Should We Google Our Children’s Ailments?

mom and baby with laptop

In some ways, we are very lucky in this day and age to have access to a plethora of information at our fingertips.  If we don’t know the answer to something, we can easily look it up in about five seconds flat.  I’ve Googled many parenting topics, including sleep training, how much milk to give my child, breastfeeding issues, and more.  But should we really be Googling our ailments, let alone our children’s?

I know sometimes it can be impossible to ignore the wealth of information that’s out there and so easily accessible.  The first problem is that not all the information is correct.  The second problem is over-diagnosing.  While symptoms can tell you a lot about what may be wrong with a child, it cannot take the place of the many years of schooling and experience that doctors have under their belts.  While a parent may be quick to jump to a conclusion based on something they have read, they can be completely off course.  An incorrect self-diagnosis can often result in fear and stress and lead to what’s known as cyberchondria.

Now, I don’t necessarily think you should quit researching your symptoms altogether.  Sometimes those searches can be life-saving.  It can also be extremely helpful to research ways to cope with or treat disease once you already have a diagnosis.  However, you should make sure you are using reputable medical websites.  At the end of the day, you know your body and you know your child, and if you feel like something is off, don’t drive yourself crazy looking up the millions of highly unlikely possibilities of what it could be.  Head to the doctor and find out.  If you aren’t getting the answers you’re looking for from your doc, you should also consider a second opinion.

Ultimately, I feel that you should not ignore the wealth of information that’s available to you on the internet, because you could find something useful.  But make sure you are using reputable sources and don’t let your searches go too far awry.  Especially don’t use that information as a replacement for going to the doctor.

What do you think?  Do you Google your children’s ailments?  Have you found it useful or harmful both mentally and physically?