When it comes to advice seeking, parents are living online
There are more than 6 million families in Australia today. They are dealing with different ages and stages, care arrangements, transitions to school, health and disability, parenting and development issues.
Amidst this hurly burly of daily life, we know parents are no longer ‘going online’ for reliable information. Instead, they are living online, the Parenting Research Centre told the International Society for Research on Internet Interventions (ISRII) 10th Conference in New Zealand.
Online information rates highly
Principal specialist Derek McCormack told the conference that online information rated highly. It was second only to advice from parents, friends and neighbours. This had increased in recent years they said, and was one key finding from our recent large survey of more than 2600 parents in Victoria.
Data from raisingchildren.net.au also show new and expectant parents conduct twice as many web searches as non-parents. Transition phases like starting solids, starting school and moving to secondary education are also peak times for seeking support.
The raisingchildren.net.au website is our partnership with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. This Australian Government funded resource is used by thousands of parents daily, and a rich source of information on key issues of importance to families today.
Key reasons parents seek online help
“Parents tell us they look for information online for a few key reasons,” Mr McCormack said.
- They want to solve a specific issue or concern
- Get practical tips and ideas
- Get reassurance they are doing OK
- Feel more confident
- And know they’re not alone
“Parents often feel judged and there’s a lot at stake — the current and future wellbeing of their children is is of great concern to them,” he said
“One thing we have observed as the site has evolved over 10 years is emerging parenting topics that reflect broader changes in society. Stepfamilies, rainbow and same-sex families, healthy screen time, gender dysphoria, parenting in the context of family violence and the NDIS are just some examples of new – and popular – content we have added to keep pace with the changing nature of parenting.”