Expert advice and self-help books are so last season. It seems that social media has become the go-to platform for new parents seeking guidance on the messy world of potty training, sleepless nights, and toddler tantrums. According to a poll conducted by

Social Media Reigns Majority of Today's Parents Seek Advice Online, Poll Reveals

News Picture: Forget Grandma: Today’s Parents Turn to Social Media for Advice, Poll Finds

Today’s Parents Rely on Social Media for Advice, Forget Grandma Poll

But let’s not get carried away just yet. While social media can be a treasure trove of information, the authors of the poll advise new parents to approach the advice they find with caution. Sure, it may seem easier to consult a Facebook group than bothering a health professional, but let’s remember that not everything you read online is gold. As Mott Poll Co-director Sarah Clark warns, “Every family’s experience is different, and not everything they hear online may be accurate or the right thing for their child.” In other words, take those online tips with a grain of salt.

So, what’s the deal with parents flocking to social media for parenting advice? According to the poll, most mothers and over two-thirds of fathers of children aged 4 and younger are avid social media users, seeking support and camaraderie from other parents. In fact, it’s become such a popular trend that it’s a significant increase from a similar poll conducted back in 2015. It seems we’re all looking for a virtual shoulder to lean on.

So, what are the burning parenting topics that are setting social media on fire? Well, buckle up, because we’ve got quite the list. According to the poll, parents are most concerned about toilet training, sleep issues, nutrition/breastfeeding, discipline, behavior problems, vaccination, daycare/preschool, and helping their little ones get along with other kids. It’s a whole parenting smorgasbord out there!

But why are parents so eager to share and discuss these topics on social media? Well, it turns out that most parents just want to hear what others have to say. They’re thirsty for ideas and different perspectives. And let’s not forget the convenience factor. Social media is like having a parenting encyclopedia at your fingertips, ready to guide you through the daily parenting dilemmas. Plus, it’s an excellent place to vent and learn from each other’s mistakes—a digital support group, if you will.

But, dear parents, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns on social media. In fact, there are a few concerns that come with the territory. Almost 80% of parents feel that others overshare by constantly bragging about their little darlings. We get it, your child is the cutest thing since sliced bread, but maybe take it down a notch or two? Moreover, over 60% of parents worry that personal information shared online could potentially embarrass their children in the future. Yikes! And if that’s not enough, nearly half of parents have seen false information being shared on social media, while more than a quarter have come across inappropriate photos of children’s bodies. Oh, the hazards of the digital age!

Now, here’s a real eye-opener. Two in five parents find it challenging to separate good advice from the bad when scrolling through their social media feeds. And who can blame them? With the vast amount of information out there, it’s like navigating through a labyrinth of conflicting opinions and questionable recommendations. It’s a real minefield, folks!

So, what’s the bottom line here? Social media can be a valuable resource for overwhelmed parents, but it’s important to exercise caution and skepticism. Remember, reputable sources of information and professional guidance should always take precedence over the latest viral trend. And hey, if you’re ever in doubt, don’t be shy to reach out to your child’s primary care provider. They might not have a fancy TikTok dance routine, but their advice is backed by years of medical training.

To wrap it all up, parenting is a rewarding yet challenging journey, and it can feel like you’re lost in a sea of conflicting advice. But fear not, dear parents, for social media is here to save the day, or at least provide some amusing anecdotes along the way. So, go ahead, share, vent, and seek guidance from the virtual village. Just remember, your child is a unique little being, and no Instagram influencer or Facebook group can replace your intuition and love. Trust yourself, and let the journey unfold one hashtag at a time!

More information

Visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for more on parenting young children.

SOURCE: Michigan Medicine-University of Michigan, news release, Nov. 20, 2023

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