Mobile Phone and Social Media Use of Homeless Youth in Denver, Colorado

Harpin, S.,
Davis, J.,
Low, H.,
Gilroy, C.
Year Published: 2016
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Journal of Community Health Nursing
Volume: 33

Issue: 2
Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

To support the development and dissemination of health promotion tools to homeless youth, these authors investigated telecommunications and social media use within this population. A local sample of runaway/homeless youth (n=181) was recruited from a drop-in center, crisis shelters, and housing programs in Denver, Colorado and surveyed over the summer of 2013. Nearly half (46.7 percent) of the homeless youth owned a mobile phone and a majority of those devices were smart phones. Cell phone and smart phone ownership did not vary significantly by shelter location, and no demographic characteristics were associated with smart phone ownership. While more than 90 percent of youth in the sample reported using Facebook, regular use of Facebook was more prevalent among those in housing programs or camping than those living on the streets. These findings suggest that mobile phones and social media might facilitate parent, family, and health provider communications with homeless youth. Modified Author Abstract.

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