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The Use of Social Media as a Mechanism of Social Support in Parents

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Abstract

The increasing use of social media has changed communication habits among parents and provides the opportunity to access social support online. This paper explored parents’ use of different social media sources and examined potential factors that motivate parents’ use of social media for parenting support. A total of 523 parents completed the Australia-wide online survey. Results indicated that parents endorsed Facebook, parenting websites and blogs as the most frequently used social media sources. Getting specific information and advice were the top ranked reasons parents accessed social media for parenting purposes. A series of multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate predictors of social media use (Model 1) and parents’ perceived level of online social support (Model 2). Analyses of Model 1 revealed that after controlling for demographic variables, parents’ social media use was predicted by internet self-efficacy, perceptions towards the social media and online support. Analyses of Model 2 revealed that after controlling for demographic variables, parents’ perceptions toward social media, and their use of social media predicted levels of online social support, such that the more parents used social media, the greater the online support they reported receiving. Child maladjustment and parenting self-efficacy did not predict either social media use or online social support. The results indicate that parents do use social media for parenting purposes, and that it can serve as a type of social support.

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Correspondence to Divna M. Haslam.

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The Parenting and Family Support Centre is partly funded by royalties stemming from published resources of the Triple P—Positive Parenting Program, which is developed and owned by The University of Queensland (UQ). Royalties are also distributed to the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences at UQ and contributory authors of published Triple P resources. Triple P International (TPI) Pty Ltd is a private company licensed by Uniquest Pty Ltd on behalf of UQ, to publish and disseminate Triple P worldwide. The authors of this report have no share or ownership of TPI. Dr Haslam may in future receive royalties and/or consultancy fees from TPI. TPI had no involvement in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of data, or writing of this report. Dr Haslam and Dr Baker are employees at UQ. Author Tee is a student at UQ.

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Haslam, D.M., Tee, A. & Baker, S. The Use of Social Media as a Mechanism of Social Support in Parents. J Child Fam Stud 26, 2026–2037 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-017-0716-6

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