Parents and Social Media: How Online Communities Help

It’s no secret that the parenting game is changing. Modern technology has introduced a wealth of parenting opportunities that older generations likely never imagined. Take the Internet, for example. While it gives kids the opportunity to learn new things and exercise their creativity, the World Wide Web can get pretty toxic. In an increasingly online world, it’s easy to feel alone in your parenting struggles.

That’s where social media comes in. 

We at Troomi aren’t shy when it comes to sharing our thoughts about social media (hint: we don’t think it’s for kids). However, social media can be an amazing parenting tool when used correctly. It all comes down to connection. Parents can use social media to connect with communities of like-minded people that share parenting strategies, educate each other, and provide emotional support. In fact, Pew Research Center reports that over 75% of parents actively interact with their community online!

But just how do parents and social media work together? Let’s find out!

How Can Social Media Help Parents?

Despite its downfalls, social media has some pretty amazing benefits that shouldn’t be ignored. Let’s take a look at a few ways parents and social media communities can work together to help you create the best environment for your child.

Social Media Communities Celebrate Success

The best part of teaching first grade was connecting with my students and inspiring them to enjoy learning. It wasn’t always easy, though, and whenever a child grasped a difficult concept or completed a long project, we made sure to celebrate their success. Later, behind the scenes, we celebrated the teacher that made it happen. It always felt good to be recognized. While teaching a child isn’t quite like raising a child, the sentiment still stands: there’s nothing like a little positive reinforcement.  

Social media makes it easy for parents to share success stories and recognize each other’s accomplishments. Celebrating good moments with others is vital, as it inspires an empowered self-image and cements the idea that we are worthy of joy (and good at what we do). Extending joyful energy to other parents by acknowledging their success is also an important part of community building. So next time a friend posts about an exciting parenting moment, let them know how amazing they are!

Social Media Communities Lend Support

There’s no way around it: parenting is hard. Every parent (and child) has bad days where it seems like nothing is going right. When trials knock you down, a little encouragement can be the catalyst needed to get back up and try again. 

Social media helps parents develop a valuable support system by connecting them with others who face similar challenges. Having others to lean on for help is important in every stage of life, as our relationships help us cope with stress, create solutions, and feel less alone when facing difficult problems. This isn’t news: Pew Research Center reports that 81% of parents who use social media “try to respond to good news others share in their networks.” Caring for young people involves some pretty stressful moments, so don’t be afraid to reach out to social media friends for help. 

A strong support system benefits children just as much as parents. As the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center reminds us, “when parents feel supported, they create a more caring and healthy environment for their baby.” 

Social Media Communities Share Strategies

There are as many parenting methods as there are specks of sand in the sea, and social media makes it easy for parents to connect and share techniques. I sometimes think about parenting as a maze: it’s easy to get lost, but a guide can lead you through. 

If you’re wondering which turn to take in the metaphorical maze, try asking other parents and social media communities. It’s pretty likely that others have faced similar problems, and discussing your question with another person can illuminate the path that you and your children should take. After all, getting solutions from a newspaper article or YouTube video is helpful, but doesn’t replace a real-life discussion (or Instagram DM) with a living, breathing human.

Social Media Communities Educate Parents

We live in a period of history known as the Information Age. Access to technology like the Internet has made information more accessible than ever before. It takes just a few taps to read about a variety of topics, ranging from parenting methods to the validity of the Loch Ness Monster.

Social media brings this availability of information to a whole new level. Sites like Instagram and Twitter make it easy for parents to learn more about events and causes that impact their childrens’ lives in an easy and accessible way. Social media also allows parents to share statistics, stories, and other useful parenting information. 

There is a caveat, though: don’t trust everything you read on the Internet! While many accounts share the cold, hard facts, some social media users post falsified information. Make sure the info comes from a verified source before you share it with your network.

Social Media Communities Build Friendships

Strong childhood friendships are extremely beneficial to a child’s development. They help kids learn social skills, develop a sense of belonging, and decrease stress. Kids aren’t the only ones that need friends, though—parents do, too. That’s where social media comes in.

Social media communities help parents and kids build real-life, emotionally supportive friendships with nearby families. I know people who have met some of their closest friends through social media. Neighborhood Facebook groups, for example, make it easy to plan playdates, go on group outings, and simply celebrate the lives of those around you. What’s not to love?

Social Media Isn’t All Bad

Social media can get pretty negative. That’s why kid-friendly Troomi phones remove it altogether. However, when parents and social media work together, communities form that help parents through the good and the bad. These communities contribute to increased confidence, inspire a strong feeling of support, and aid in developing strong friendships. 

However, make sure you don’t spend too much time on social media. Despite the parenting benefits, it can get overwhelming. If you feel yourself wasting time by thoughtlessly scrolling through Facebook groups, put down the phone and take a break. Take your kids on a neighborhood walk, bake a sweet treat, or read aloud a bit of your child’s favorite chapter book! Social media can wait—life can’t.