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