Research on Parenthood and the Internet: Themes and Trends


The purpose of this study was to review articles about parenthood and the internet published in the medical, educational, and social sciences. The aim was to identify themes and trends in the available literature. A building block strategy was designed and used to achieve a high recall rate. By searching PubMed, ERIC, PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, and Social Services Abstracts, 484 articles were retrieved. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were set to identify relevant articles. A sample comprising 94 articles was considered relevant in relation to the topic. We found that since the field of research was opened in 1997, there has been an increased interest for the topic from a variety of academic disciplines in various countries. Four themes were found in the body of literature: web site analysis, user patterns, online support groups, and interventions. In the first years, researchers were occupied with listing useful web sites for parents and analyzed them regarding quality and accuracy. After that a clearer focus on parents’ online user patterns emerged, followed by an interest for online support groups. More recently, there has been an increase in using the internet for various interventions.

internet; parenthood; literature review
Author biographies

Kristian Daneback

Kristian_ultra malyKristian Daneback, Ph.D. is the Professor of Social Work at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and in the Faculty of Social Studies at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. His main field of research is sexuality and in particular internet sexuality, but he is also interested in other internet related phenomena such as parenthood and the internet, cyberbullying, and how the internet can be used to collect qualitative and quantitative data. Daneback has published his research in several well known international journals such as Archives of Sexual Behavior, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, & Social Networking, Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, Journal of Bisexuality, and Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity. In addition, he is a reviewer for journals such as Journal of Sex Research, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, Pediatrics, Sex Roles, and Sexual Reproduction & Health Care. Currently he serves as the Associated Editor of Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace and is a Board Member of the Open Journal of Communication and ISRN Family Medicine. Daneback is also a member of the International Academy of Sex Research and the Association of Internet Researchers.

Lars Plantin

Author photo Lars Plantin is a PhD and senior lecturer at the Faculty of Health and Society, Department for Social Work at the University of Malmö, Sweden. He leads the project “Parenthood and the Internet: New interfaces and information pathways to modern parenting” which is funded by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research. His main interest of research is the area of parenting, with a special focus on fatherhood. He has published in several international journals and worked with consultancy for WHO in issues on fatherhood.

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