Diary of a Dad : Week 28- The Internetby Adam Riches
In a day and age that revolves so centrally around the Internet, being a parent has been changed significantly. Ironically, this piece is being published online and you’ll be reading it from a computer or on your phone – so strange. My question is has the internet made people better parents?
Accessibility of information
One of the most noticeable differences between my parenting and the way my folks brought me up is that I have an unlimited amount of information at my fingertips. Where my mum would rely on word of mouth or NCT, I can pick up my phone and Google anything I want. It’s a blessing and a curse though. Although I can find answers to my questions instantly, there is often hugely conflicting information online. You’re left more confused than when you started most of the time.
Validity of writing
Reading online articles and blogs can be helpful for support, knowledge and understanding when it comes to parenting, but knowing the writer’s credentials isn’t always easy. I hope (well the better part of me does) that people never knowingly publish inaccurate information, but in an era where people are paid as “influencers” it’s hard to know if there is journalistic bias when it comes to products, advice and routines. With that said, we get to see the insights of normal people like ourselves in blogs and articles. It makes us all see that what’s happening to us is happening to others.
Social media has a lot of parents a soapbox to deliver their messages far and wide. Mostly, the parents who are part of online communities are pretty respectful and friendly – much as you’d expect. Since starting my blog, I’ve met some amazing people through social media. You do however have the odd militant opinionated blogger on Twitter who loves an argument. Unfortunately, there are also those who are purely vile online; those who take pleasure in being nasty, sat behind their keyboard. Parents can get very competitive online too (just like in real life!) and it’s sad when people can’t get on online because of it.
I find that different online sources and writers encourage two types of parenting: conforming and not conforming. It’s great that we can celebrate the best and worst of parenting online and as long as you always remember that the internet can be used to supplement your approach to bringing up your child/children. Regardless as to whether or not you heed any advice online, the internet is a great resource for parenting as long as you’re careful with what you take on board. It can help you, it can make you laugh and it can keep you sane.