What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. What happens at home, stays at home. Not anymore.
The growth of social media and the emergence of influencers impact our ways of parenting. People share so much about their lives and when parenting becomes their main job, well, they share about it. Their children’s growth, trendy parenting methods they try, housekeeping tips and other practical tips. Some even get personal on sharing their feelings about their new dynamic role.
Technically, this is nothing new. It’s just a shift of platform. Parents have always seek advice from other parents (be it from the same or older generations) and compare themselves and their children with others. While some rely on books or experts, like doctors. According to a study by a US advertising agency Barkley, 71% millennials values advice and insights from the internet, be it parenting blogs, websites, forums and, of course, social media. In fact, more than 90% of parents found online information very helpful.
Millennials are known to value opinions from their peers, including the ones about parenting. They use social media to ask personal questions and search for itty-bitty topics as simple as meal prepping or taming their children’s tantrums. In return, they also share details of their children’s dietary, growth to kids-friendly holiday destinations. This connection allows online parents to connect offline by arranging playdates, for example.
Social media parenting also helps families who have limited access to expertise information. Those who struggle with poverty, language barriers, physical disabilities and geographic isolation can access the information they need at any time (and for free). It also gets easier for parents to find services, such as day care or schools, near them that are trusted for they can read reviews from fellow parents.
Another important thing they get from social media is emotional support and validation from other parents. This is extremely important, especially for new parents who are struggling and still figuring out how to map out their children’s needs.
At its best, social media proves to be a useful parenting tool. But on the contrary, social media parenting is not without side effects. The constant exposure to picture perfect families and stylish homes content might feel demanding. Parents would compare their methods, their homes, and finally their children to others. They try to show a picture perfect family and a Pinterest-worthy parent who never feed their children McDonald’s and teach their children about planting instead of allowing quick entertainment such as video games.
The inverse of becoming a good parent happens when they narrow down the chance for themselves as parents and their children to grow independently. Both parents and their children need to have their own characters. How would they do so if the parents keep listening and following what other parents are doing?
Also, think about the opposite. What happens when you’re the one who shares parenting content? How would your content affect other parents? Will they feel judged?