Online Discussions With Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents: Perspectives and Possibilities
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The Internet is an innovative strategy to increase public participation. It is important to include pregnant and parenting teens' perspectives when planning programs to meet their needs. This qualitative study explored online discussions as a strategy to enhance participation by this population. Findings showed that online communication was preferred over face-to-face group discussions. Being anonymous online encouraged open and honest feedback. Participants experienced various forms of social support, however, there was an overall lack of teen involvement online. Strategies to engage adolescents in online discussions and reduce barriers are discussed. Strategies included the use of teen moderators, home computer access, technical support, and engagement in naturally flowing online discussions to meet social support needs. Blending researchers' with teens' needs for social support in an online environment is encouraged. With careful planning and design, online communications can result in mutual benefits for researchers, service providers, and pregnant and parenting adolescents.
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