Young moms turn to digital media for parenting advice

Friday, May 25, 2012

At Strong Families we partner with many organizations who are doing great work with youth and sexual health like the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH). In partnership with youth, ICAH advocates sound policies and practices that promote a positive approach to adolescent sexual health and parenting. ICAH also proactively uses digital media to reach out to youth with vital information about sex and sexuality.

At ICAH they know that new and online media is a great way engage youth who spend a significant amount of time on the internet and watching TV. Developing strategies around what youth like helps to make learning about pregnancy, sexual health and birth control better for everyone.

Having just celebrated Mama's Day some of the young moms in the ICAH circle were thinking back on what kind of information they found using digital media when they first learned they were pregnant. We're so lucky that they shared those experiences with us. Check it out!

"I have looked for daycare providers and ratings and feedback and I could only find “Nanny Finder”. With Nanny finder I thought it was supposed to rate them and have comments but it wasn’t like that at all. I don’t use Twitter and I don’t discuss issues pertaining to my children on Facebook."

Ashley, 20

"I have looked for information about pregnancy health but nothing specific about parenting. There was a lot about pregnancy. I also looked for birth control options, there were resources for family planning like birth control and its ratings and comments from users. Also I found places that provide abortion services and birth control. I mostly speak to people directly about their family planning experiences. I don’t really use digital media for things dealing with my child because I am in a teen parenting program that I can get resources from directly. I like hearing about first hand knowledge. Not what studies have shown."

Taylor, 19

"When I first got pregnant I used the computer to find information about gestational development, and c-sections. I was told that my son would be born with a brain anomaly and I used the internet to find out as much as I could to prepare myself for my son’s arrival. During prenatal classes at the hospital I found it helpful to watch videos about childbirth and how to care for a newborn."

Alisha, 22

"I have used Facebook to connect with other moms about the challenges of being a parent. I found it very helpful and the other mom’s helped me realize I need to take it day by day. I watch 16 and Pregnant, A Baby Story, and Bringing home baby. 16 and Pregnant helped me to see that as a teen, I may be stuck in the middle of being a minor and having a minor but your family is a big support system. A baby story prepared me for the challenges of child birth and I felt prepared when he was born. Bringing home baby helped me learn how to prepare his room and gather the supplies a newborn would need. When I first found out I was pregnant, I used youtube to look for the procedures for abortion. But I didn’t find anything and I was already 5 months pregnant at the time so I decided to carry my child to term and raise him."

Edneshia, 17

"I watched Lifetime movies when I was first pregnant and it helped me see that if there are movies about teens getting pregnant then I must not be the only one and I didn’t feel so alone. I don’t use the internet much to connect with other moms, or find out information. I belong to a teen parenting program that helped me learn about my pregnancy and it also helped me with raising my children. I feel there is a lot of negative stuff on TV and the internet about teen parents. Everything I have seen or heard is about how being a teen parent is so bad. But what if you are already a pregnant or a teen parent, then what am I suppose to do. Why talk about how negative it is now. We are already pregnant so what’s next. They need to show me how to get things back on track or show more success stories. Yes I know it makes thing harder as a teen but its not the end of the world. I don’t like the shows about teen parents because it just shows all the negative stuff and the drama and there are some positive things that teen parents do but they never show that on TV or on the news or internet."

Wendy, 23