eHealth literate parents for safety information (p<.0001). Compared to low eHealth literate parents, a larger proportion of high eHealth literate parents correctly identified the mismatched posts (safe sleep: p=.0081; poison prevention: p=.0052). A larger proportion of high eHealth literate parents correctly identified the matched post for bike safety (p=.7022).
Conclusion Injury professionals can use SM to create and share reliable and accurate injury prevention information to large, global audiences. Using matching imagery and text helps to facilitate parental understanding of safety recommendations, regardless of eHealth literacy level of the audience. Identifying gaps in the content of SM messaging and parental understanding of messages will allow injury professionals to create and disseminate safety information to more effectively facilitate parental understanding of recommendations.
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