YouTube as a source of information for children with paroxysmal episodes

Klin Padiatr. 2013 Dec;225(7):394-7. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1353142. Epub 2013 Oct 24.


Whereas to date the internet is a main source of information for many parents, there are no restrictions regarding data presentation. Thus, the aim of this study was to assess the quality of internet material concerning paroxysmal episodes.We rated videos on YouTube for several conditions like infantile spasms, absence seizures, Sandifer syndrome, sleep myoclonus, and shuddering attacks. Videos were classified into different categories of certainty of diagnosis according to expert opinion based on a 4 point Likert scale followed by calculation of interrater reliability. Also the quality of supplemental information was assessed, as well as whether videos were helpful from a neuropaediatrican's point of view in counselling patients and their parents.In sleep myoclonus, absences and infantile spasms correlation between title of videos and classification by expert opinion was good. There was more discrepancy with the videos concerning Sandifer syndrome and shuddering attacks. Interrater reliability was low for Sandifer syndrome, fair for absences, shuddering attacks and sleep myoclonus and moderate for infantile spasms. Some supplemental information was rated to be helpful but other information was found to be misleading or even unsettling for patients and their parents.We consider that video material on YouTube can generally not be considered as helpful for parents because of a significant disagreement between experts, even for the most well defined disorders in our study.

MeSH terms

  • Epilepsy, Absence / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy, Absence / therapy*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / therapy*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Information Services / standards*
  • Internet*
  • Myoclonus / diagnosis*
  • Myoclonus / therapy*
  • Parents / education
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards*
  • Quality Control
  • Social Media*
  • Spasms, Infantile / diagnosis*
  • Spasms, Infantile / therapy*
  • Torticollis / diagnosis*
  • Torticollis / therapy*
  • Video Recording / standards*

Supplementary concepts

  • Sandifer syndrome