It's a major modern parenting challenge, whether you decide to share every twist and turn of your child’s life online or shun social media. Here are the pros and cons of getting involved…
Fun and sharing
Let’s focus on the best stuff first: sharing cute and funny pictures of your baby can be great. It can let your mates and family catch up on what your baby’s doing without you having to send 25 separate WhatsApps (The Guardian, 2018). It might lead to fun chats too (Doty and Dworkin, 2014; Duggan et al, 2015).
A lot of parents get a huge amount of support from Facebook groups, Instagram etc. Plenty of parents credit social media with making them feel less alone. Especially during a 3am feed when it can feel like you're the only one awake in the world (Duggan et al, 2015).
If you use social media regularly, you’ll know what it involves, how to use it and what’s going on out there. All of which means that when the time comes that your child is interested in it, you’ll be better informed (Duggan et al, 2015).
Using social media as a parent can have huge practical benefits. It can mean finding a new baby music class, hooking up with somebody else whose baby had a tongue tie and asking questions on breastfeeding (Duggan et al, 2015; Quartz, 2017).
Like with all areas of social media, looking at other parents and their airbrushed lives can make you feel like a failure and get you down. It might also make you feel anxious that you should be doing something differently to how you are doing it (Parents 2018; Very Well Family, 2018).
Replacing real life
There’s no doubting that in the early months of parenthood, it’s good to get out there and be with other people. Whether that’s chatting over a cuppa or at a baby sensory class and getting some fresh air. The danger with social media is that you might use it to replace meeting people out, as you’re getting your social ‘hit’ on the sofa (Very Well Family, 2018).
If you’re on social media a lot when you have a baby, the likelihood is that you’re sharing pictures of them. That can raise big moral questions as you are giving them an online footprint that they may not approve of when they’re older. Always be careful too about sharing any pictures containing any nudity, and be really strict with your privacy settings (Very Well Family, 2018).
Becoming obsessed with likes
We all know that refreshing for Facebook likes can be as addictive as chocolate cake. The danger as a new parent is you’ll be distracted checking the response to your baby’s picture instead of just focusing on your cute baby themselves.
This page was last reviewed in October 2018.
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You might find attending one of our NCT New Baby groups helpful as they give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area.
Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.
Doty J, Dworkin J. (2014) Parents of adolescents use of social networking sites. Computers in Human Bahaviour. 33:349-355. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563213002501 [Accessed 29th October 2018].
Duggan M, Lenhart A, Lampe C, Ellison NB. (2015) Parents and social media. Available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/07/16/parents-and-social-media/ [Accessed 29th October 2018].
Parents. (2018) Parenting in a Facebook world: how social media is affecting our parenting. Available at: https://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/style/how-social-media-is-affecting-your-parenting/ [Accessed 29th October 2018].
Quartz. (2017) Parents who are obsessed with social media are giving their kids an unhealthy complex. Available at: https://qz.com/761953/parents-who-are-obsessed-with-social-media-are-giving-their-kids-an-unhealthy-complex/ [Accessed 29th October 2018].
The Conversation. (2017) Why Facebook may fuel new mothers’ insecurity. Available at: https://theconversation.com/why-facebook-may-fuel-new-mothers-insecurity-77153 [Accessed 29th October 2018].
The Guardian. (2018) The ‘shared trap’ – should you ever put your children on social media? Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/may/24/sharent-trap-should-parents-put-their-children-on-social-media-instagram [Accessed 29th October 2018].
Verywell family. (2018) How social media has changed our parenting. Available at: https://www.verywellfamily.com/social-media-changed-way-we-parent-4098583 [Accessed 29th October 2018].