July 16, 2015

Parents and Social Media

Parents, social support and outreach on social media

Parents reach out in a variety of ways to provide social support to their networks online. Mothers are particularly active in responding to their networks in both good times and bad.

Social media is used by parents to reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances – particularly in moments of celebration or hardship. To gauge what role social media plays in these connections, social media users were asked a series of questions about the social support they both give and receive online.

In general, parents tend to engage with the positive online, such as responding to good news others post, answering others’ questions, or receiving support via their social networks. Still, a majority agreed that they try to respond to the bad news shared in their network as well.

Mothers are particularly likely to say they both give and receive support via social media. Fathers, on the other hand, are more likely to disagree that they use social media in this way.

Half of mothers and one-third of fathers strongly agree that they try to respond to good news posted on social media.

Parents, Particularly Mothers, Respond to Good News on Social MediaGood news likes company on social media – almost eight-in-ten (79%) social media users agree that when they see a friend or acquaintance sharing good news, they “try to respond.” Of all the support questions asked, this received the most positive response, with 39% of social media users saying they “strongly agree.”

Parents on social media are particularly likely to “strongly agree” that they try to respond to good news shared on social media – 45% say so compared with 36% of non-parents. More than half of mothers (53%) “strongly agree” that they try to respond to good news, substantially more than the one-third of fathers who say the same. A quarter of fathers (26%) “disagree” or “strongly disagree” that they try to respond to good news shared on social media – this compares to 11% of mothers who say the same.

Nearly three-quarters of parents receive support from others on social media.

Mothers Give and Receive Support on Social MediaAlmost three-quarters of parents on social media (74%) agree that they receive support on the platforms, 35% of whom “strongly agree.” This is similar to the 70% of non-parents who agree they are supported on social media, including 31% who “strongly agree.”

Mothers who use social media are particularly likely to say they agree – 80% say they “somewhat” or “strongly” agree that they receive support via social media, compared with 65% of fathers. Among mothers, 45% “strongly” agree, compared with just 22% of fathers who say they receive social support through social media. Conversely, fathers who use social media are more likely to disagree than mothers that they receive support via social media, 31% vs. 19% of mothers.

Mothers are more likely to agree that they try to respond if they know the answer to a question asked on social media.

About two-thirds of social media users (68%) agree that they try to respond if they know the answer to a question asked by someone on social media, and 29% “strongly agree.” This matches closely with parents and non-parents alike. About seven-in-ten parents on social media (71%) try to respond to questions; of those, about a third “strongly agree” they try to do so (32%). Likewise, two-thirds of non-parents on social media agree that they respond to questions, including 28% who “strongly agree.”

Mothers who use social media are particularly likely to agree, with 77% saying they “somewhat” or “strongly” agree that they try to answer the questions of others on social media. This compares with 64% of fathers, a significant difference. Fathers who use social media are particularly likely to say they “somewhat” or “strongly disagree” – 35% compared with 21% of mothers.

More than half of parents try to respond to bad news on social media.

When responding to bad news on social media, parents are not very different from the overall social-media-using population. Some 58% of parents, like the 59% of social media users generally, agree that they try to respond to bad news, including 27% who “strongly agree.” Mothers are particularly likely to “strongly agree” that they try to respond to others who share bad news on social media – 31% say so compared with 21% of fathers.