There is no question that social interaction on the internet is a quick feedback way to get answers. People search for answers before doctor's appointments, to parenting issues, to legal issues, for news and for fun. Some feel that trusting advice on the internet is foolish, but many also feel that it can be a community, like any other.
Do you use the quick information of the internet to help in your parenting? Do you feel that other people's information is something you can trust? Or do you take it all with a grain of salt? What will you teach your kids about social interaction on the 'net?
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If I am going to a Dr. appt, then 95% of the time I will research the info online first. I think I know better than any Dr. what my / my family's symptoms are, what it could possibly be.... Plus if I have researched ahead of time I can offer the info and ask better questions. I often wonder how we all did without google, wikepedia... for so long. As far as parenting issues, I find MDC to be quite helpful, but I also don't take it too personally. I am an older mother, and maybe that makes me more confident, both in my own decisions, to take some advice as a grain of salt, but also accept some great hints and tips here on how I can do things better.
What I will tell my kids; I am not sure yet. They will be more advanced than me, even though I work in IT, because they were born with it, so the whole culture, access, environment of IT will be different for them than it was / is for me.
If I am going to a Dr. appt, then 95% of the time I will research the info online first. I think I know better than any Dr. what my / my family's symptoms are, what it could possibly be....
This is actually why doctors hate the internet. My BF is a doctor and he has seen to many people try and self diagnose. And it sometimes has fatal or serious outcomes.
For recieving support or even infomration about your childs conditions. Yep its great.
For researching possible illness or conditions based soely on presenting symptoms when you are not a doctor....dangerous.
I think its irresponsible for so many internet sites ot reference medcial conditions w/o a massive disclaimer that says "only a trained medical doctor can make these diagnosis"
I hate esp the Checklists for Autism.
How many parents have come across one of these checklists and said "OMG, Jonny hates getting water on his hands, he screams when there is sand in his socks, he like to build towers and knock them over and he doesnt play with other 16 months old. HE must be autistic."
What the checklists leave out is the DEGREE of the redflags being presented. Yes, Jonny likes to knock over towers. Its something he can predict the outcome of. Normal.
When it becomes an issues is when it interfers with Jonnys ability to do simple daily tasks on an everyday basis.
And not one checklists I have seen says that while most of the listed behaviours are NORMAL, the intensity of them is what causes the red flags.
I was told by a Dr that it was "All in my head" as a child. I have since been diagnosed with celiac. I was told my daughters outright red faced full blown 9 hr a day screaming was "Just colic" by the Dr. turns out she has multiple allergies. That I found out by an elimination diet. I am being treated by a complimentory medicine Dr for hypothyroid that no one else would treat me for because it doesnt show on the standard tests. Even though I have family history and classic symptoms. So I think being your own advocate is very huge. And you SHOUNDNT just listen to the Drs.
Just a few things.
I realized I'm not a freak, and there are others like me lol.
And since we're a military family it has become quite invaluable.
I'm able to set up playgroups and support systems before we even move to our new duty station.
I take everything on the internet with a grain of salt, but I also don't turn away from new friendships and great advice.
Married to Hubs, DD Miss A (Oct 2008), DS Bubba E (April 2010)
Beenmum: Maybe that's why your bf hates the internet. However, I've also seen people self-diagnose on the net, argue with their doctors over it, and been proven right in the long run. If your bf actually listens to his patients, I can see his point. I, personally, am very hesitant to see a doctor again, and will only go if it's something that's having a massive negative impact on my life, for an extended period of time, or seems immediatel threatening (eg. I may have to get my diastasis surgically closed at some point, but it's going to have cause me a lot more grief that it already does before I'll go that route). This is not because of what I've read on the net, but because of the fact that they don't listen to me, and I don't need diagnosis from people who refuse to listen to what's actually happening.
All that aside, and back ot the OP.
I like the net for information, but more in an exposure sense than a seriously educational sense. DS2 probably has special needs. I'm having trouble pinning them down. But, without having been exposed to the existence of SPD and some of the more mild manifestatons of being on the spectrum, I'd probably still be trying to figure out what was so awful about my parenting that my son was behaving in these ways. I don't know that his issues are either of those things (although everybody I know irl who has experience with kids with ASD thinks he's on the spectrum), but at least I have a starting direction.
And, I find the community aspect valuable. I'm getting back on my feet, but the last 5-6 years have knocked me on my ass in a big way. I needed a lot of support and finding it locally was problematic for many reasons. I got it here, and the net also indirectly introduced me to some women who have become my "tribe" in many ways. I haven't know them that long (a year or two, depending which ones we're talking about), and I already have trouble imagining my life, and the lives of my kids, without them.
The net's a tool. I've abused it, and am working on getting that under control. But, it's been very positive for me and my family, overall.
Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) , Emma (5/03) , Evan (7/05) , & Jenna (6/09)
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing Aaron Ambrose (11/07)
I like the feedback from a broad range of perspectives. I'm a pretty straight-arrow, traditional, midwestern person surrounded by a lot of people fairly similar to me. I can often predict what my Mom, or my IRL friends, will say about things in my life. But on MDC, I get feedback from all over the place - geographically, sociologically, philosophically. Sometimes, another member's perspective will be something I never would have expected - or come up with on my own - yet when I think about it, it makes sense.
Also, reading other people's issues and thinking about how to be helpful in response is an excellent mental exercise, for examining your own values, priorities and beliefs.
It's healthy, too, to have an outlet for discussing things besides your partner. My husband and I are great friends and talk about everything, but, for example, he had a very difficult custody battle over his son from a previous marriage. For a long time, that was (unavoidably) a main topic of conversation between us. Once he "won" custody, I continued to think about those issues a lot - as well as all the new issues that accompany helping to raise another woman's child. But it didn't feel healthy for our marriage, to let his ex-wife continue being such a big topic, after the biggest problem with her was solved. So DH and I still discuss important issues about his ex, but I explore a lot of things here, too, so DH and I can mainly focus on "regular" family life.
And let's be honest, sometimes when you have children it's easier to conduct online friendships. I mean, you need the regular kind, too! But it's very conducive to motherhood, to be able to "listen" and respond to friends' thoughts when you have the time; and to be able to stop, mid-message, and return when it suits you, without having to make any explanations or apologies or feel torn between your screaming toddler and a friend in need.
To be honest, I think that socially the Internet undermines my confidence a lot. People are so blunt and candid about their judgementalism, and extremists seem the norm online.
I've learned a lot about the parent I want to be from being on MDC and other message boards. I read things that I would NEVER do and things that I want to TRY. Certain parenting books (that I would never have heard of,) have changed my life.