- Children's experiences with chat support and telephone support
- Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
- Volume | Issue number
- 50 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
Background: In line with the wider trend of offering support via the Internet, many counseling and referral services for children have introduced online chat, often in addition to a traditional telephone service.
Methods: A comparative study was conducted between the telephone service and the confidential one-on-one online chat service of the Dutch Kindertelefoon. The design included a concise pretest and a posttest (n = 902). The study also comprised a follow-up test (n = 213), which included the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
Results: Children experienced a higher sense of well-being and a reduced severity of their problems after consulting the Kindertelefoon. The results were slightly more favorable for the chat service than for the telephone service. The follow-up survey showed that many of the children who contact the Kindertelefoon suffer from relatively severe emotional problems.
Conclusions: Both the telephone and the web-based support improved the children's well-being and decreased their perceived burden of problem. The results of this study underline the need for closer cooperation between child helplines and mental health and child welfare services.
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