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Why Facebook is full of baby photos

28 Apr 15:03 by admin
Tags: new parents, social networks, social media

While it might seem like there’s a constant barrage of proud parent posts on social media sites, research suggests that these updates can be a real lifeline for new parents and may not be as relentless as you think.

Becoming parents is one of the toughest transitions a couple will go through. At this time, a strong social network can do a world of good, and support from friends and family becomes particularly important.

Forums and social media can help new parents to stay better connected with close friends and family, but also help make the most of the more distant friendships through emotional support and positive feedback [1] [2].

This is all valuable social support. In one study, both mums and dads who interacted with Facebook friends both on and offline tended to feel more positive about their parenting roles than those who didn’t, and were less stressed in general [3].

Social networking can be particularly beneficial to new parents as it allows them to reap the benefits of friend and family connections while stuck at home, or engaged in other activities.

So, do new parents actually post more?

Some studies [2] show parents admitting to posting more photos and status updates after they have children. However, one study [4] explored the idea that it only feels like Facebook is flooded with baby photos because these pictures tend to get more likes and comments, and are therefore promoted more by the site’s algorithms.

Mums and dads

Mums tend to post more photos and child-related posts than dads, although this may just be down to which parent spends more time at home. Whoever is at home may find they have fewer opportunities to get out and about and maintain relationships face to face. In these situations, online connections can become particularly valuable [2].

Research also shows that social support from friends and family is often directed more at mums than dads, which can leave dads feeling unsupported and left out [5] [6] [7]. Perhaps for this reason, dads can really feel the benefits of using chat rooms to boost their confidence and get advice and information from other dads, often through sharing of experiences, empathy, and humour [8].

So if you’re a new mum or dad, don’t worry too much about bombarding your friends with baby photos and updates – it’s important to keep those connections active and most of your friends really won’t mind!

References

[1] Madge C., O’Connor H. (2006). Parenting gone wired: Empowerment of new mothers on the Internet? Social and Cultural Geography, 7, 199–220.

[2] Bartholomew, M. K., Schoppeā€Sullivan, S. J., Glassman, M., Kamp Dush, C. M., & Sullivan, J. M. (2012). New parents' Facebook use at the transition to parenthood. Family relations61(3), 455-469.

[3] Gameiro, S., Boivin, J., Canavarro, M. C., Moura-Ramos, M., & Soares, I. (2010). Social nesting: Changes in social network and support across the transition to parenthood in couples that conceived spontaneously or through assisted reproductive technologies. Journal of Family Psychology24(2), 175.

[4] Morris, M. R. (2014, February). Social networking site use by mothers of young children. In Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing (pp. 1272-1282). ACM.

[5] Abrams, L. S., Dornig, K., & Curran, L. (2009). Barriers to service use for postpartum depression symptoms among low-income ethnic minority mothers in the United States. Qualitative Health Research, 19, 535-551.

[6] Garfield, C. F., & Isacco, C. (2009). Urban fathers’ role in maternal postpartum mental health. Fathering, 7(3), 286-302.

[7] Goodman, J. H. (2005). Becoming an involved father of an infant. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 34(2), 190-200.

[8] Fletcher, R., & St. George, J. (2011). Heading into fatherhood—nervously: Support for fathering from online dads. Qualitative Health Research21(8), 1101-1114.

 

 

 

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