From posts about their baby’s first tooth to their kid’s first day of school, technology enables parents to share with family and friends both near and far the joys, challenges and lessons inherent in raising a child. Parenting has become a digitally shared experience.
In observing behavior on Facebook, we see that parents globally post more photos, videos, links and status updates than non-parents.1 While conventional wisdom holds that people on the receiving end hate “sharenting,” their actions say they actually love or, at least, like it. On Facebook in the US, new parents’ posts about their babies receive 37% more interactions from relatives and 47% more interactions from friends than their general posts.2
To explore how tradition and technology are shaping the realities of parenting, Facebook IQ embarked on a multi-phased research study of 25–65-year-old parents of infants, toddlers, adolescents and teens around the world. We analyzed Facebook and Instagram data across 8 markets (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Spain, UK and US) and commissioned quantitative work, conducted by Ipsos Media CT, and qualitative research, led by Sound Research. We also gathered feedback from 8,300 parents and 5 parenting experts.
We learned that technology—particularly mobile phones—has taken center stage in households across generations globally. For this second post in the Meet the Parents series, we examine how parents’ mobile phones have become their connective tissue to the wider world.
Feeding time is Facebook time
The arrival of a baby transforms a parent’s life in an instant: less “gym Tuesdays” or “happy hour Fridays” and more afternoon power napping after late-night feedings. As children turn parents’ focus close to home, parents are relying on their mobile phones to stay connected to family and friends—and even to brands. New parents, in particular, use mobile devices as an escape—especially during early mornings.1 New parents in the US are active on Facebook in the wee hours, starting their first mobile sessions as early as 4am and peaking at 7am.4 In fact, by 7am, 56% of new parents have visited Facebook on their mobile device.4
Deliver inspiring content for mobile moments
Brands can create bite-sized content and catchy videos on mobile that will appeal to parents, particularly those adjusting to a new schedule.
Mobile grows up with the child
As a child grows, so too does mom’s and dad’s relationship with their mobile phones. Mobile serves a variety of emotional and rational needs for parents globally over the course of their parenting journey, enabling everything from the mom-needs-to-get-something-done moments to managing busy weekend schedules.5
Don’t assume parents’ needs are the same
Brands need to understand the evolving role of mobile for parents and cater their messaging to address parents’ needs depending on their child’s age.
Sharing is caring
From major milestones to everyday toils and product reviews, everything is now shared digitally with an extended family. As parenting expert, Christine Gross, author of “Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us,” described, “Facebook is just kind of like a lifesaver… because our lives are so busy … this is a quick way to connect with other parents and not feel so alone at all sorts of moments in the day … it really amplifies that feeling of connection.” 3
Indeed, with the exception of check-ins, moms and dads are more active on Facebook than non-parents.1
And with sharenting comes a more fluid sense of family.
It takes a (digital) village
Today, the average number of individuals helping to raise a child is 18, and we see this across all 8 markets studied.5 Additionally, over half of parents in Spain (55%), Mexico (54%) and Brazil (58%) say they are better than their parents at helping their child stay connected with their extended family.5
We are shifting back to an extended family structure, albeit one of a more virtual kind. Thanks to technology, extended families are now more involved and parenting is more collaborative.
Join the extended family
Brands can earn their way into parents’ trusted circle by helping to simplify and address the information overload and questions that arise, offering reassurance that everything’s going to be alright.
To read more about the overriding themes shaping modern parenthood globally, visit our earlier blog post, “Meet the Parents.”