Do parents trust the web too much?
The internet has had a massive impact on modern parenting.
Whether it’s getting authoritative health advice from the NHS or buying bedroom furniture before you bring a little one into the world, the web is a huge help.
But a new study suggests many parents are taking for granted that what they read online is true.
From personal experience, this is easy enough to do. I think most parents have made the mistake of typing their child’s ailment into Google and then got themselves into a flap because the worst possible illness is the first to come up in the results.
Usually, a little more research or reference to a known, trusted source is enough. But how do you establish a trusted source? What about newspapers, government websites, or blogs?
This latest investigation concerned parents searching for information about sleep safety, and results showed that the most accurate information was found on government and organisational websites.
The most inaccurate information was found across blogs, retail product reviews and individual websites, while news websites were only found to be accurate half of the time.
My wife and I are pretty thorough. Before we buy anything online that has health implications for baby, we check to see what health providers advise to give ourselves a bit of background knowledge, before we even start looking at reviews and products.
But I can see how easy it is to get lulled into a false sense of security, caught up in the hype or give some advice more credence than it deserves. Some parents may not even know where to go for independent advice.
When it comes to buying products, reviews by other parents are great. But I still like to have a look on approved sites such as Which?, just on the off chance I can glean some other pearls of wisdom from it.
Bear in mind that for most conditions there are dedicated research groups with lots of specialised information for mums and dads as well. So the next time you want some advice on baby sleep safety, don’t rely solely on Google. Make sure you try the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) or one of the above sites as well.