Using Social Media to Make Sense of Your New Role as a Father

Despite changing social norms and gender roles, fathers still often find themselves out of place at parks, malls and other areas frequented by mothers and children. The same problem happens when they visit most parenting forums online. A researcher at the University of Michigan wanted to find out how new or soon-to-be fathers use social media to gain a greater understanding of the parent identity. They found that:

Fathers seek information and support online, use more anonymous social media sites like Reddit to discuss sensitive issues such as divorce and child custody conflicts, and blog about do-it-yourself projects as a way of legitimizing their childcare and domestic work as masculine labor.

Further, they also found that fathers are engaging in social media and sharing photos and information about their children’s milestones, but that they are still less involved in managing then sharing child-related content online. Mothers typically field questions about whether another family member can share a photo of their child. Also, mothers are more likely to share child-related content with co-workers, whereas fathers are still more reluctant.

Fathers do tend to seek advice and talk about functional (e.g., how to change a diaper) and more vulnerable issues (e.g., conflict in marriage) of fatherhood in (1) small, private Facebook groups and (2) private, anonymous sites such as Reddit. In their study, one father noted that:

Reddit is a peaceful place to post an opinion because I do not have to deal with reactions from friends, colleagues and family members.

So, Padre Cadre members, this research is really what our site is all about – a community for fathers, novice and veteran, to come together and share information, discuss important topics, and gain support from those who have had similar experiences as you. So tell us, how do you use social media to foster your parent identity and to handle fatherhood? Also, if you like what you see on Padre Cadre and find it helpful — tell other fathers about us!

Read the original article here.

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