We all know that new mums have a seemingly never ending list of things to do, and the demands of their newborn baby are at the top of that list. But according to researchers from Ohio State University, as well as dealing with their babies, new mums are also increasing the amount of time they’re spending on Facebook.
The research found that a majority of mothers of newborns said that their Facebook use increased after birth - whereas the Facebook use of new fathers stayed the same.
Here’s how the results were broken down: 44 percent of mothers said their Facebook use increased after giving birth, compared to 27 percent who said it decreased and 29 percent who said it stayed the same. For fathers, 31 percent said their Facebook use increased, while 19 percent said it decreased and 51 percent said it stayed the same.
So how much are new mums using Facebook? Well The majority of mothers - 58% - visited their accounts at least once a day, compared to 44 percent of fathers. And nearly all women - 93% - said they had uploaded photos of their child to Facebook, while 83% of fathers said they did the same.
This pride in your newborn is completely understandable, but what affect is this having on the new mums that are frequent Facebook users?
Well this Facebook habit is said to lead to stress. Mothers who were more frequent visitors to their Facebook accounts and who managed their accounts more frequently reported higher levels of parenting stress.
According to the lead researcher ‘I think the most likely interpretation is that mothers who experience higher levels of stress are looking for social support on Facebook so they visit more often,’ she said. ‘I know that I see a lot of Facebook posts from new mothers talking about how their child wouldn't sleep, or how their second child was harder than their first. Stressed-out mothers may be using Facebook to vent and to find help.’
‘Given all the stress that new parents are under and everything they have to manage, it wouldn't have been surprising if we had found a decrease in Facebook usage - but that's not what we found,’
‘These mothers may be taking time off from work, and may be far from family, so this network they created for themselves on Facebook can be very valuable in helping them cope,’ said Mitchell Bartholomew, lead author of the study and a graduate student in human development and family science at Ohio State.
The study involved 154 mothers and 150 fathers, most of whom were white and highly educated. The data from this study came from questions asked nine months after the birth of their child.
What do you think about this research? Did you use Facebook more or less after the arrival of your newborn? And if you did increase your Facebook use, do you think this caused you any additional parental stress? We’d love to hear your thoughts in our chat forum.
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