Surfing online can help you navigate parenthood, changing relationships and your family’s health. Here are some of the benefits of connecting online:
Find (reliable) knowledge
From your child’s developing brain to his budding literacy skills, you can learn all about his development and health online. Tapping into such information—and 60 per cent of new moms do—can help you understand what’s normal and when to get professional help.
“Take many things you find online with a grain of salt,” says Michelle Hagen, AHS manager of social media. She encourages advice-seeking parents to consider the sources.
Look for familiar and reliable sources such as government agencies, health providers, education and non-profit organizations with current information. Sites such as Health Canada, My Health Alberta and Apple Magazine have carefully reviewed evidence-based information.
Regardless of where you find it, online information is never a substitute for speaking with a health-care professional.
Connect to community
Social connections are important to our health. Dads are starting to benefit from growing social communities, says Patrick Dillon, the provincial coordinator of the Alberta Father Involvement Initiative. “Dads are seeing examples of good dads and positive parenting and they’re getting affirmation that they’re doing OK.”
When children have stable and supportive relationships in their home and community, it lays the groundwork for their positive mental and emotional health and reduces their parents’ depression, anxiety and social isolation.
Many groups, such as Parent Link, exist both online and in the community. Their online presence is often an introduction to the many community programs they offer families, such as parent playgroups that focus on lifelong skills such as singing, playing, reading and talking.
“Ultimately, it’s who we connect with and how we choose to connect that informs our lives as parents,” says Dillon.
For a list of AHS’s social media accounts, visit albertahealthservices.ca/socialmedia
— reprinted from Apple magazine