Chapter 6: Technology Use by Parents
For more than 20 years, Blogher has provided internet space and tools for women to write blogs. Many of these blogs are from mothers who express themselves and their thoughts and concerns about being a mother in today’s society. Some offer parenting tips, or blend parenting with other personal activity interests (e.g., cooking, party planning, travel). Tens of thousands of women blog through Blogher, many with devoted followers. Consider the potential benefits and costs of this blogging.
- What does writing a parenting blog mean in terms of time cost and personal energy?
- What does it mean in terms of the commodification of a mother’s image? Might she feel the need to “be” a certain kind of mother, or to share certain stories or images to capture readers in the busy marketplace of the internet?
- What might her sharing stories and images of her children and family mean to their sense of personal privacy? We might argue that personal blogging can be an extension and expression of the identity of motherhood that is positive for the woman’s confidence, but what costs might it run to herself and her family?
- Considering the landscape of “mommy blogs,” are there mothers’ voices that are NOT represented?
- What about fathers? Other types of parents (e.g., grandparents, foster parents). Would their blogging be any different than mothers’? Why might their voices not be as represented as mothers?
Consider that your own technology use is, in part, a product of your generation, your exposure to technology, and the demand for use in your personal, school, and work life. And consider that parents who are part of your generation are influenced by what they are exposed to through technology, and that their behavior (shown by the amount of technology they consume) can model media habits to their children, and can shape their beliefs about themselves as role models and about the influence of technology on their children. What are your thoughts & feelings about your future roles as parents or as caregivers and what your technology use might mean?
There are many parenting websites, discussion communities, Facebook groups, and other social groups and blogs. When you consider that we want parents to use these sites in ways that provide emotional support and accurate information, and that promote positive parenting, do they? Are engaging, readable, accurate? Are they gossipy, exclusionary, or downright hostile? For your post, construct criteria for web tools for parents, and then identify five tools to compare using your criteria. Based on your review, what can you gather about tools for parents? For mother? For fathers?