• June 2011
  • Vol. 12, No. 5

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Making the Most of the Cell Phone

The National Resource Center (NRC) for Child Welfare and Data Technology has published a factsheet explaining how simple cell phones (not smart phones) can be used to help families and collect data. The factsheet provides a number of examples:

  • Cell phones can be used as a tool for coaching a parenting skills training program. In a 2008 study by Bigelow, Carta, and Burke-Lefever, half the parents in a five-session program were also called periodically as a way to reinforce the training, and those parents were more likely to complete the program than the parents who were not called.
  • Cell phones provide an effective way to stay in touch with adolescent mothers who are at risk for neglecting their children. Researchers called the teens to ask them questions about baby care activities, and the calls gave them a way to spot potentially neglectful behaviors ahead of time.
  • In the Text4baby Initiative, free text messages of advice go to expectant mothers from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition throughout the pregnancy and the baby's first year.
  • Cell phones can be used to collect data, using an Interactive Voice Response system to ask survey questions with the voice of a computer, which can make it easier for respondents to answer. The surveys can be administered in any language and in any venue, and results are available instantly.

More cell phone uses are described for other health concerns, communication, and data collection. The full article is available on the NRC's website:

www.nrccwdt.org/resources/ttts/TTT_Cell_Phones.pdf (146 KB)

Related Item

The aids.gov website provides a guide to using new media for collaboration and information sharing:


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