US parents are avid social media users with different habits from non-parents, a July 2015 report from US firm Pew Research has found.
Over 90% of US parents are online, significantly higher than the general adult population (77%). Three-quarters of online parents in the US use social media, with mothers in particular showing heavy engagement – both giving and receiving a high level of support via their connections.
Social media is seen as a source of generally useful information, rather than a parenting resource. This could be partly because US parents use parenting-specific websites, as we noted in Meet the Millennial Parents – over half of US millennial mothers use expert advice on parenting websites weekly or more.
The survey found that two in five US parents on social media received support from their networks on parenting issues over the past month. Many parents said they come across useful parenting information incidentally as they browse other content on social media.
US parents are Facebook power users, with 75% checking it at least daily and over half checking it multiple times per day. Facebook is parents' most used social network, particularly among mothers and younger parents.
US parents' Facebook networks are likely to be smaller and made up of more "actual" friends. The median number of friends is 150, with a third of these considered "actually" friends – compared with just 11% for non-parents, who are also more likely to have large networks of 500 or more contacts.