Sharenting: five popular beliefs on the modern family explained

Research by Facebook has revealed some interesting perceptions that modern parents have about their roles. Millennial dads are best at giving themselves ‘me time’; overall, dads reckon they do more than mums give them credit for; people don’t actually mind parents oversharing online; and, while technology can help empower parents in many ways, it can also leave them vulnerable to criticism.

Popular Belief #1: Mums and dads are in it together

Popular belief says gender roles are disappearing and today’s parents share household and childcare responsibilities more than the generations before them. Mums and dads’ opinions differ on who’s doing what and how much. But do mums and dads agree on who’s doing what and how much?

Well, yes and no. While dads are doing more, dads globally perceive that they’re doing even more than mums give them credit for, particularly when it comes to childcare, cooking and cleaning. Brands need to understand how parents are sharing the burdens of parenthood but recognize their unique yet evolving roles. Simply put, don’t forget about dads.

Popular Belief #2: Millennials are dividing domestic duties equally

Dads globally believe they do more cleaning and childcare than mums give them credit for. But are new dads doing better than their older counterparts when it comes to mums’ perceptions of their contributions?

Not necessarily. Our findings suggest that the perception gap between Millennial mums and dads is similar to that of Boomer mums and dads.

Popular Belief #3: People cringe at parents’ oversharing online

Parenting has become a digitally shared experience, particularly for new mums. New mums in the US post 2.5 times more status updates, 3.5 times more photos and 4.2times more videos than non-mums.1 But does oversharing induce eye-rolling from family and friends?  

No, that’s a myth.While conventional wisdom holds that people on the receiving end hate “sharenting,” their actions say they actually love it, or at least like it. Indeed, sharenting can help rally friends and family, extending the modern family unit.

Popular Belief #4: Technology has made mums’ and dads’ lives easier.

Thanks to technology, parents have more access to information than ever before, with 70% saying they are more informed than their parents were. For example, going online can help them gather support from loved ones and make smarter purchasing decisions. But are there downsides to more information and opinions?

It’s complicated. Technology can help parents feel more empowered in paving their own path. But it can also make them feel vulnerable to external criticisms. 

Popular Belief #5: Parents see themselves as people first.

Many think that parents today are more aware of taking care of themselves to be better-equipped to deal with their daily responsibilities and family stresses. But are parents prioritising “me time” as much as “family time”?

Yes. Millennial dads in particular are driving this movement. Brands should recognise that mums are women first and dads are men first, each having rich lives and interests outside of their children. Give parents permission to put on their own oxygen masks first.

Note: Millennial parents are ages 25–34, Gen X parents are ages 35–49 and Boomer parents are 50–65 years old.

1 Facebook internal data, ages 18+, US only, May 2014–Jul 2015. Research included 3 groups: new parents (expecting a child or with a child under age 1); parents of school-age children (ages 4–12); and parents of teens (ages 13–19). The most current self-reported and inferred data were used in combination with a proprietary method of assessing affinity to identify parents.



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