Childrearing

Parenting In The Internet Age Sucks Because The Internet Is A Judgy Hellhole

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internet-parentingThe internet is useful for so many things; checking out which kind of cancer you have when your nose starts to run a little, or discovering that your tolerance for nauseating material is much higher than you thought when you accidentally stumble across some My Little Pony fanfiction.

On the other hand, raising kids in the internet age is tough, what with the sexting rings and all that. I think we can all agree with Tina Fey’s prayer for her daughter in Bossypants:

“O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.”

But I think that we all ignore that the internet can be one big suckshow for one other key demographic: parents.

Over at Fox 31 Denver, the question “Is it harder to raise a kid these days?” is posed, with people weighing in on over scheduling and other “new” parenting challenges. By far, what stuck with me was the amount of people saying that the most challenging part of being a modern parent is the onslaught of information and influx of judgey-ness that the internet has provided:

“I feel like in that pre-Internet era we weren’t quite as exposed to other people’s pet peeves,” said Lenz, who writes a blog in her own name. “There was less of that judgment and less of other people making you insecure. You didn’t have to hop on Facebook and see a ton of different people telling you why giving your kid a processed cookie is child abuse.”

Amen to that. Of course, no discussion about how internet parenting has polluted our souls is complete without acknowledging the frantic late-night consults with Dr. Google:

“Google can be a friend for today’s parents, but it also can be a foe, said Lenz, the mom from Cedar Rapids, who shared a story about how she went online late one night when she wasn’t able to calm her crying daughter.

‘I’m like, ‘Oh no, maybe she has brain trauma or stomach problems,’ and then it’s like, ‘Oh. No. She’s just teething.’ “

And if that weren’t enough, there is suddenly this horrible thing called parenting styles, which allow you to feel guilty for everything from letting your child cry it out to breast feeding too long, all compounded by the utter confusion of conflicting information:

“Now you have attachment parenting, then you have ‘tiger moms,’ and people tell you to co-sleep. Others tell you that you are a terrible parent if you co-sleep … and pediatricians will tell you one thing and then people will search online and they’ll find a blog that says completely the opposite and so it’s very confusing.”

This is why I am a huge proponent of parenting within a vacuum. I’ve said before that I had limited resources and no internet whatsoever when I was pregnant and my daughter was very small. Overall, I feel like I dodged a bullet. I didn’t even know all of the things that people thought I was doing wrong until it was way too late to fix it.

The internet can be a useful tool, and one of the reasons I like Mommyish so much is that it provides a community for someone like me, who is far from home. Is parenting harder now than it was 30 years ago? It’s definitely much different, that’s for sure.

(Image: gemphoto/Shutterstock)