Do you ever find yourself in a conversation with one of your parents where they comment on your parenting and note that your decision, method, or technique wouldn't have flown back in their day? Do you sometimes think back to the way your parents raised you and tell yourself you'll never do that to your kid? Well, there may be something to that. "Meet the Parents," a new initiative from Facebook IQ, Facebook's consumer research program, is tracking trends in contemporary kid-rearing, including ways parenting is different now from your parents' experience and how the parenting landscape has (and hasn't) changed.
The comprehensive, multi-phase research study looked at a lot of data. It included 25- to 65-year-old parents of infants, toddlers, adolescents, and teens around the world, by analyzing Facebook and Instagram data from eight countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States), as well as commissioning quantitative work and qualitative research. In total, they gathered feedback from 8,300 parents and five parenting experts. Can you say “comprehensive” again?
Of course, not everything is different than it was when your parents were raising you. For example, being a parent is still something that has a major impact on people’s lives, as well a being a major source of stress — whether it’s financial stress (48 percent of those surveyed were concerned about money) or a feeling of always being crunched for time (39 percent said they felt time-crunched). Despite this, the study found that 83 percent of parents globally see their family as loving, and 77 percent said their family is happy.
Over the next several weeks, Facebook IQ will be rolling out more of their results, to explore “how tradition and technology have shaped the realities of parenting across generations and geographies,” but they found three overriding themes that they say define modern parenthood.
1Parents Are Going Mobile
As handheld technology becomes ubiquitous and accessible, parents are using their mobile devices to stay organized, keep tabs on their teens, and communicate with their family members. The study also found that parents globally spend almost twice as much time on Facebook’s mobile app than non-parents, which is totally true to my experience of trying to stay connected with friends and family while entertaining a toddler. Facebook IQ's findings are along in line with a recent study by The Pew Research Center that found parents turning to social media for support in large numbers. They do say it takes a village to raise a child and it doesn't matter if some of your members are online.
2Parents Are Influenced By The Internet
The Internet puts an unlimited amount of information at people’s fingertips — for better or worse. Of the parents survey by Facebook IQ, 83 percent said they have access to more information than their parents did and 70 percent said they’re more informed than their parents were. This means that parents can find answers to almost any question they have, whether it’s about child development, breastfeeding, or discipline. They may also find several (conflicting) answers, but such is the nature of the world wide web, which cane make some parents feel judged or criticized.
3Parents Are Taking Better Care Of Themselves
Of those surveyed, 38 percent said their family is at its best when they are at their best, which means that parents are prioritizing self-care in new ways. Whether through exercise or other hobbies, parents are learning to put their needs first so that they can be the best they can be for their family. Recognizing the value of self-care is good for everyone.
As Facebook IQ rolls out more of it's findings, it'll be interested to see how the parents of today truly differ from the parents of yesteryears, and where the two groups find some common ground.