Parents camping out on the information superhighway searching for solutions, PRC says

Parents camping out on the information superhighway searching for solutions, PRC says

by Freya Lucas

February 14, 2019

With more than 6 million families in Australia dealing with different ages and stages of child development; managing various transition points; navigating health and disability, parenting and development issues, parenting life is no longer about “going online” but rather “living online” the Parenting Research Centre (PRC) has said.

 

Presenting at the International Society for Research on Internet Interventions (ISRII) conference in New Zealand recently, Principal Specialist Derek McCormack told the conference that online information rated highly. It was second only to advice from parents, friends and neighbours.

 

The conference presentation and findings will be of interest to those in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector who seek to remain innovative, and continually work to support parents and families to meet the increasing demands placed upon them, whilst fulfilling their obligations under Quality Area Six of the National Quality Framework.

 

Parental engagement with online services, advice and support has increased in recent years, PRC said, citing results from a recent survey of more than 2,600 parents in Victoria.

 

Data from raisingchildren.net.au also shows that 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 ECEC sector is ideally placed to provide quality information, support and assistance through their digital presence, by placing high-quality content onto their own digital platforms, such as websites, blogs, and social media pages.

 

The key reasons for parents seeking online assistance, as identified by PRC were:

  • 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.

 

Mr McCormack said that parents often felt judged, and that the “high stakes” of parenting, in terms of the current and future wellbeing of their child, is of great concern to them.

 

An observation made over the past 10 years was the emerging parenting topics reflecting broader changes in society, Mr McCormack said. “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.”

 

To view conference papers at the culmination of the conference, visit the conference website.

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