Diary of a Dad: Week 22 - Pressures of Online

by Adam Riches

The online world is a place in which you can be built up and brought down in an instant. We are intrinsically connected and are given insight into things that until recently have remained pretty private for most people. Without wanting it sometimes, we are given information and images about how people are living, what they are doing and how they feel about doing it.

It’s incredible the impact this can have on a new parent, or any parent for that matter. I’ve tried to be really aware since we have had our latest little boy. Social media can have a huge impact on your mental health and although it is true that on your second child, you are less influenced, it can still impact you hugely.

What people do

Something that makes social media a difficult one for parents is what people are doing with their kids. It really affects me when I see the things that people do with their children and it sometimes makes me feel really guilty. Of course, in most instances, the content isn’t posted with any boastful intention...it can make you feel a bit inadequate.

This winter, it’s all been about the trips to Dubai, the Christmas presents, activities/crafts and of course the Christmas “traditions” (which are seemingly getting more and more extreme and diverse!) See what other people do in such detail makes you question what you’re doing and it can be quite overwhelming.

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What people say

Being involved has always been a trigger for some people. The concept of feeling left out online creates pressure to always know what is happening and always actively be engaging with that activity. I think a lot of people say things online to say something. It can be really draining.

The other thing is that the internet doesn’t have a twat filter. People can literally say what they want and pretty much nobody tells them they can’t. I’m not suggesting a Chinese style censoring of the internet, I am however more aware now than ever of the stupidity of some people (the irony is, you might be reading this and thinking the same of me.) What people say can alter how you think about something in a positive way or a negative way...it just depends if they have said anything of value!

What people think

We all worry about what people think, but as a parent, I feel this is amplified. The internet gives people a soapbox to say their piece. Although it can be hugely helpful for parents, it can also mean information overload. Opinions of opinions of opinions ends up in the biggest mishmash of information and misinformation.

Breastfeeding, cosleeping, clothing, cots, buggies, the list is endless and guess what, everyone has an opinion on each thing, That’s a serious amount of information and it can be really overwhelming.

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Reality

The reality is that you aren’t going to be able to do anything about how much people influence you, show you, imprint on you and change your mind on things until you start to disengage with it all. You are the master of your own destiny when it comes to the internet and you can quickly change your mindset through minor adjustments to your habits. The reality is that the pressures aren’t going away whilst you are there all the time. Switch off from it and start to feel better!


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Written by

Adam Riches

Blogger & Teacher
Being a parent isn’t something you can ever truly prepare for (no matter how many things you read about!) I don’t think I’ll ever really get it right, but that’s what being a parent is all about for me - effectively winging it and being totally ok with just doing your best at being a dad. I’m stumbling through life as a dad of one and between extracting coco pops from my son’s nose and trying to persuade him that dinosaurs aren’t going to get him at night, I write a bit and I teach a lot.

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