Most participants were female, used some form of government assistance, and had access to the Internet (). Social networking sites (eg, Facebook) were the most commonly used application among participants, mainly as a method of staying in contact with friends and family. Regular use of these sites was reported to be low, which was not due to lack of access but rather lack of time, given participants' busy schedules or other priorities while online. One participant stated, "[I have an account] on Facebook, and I really don't have time to go to it." Some participants had access only in the community (eg, at the public library), where time limits were placed on users.
Demographic Characteristics of Focus Group Participants, Texas, October 2010
The results were mixed on whether participants would use social media as a way to obtain information about their children's health. Although some participants were open to exploring a new option, many more objected, citing lack of credibility most often. Participants preferred to obtain health information face-to-face from someone they trusted, particularly when the information concerned the health of their children. According to a participant,
I'm not sure I would use [social media], because I would have to trust [the] person. If they are talking about my kids' health, I don't want some stranger on the computer telling me they need this, and this, and this.
Several participants stressed the desire to consult their doctors, because of their difficulty in trusting online information. However, when participants were asked how they would feel if the social media sites were run by university, government, or nonprofit organizations, they were more amenable to the idea. One participant stated, "It might be a bit more trustworthy than taking someone's information that is just kind of out there."