Psychology, Social Psychology

Digital mothering

Recently our Dr. Lisa Lazard presented her research on digital mothering and the psychology of why parents upload photos of their children to social media at the OU Psychological Society conference (OUPS). Here’s a pic of her presenting and some more information about her research in this area…

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Participation in online life has become increasingly a routine activity for many mothers. Digital spaces may create opportunities to connect with other mothers, garner social support and provide resources for mothers to navigate parental responsibilities offline. Whilst some positive implications around social media use has been articulated, much less has been said about specific practices of posting about children and family on social media. In the media, sharing family –related posting (both written and photographic) is frequently characterised as risky or indicative of competitive mothering.

In the present study, stimulus elicitation interviews were conducted with 14 mothers who were asked to discuss a selection of their own postings on their social networking sites. Interview data was thematically and discursively analysed. Resonant with research on offline family photos, posting family news or pictures was discussed as a means of connecting with significant others as well as communicating togetherness as a family unit. The notion of pride was drawn on to justify postings and negotiate more troubled identities associated with prolific social media users and/or competitive mothering. This talk concludes by considering digital expressions of parental emotion on social media.


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