Parents increasingly turn to social media
The Sector > Research > Parents are increasingly turning to social media for advice and solutions

Parents are increasingly turning to social media for advice and solutions

by Freya Lucas

November 22, 2023

Four out of every five parents are taking to social media to discuss parenting issues and concerns, which means early childhood education and care (ECEC) services need an established presence in social media spaces in order to be visible and trusted names. 


Nearly half of parents rate social media as very useful for getting new ideas to try, according to the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.


“Many parents turn to online communities to exchange advice or discuss parenting challenges because it may seem faster and easier than asking a health professional,” said Mott Poll Co-Director Sarah Clark.


“Finding parent comradery in this space can have benefits but parents should keep in mind that every family’s experience is different and not everything they hear online may be accurate or the right thing for their child.”


The most common discussions included:


  • toilet training (44 per cent)
  • sleep (42 per cent)
  • nutrition/breastfeeding (37 per cent)
  • discipline (37 per cent) 
  • behaviour problems (33 per cent) 
  • vaccination (26 per cent), 
  • daycare/preschool (24 per cent), and; 
  • getting along with other children (21 per cent).


Three fifths of parents say they talk about these topics on social media because they want to hear different ideas while one in four say it’s convenient or they want to do things differently than their parents. Fewer say they use these platforms because they don’t have family or friends nearby, don’t have enough opportunities to ask their child’s healthcare provider or are too embarrassed to ask in person.


More than a third of parents also rate social media as very useful for making them feel like they’re not alone and learning what not to do while a fourth say it helps them decide whether to buy certain products.


The findings should be of note to the ECEC sector, and providers are encouraged to note the common discussion topics and consider providing resources to suit the needs of parents and families.

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