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January 27, 2010

Medical Students and Unprofessional Online Content

JAMA. 2010;303(4):328-329. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.12

To the Editor: We believe that caution must be used in interpreting the study by Dr Chretien and colleagues1 that surveyed medical school administrators regarding the online content posted by medical students. The meaning of Internet-based social networking sites should not be assumed without input from those who have created and used the sites. Searchable content may identify extremes or may reflect identity exploration, rather than actual behaviors or attitudes.2 Rather than survey the students or sample their Web sites, the authors asked school administrators to interpret these phenomena; the majority of respondents were neither sophisticated Internet users nor familiar with Web 2.0 activities.

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