To explore the views of the Internet in childhood, identifying both health assets and risks.
A qualitative study was performed using 14 focus groups, eight of which comprised boys and girls, four of which comprised parents and two of which were mixed (children and parents) in primary schools in urban and rural settings in Andalusia (Spain). Teachers in these schools were also asked to complete an online questionnaire using LimeSurvey. This study involved 114 individuals: 64 pupils (33 girls and 31 boys), 28 parents (18 mothers and 10 fathers), and 22 teachers (14 women and 8 men). Analysis of manifest content and underlying meanings was carried out. QSR NVivo 9 software was used to facilitate analysis and make it systematic.
Our findings show how the differences in the way parents and children understand health and wellbeing affect the way they discuss the Internet and health. The discussion of results looks at the implications of computer literacy for public health and wellbeing, particularly with regard to health assets.
Parents and children understand the contribution of the Internet to health and wellbeing differently. Whilst parents emphasize the risks (unsafe environment, relationships and quality of information, social networks, physical problems and addiction), the children emphasize the assets offered by the Internet.