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Moms who compare, despair, social media study says

From the first smile to the last graduation, mothers love to announce and record children’s achievements on social media. Doing so keeps friends and family informed and compiles a journal of sorts for future perusal. Social media can even be a support system for frustrated moms. However, a recent study highlights a dark side of social media for moms– social comparison.


The “iMom Project” surveyed over 700 mothers about their social media use, parenting habits, health, and relationships. The moms who compared themselves to other parents on social media fared worse in a variety of ways. They felt more overwhelmed and less competent in their maternal role. These moms were also more likely to engage in conflicts over social media and were less likely to be satisfied with their children’s other parent. Unsurprisingly given these outcomes, these moms were significantly more depressed than the participants who did not make comparisons based on social media. The study has been published in the academic journal Computers in Human Behavior, and you can read the original study by clicking here.


The relationship between social media use and depression has been examined at length over the last decade, but tweens and teens have received the most attention in combating the “Facebook effect”– higher levels of depression and dissatisfaction after using social media. This study shows adults are also prone to comparing a friend’s glossy vacation photos to the gritty minutia of normal life. In particular, mothers are highly invested in their children’s accomplishments, and the requirements of caring for children may make social interaction online easier than face to face socializing. Tweens, teens, and mothers may all be more prone to the Facebook effect if they do a higher percentage of their socializing online than off-line. When you spend too much time interacting with online personas, it is easy to form and maintain an unrealistic view of others’ lives.


How can social media users fight the Facebook effect? Balance and self-awareness. If you are already having a bad day, find another way to unwind. Even on good days, limit the amount of time spent scrolling. The Facebook effect is particularly pronounced for “lurkers,” people who only consume social media. People who post, comment, and otherwise engage have better online experiences. Social media can be a wealth of information and support, but many of the individuals who need the most support leave this resource untapped.


How do you make the most of social media? Comment below!

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4 Things Every Parent Should Know About Facebook


Facebook can be a great resource for families and friends to connect and share the fun parts of life. But, like any tool, Facebook can be used incorrectly and even harmfully. Here are four things parents should know before their kids sign up.


 1. It’s for ages 13 and up

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 lays out certain responsibilities websites have to protect the privacy of children under 13. It is illegal to collect personal information of children under 13 years without jumping through a few hoops (such as parental consent). To prevent cost, hassle, and possible legal liability, Facebook asks that its members be 13 years old.

Some parents might feel this rule is no big deal. However, it’s an effort to protect children online, and circumventing it puts Facebook in the position of acting illegally.


2. No written statement on your wall can deny Facebook the rights to the pictures you post

If you have a Facebook account, you may have seen a friend post a statement that went something like this: “As of (date) I do NOT give Facebook or any entitles associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or post, both from the past, in the present, or in the future. By this statement I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute or take any other action against me based on this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308-11 308-103 and Rome statute).

NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version if you do not publish the statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE you MUST copy and paste this. I will leave a comment so it will be easier to copy and paste.”

This statement has no legal power. The Facebook Terms of Service states:

“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settingsyou grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).”

If you choose to open a Facebook account, you are bound by their Terms of Service. They are allowed to distribute anything you post (pictures, video, etc.). They probably won’t because people would likely stop using Facebook, and no one else really cares about your cat pictures anyway.


3. People who are not “friends” can send your children private messages

Anyone can send a private message to anyone else on Facebook. If the sender is a friend, the message will go in your main inbox. If the sender isn’t a friend, the message will probably go to your “Other” inbox.

Teach your children to never, ever talk to a stranger online, and make sure they know how to block any stranger who tries repeatedly to contact them.


4. Your kids can hide posts from you

Many parents require that their children add them as a condition of having a Facebook page. They think this will allow them to monitor what their child says and does online.

However, there are many ways for kids to keep their parents in the dark about their Facebook activities. Each post has a customizable privacy setting. A post can be visible to the public, to friends of friends, to friends only, to a certain group of friends only, or to only the poster. All the child has to do is choose a privacy setting for certain posts that excludes his or her parents.

As previously stated, Facebook also has a private message option. Only the sender and the recipient(s) can view private messages.

Never assume that you can see everything your child does on Facebook simply because he or she has added you as a friend. The only way to see all posts is to log in with his or her credentials.


Facebook is like any other social experience. There is a lot of opportunity for fun, and some opportunity for mischief. Parents should know the ins and outs of Facebook to intelligently talk to their kids about internet safety and online etiquette.

Fortunately there are some great solutions to help protect your family online!


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