I have recently read an interesting research article on “Think with Google” about parenting searches, namely about what parents tend to search for when they go online. It made me think about my own Internet browsing behavior. However, before I elaborate on that, first a couple of words about that research article.
There are several interesting findings:
First, new parents in their Internet search seem to show a curious pattern: when they search for “pregnant” they are simultaneously also searching for “school” and even for “college“. This and some other analytical insights lead researchers to conclusion that during pregnancy future parents seem to have a very long-term orientation, trying to plan and think through way ahead. A funny shift occurs when the baby is there, as analysis reveals that together with the search for “newborn” people tend to search for more immediate needs like “diapers” or “feeding” and so on. Thus, it seems that once the baby is actually born the focus of parents evolves from long-term to short-term. Truth be said that once the baby becomes a toddler, searches for “school” and “college” are once again spiking.
Second, the only thing constant across parenting searches at all times is “health“. But here are some nuances as well, as expecting and new parents tend to be more concerned with the “weight” of their precious bean; once it becomes a toddler “fever” gets on top of the search list.
I guess that it also matters if this is your first child or not. It is actually funny to remember this stuff! When I was still pregnant with our first kid I was very much interested in questions like: “How do you know that you are in labor?“. The answer “you will know!” seemed to be so far from satisfactory that I kept on digging. My next hit with the first child was all the “how to’s“: how to swaddle, how to put a kid in a sling, how to massage, how to teach to roll… I became a real storehouse of information! The first child, you know (smiling). When I was expecting our second I was very much into searching for different articles in the field of psychology about how to ensure that there is no jealousy between kids, how to find a balance between the needs of an infant and those of a toddler.
With both kids being toddlers and happily co-existing my current kid-related Internet searches are mostly in the following categories:
- education (raising bilingual/ multilingual kids; how to teach life skills to kids; what are the tendencies in education in general; homeschooling or not; new approaches in teaching and so on)
- entertainment / development (what is out there for kids: museums, exhibitions, events, extracurricular activities; here also – on psychology: how to choose extracurricular activities for your child)
- DIY with kids (interesting experiments; interesting crafts)
I must admit that “clothes” and “toys” which are categories also seemingly often searched for by parents are not really on my priority list. For me there is no need to especially look for that as some of my friends are very much into searching and trying new clothes’ brands and new toys that I am convinced I will receive the information without actively searching for it!
Even though the article that triggered me to write this post talked only about kid-related searches, I believe that when talking about “Parents online” it is unfair to exclude other interests that parents might be searching for when they browse the Web. Here I am not talking about specific hobbies or interests of a specific parent, but mostly about issues pertaining to being a parent.
In this context what I personally was very interested in was:
- how to “restore” yourself after giving birth – both physically and mentally;
- how to spot the first signs of a postpartum depression and what to do to avoid it;
- how to ensure a good balance of interests for everyone in the family after “adding a new member”;
- how to find and secure “me-time”.
So mostly all the psychological issues related to becoming a mother.
It might be tempting to go to mothers’ forums or discussion groups for advice, but what is very important here is that not all “mum groups” are friendly places. And what you definitely don’t need as a new parent is to have a heated unnecessary discussion and leave it with no real useful information. Thus, even though it is very interesting to hear personal experiences of other people who have been in a similar situation, my first resort is still psychological articles on reputed sources, then some personal blogs sharing experiences and only as a last point – some very selected forums and discussion groups.
And what about you: as a parent what are you searching for when you go online?