Twitter and Facebook are the grandparents for new age kids and their parents
“I can’t believe how much I am learning about dinosaurs,” tweets a mother. Another tweet announces “Baby’s first tooth coming through”. Singer Jessica Simpson shows off a picture of her six-month-old son on a swing on Twitter with a caption “My snuggle bug…”. Along with celebrity parents, many new age parents are also tweeting for all they are worth, besides posting photos, videos, and parenting tips on Facebook. They message is that they are savvy parents who are doing their bit to be up to date. They often share bad parenting moments too with posts that read, “I make resolutions every night. Before my eyes close, I resolve to yell less, to be more sensitive to my children’s needs….” There are some funny ones too. “I just looked up my address on Google Earth to make sure I wasn't on the front lawn yelling at my kids”; “I needed a major life-changing event or epiphany to make me feel like a changed woman. Now, to achieve the same feeling, I just have to go to the grocery store without kids.”
A host of web pages share the thoughts of parents besides having their own tips and advice. They offer alerts to new mothers on baby napping …. “Rubbing eyes, crying, and fussiness can be signs of sleepiness in newborns. Watch out for the cues.” There are slideshows on common childhood skin problems, recipes for that yummy chocolate mint fudge, handling teenage mood swings, and temper tantrums. Groups such as ‘yummy parents’ and ‘expecting yummy parents-to-be’ allow parents to interact. While parents agree that the social media increasingly takes over the role of the support system of grandparents, Psychiatrist M. Thirunavukkarasu warns that such parenting becomes competitive and focuses on immediate results and achievements.
“Parenting has to be cultural. It should teach children reality, ethics and morals. In the last two decades, as working couples prefer nuclear families, they completely miss out on an entire generation of parenting that was passed down in a traditional joint family system. Where are the grandparents?” asks Thirunavukkarasu, who is working on a book on parenthood. “New age parents log on more as they don’t have any resources to learn about parenting.” He reiterates, “Though such platforms come in handy, they cannot substitute the real thing.”