How social media makes us better parents

Generation Xers are raising the first generation of children that will benefit from the information and access provided through Social Media, and I count myself in those parents that have joined in the experiment. I honestly have no idea how my parents or grandparents raised children without the Internet and quick easy access to fellow parents across the world, just a Tweet or Facebook post away in my very own living room.

Support from social media communities

During my pregnancy, I joined online communities to strengthen my knowledge of what to and not to do during this important period in an effort to help my unborn child even then. I learned everything that I need to know about baby sleep, breastfeeding, best baby gadgets and how to hold a newborn. Communities like BabyCenter, FertilityFriend, Berkley Parents Network and countless others are dedicated to helping new parents raise their children in the safest and best way possible.

When my son developed colic, I found comfort in the information and support I found online; support that helped me cope with many sleepless nights. I reached out to other moms that were going through the same thing at the same time, women that were known to me only by their screen names but who I have come to consider best friends. What did parents with colicky babies do before social media? Probably scream and cry a lot themselves.

It takes a village

As my son grew older, I discovered amazing resources for child development that far outweighed the information that I found in the “What to Expect” series. When my pediatrician is unavailable during the weekend, I am able to reach out to an infinite online population of other parents that offer advice and sympathy when he’s been up all night with an earache or misbehaving at the grocery store. When I need to know what other parents think about a certain school or how a new activity will suit my child, I have resources that far outreach my social circle.

The resources that I have found online make me a better parent because they let me know that I am not alone. This community is where I share not only my failures, but my successes as well. They provide solace and patience when there is none to be found. Knowing that I am not alone and not the first makes even the biggest problems feel small.

How does Social Media make you a better parent? Share your story below.

Photo by user:Van Nuytts (Own Scan) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Terra Higginson

Terra Higginson

Digital and Social Media Strategy Consultant at GoalShouter
Digital strategist for GoalShouter and One Take - Caffeine addicted, chocoholic - Need 8 hours of sleep or my alter ego, Darth Vader, takes over
  • Gordon Diver

    Well said Terra. I agree that having an online presence and connecting with others give us much greater access to information. Have done the same when my 10 year has been off.

  • Online Strategies

    Social media makes us live in a virtual world. Before there is social media, people have real contacts and they’re now confined to a virtual world that’s not a sign of healthy aspect of relationships.

    • jimdougherty

      I’m not sure that I agree with that, especially with the examples that Terra cited. We’re not talking about Second Life or WoW, we’re talking about media that allow geographically isolated people to connect easier. I don’t know that it’s fair to characterize that as unhealthy. Isn’t it possible that social media has a place and potential for perpetuating healthy relationships?