Social media has become a vital part of parents’ support networks, and mothers in particular turn to sites like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to share parenting-related content, seek advice, and commiserate, according to Pew. The results are based on a survey of 2,003 U.S. adults, including 1,235 parents with children under the age of 18.
Overall, 91% of parents surveyed by Pew use the Internet, and of these, 83% use social media. However moms were more likely to use social media for parenting purposes across the board. Thus Pew found that 88% of mothers who use social media use it to respond to good news, while 83% use it to get useful information, and 80% said they receive support via social media. 77% said they respond to questions on social media, and 61% use it to respond to bad news. For dads, 71% respond to good news, 74% get information, 65% receive support, 64% respond to questions, and 53% respond to bad news.
In terms of frequency, 66% of mothers said they found parenting info on social media at least once in the previous month, compared to 48% of fathers, and half of mothers had received social or emotional support on a parenting issue, compared to 42% of fathers. The numbers were closer when it came to asking parenting questions on social media, with 36% of mothers and 31% of fathers having done so in the last month.
No surprise, Facebook is the most popular social platform for parents, used by 81% of mothers and 66% of fathers. For moms, Pinterest was the next most popular at 40%, but just 15% of dads said they used the female-dominated site; mothers were also more likely to use Instagram at 30%, compared to 19% for fathers. Conversely 35% of fathers used LinkedIn, compared to 24% of mothers.
Relatively few parents reported feeling uncomfortable when a friend or family member shared content about their children on social media: just 12% of parents said they were ever bothered by content posted about their children, an 11% said they have asked for content to be removed.