Daddies Go Digital

ByKelly Moeller
January 08, 2009, 12:06 AM

June 13, 2008— -- Traditionally, moms are the parents actively seeking online help on child-rearing. But with a spate of new social networks, suddenly it looks like there's about to be a cyber 180.

Several social networking sites just for fathers have recently caught the attention of eager daddies across the country, researchers say. Sites such as www.dadosphere.com, www.justdaddys.net and www.discoveringdad.net offer fathers the opportunity to connect with each other and blog on issues such as handling their wives' postpartum depression, being an Army dad and juggling life with kids. Like traditional networking sites, these venues allow men to upload photos, join groups and initiate discussions with each other.

According to an August 2006 Pew Internet Project survey, 16 percent of online adults use social networking sites.

Now, however, according to senior research specialist Mary Madden, "it is safe to assume it is much higher."

Social networking sites "allow others to lend support through shared experiences," Madden said.

When a pool of social networking users becomes too large, the result is the birth of a new network, such as a daddy blogging site, according to Madden. This highly specialized networking is referred to as "niche social networking."

Madden believes that another reason there has been a rise in the number of social networking dads is because new parents are more likely to turn somewhere for advice and social networks are already a part of younger generations.

"This trend occurs more with young adults and they are already a member of social online communities," Madden said. "It is a natural extension to share this aspect of their lives."

Kelby Carr, co-owner of Dadosphere.com, says that her new site, which launches on Sunday, Father's Day, is based on the idea that men communicate differently than woman. Carr, who also publishes mommy blogs including www.typeamom.net, says that there is a plethora of mommy help sites out there, but fathers seek and provide advice in a unique style.

"It's more like buddies at a pub talking," she said.

In recent years, there has also been an increase in the number of stay-at-home dads, which may lead to their interest in specialized dad networking sites, Carr said.

"As society evolves, men need more support from one another," she said.

Jeremy Biser, the publisher of www.discoveringdad.net and a daddy blogger himself, initially started his social networking site to meet other men who were in similar situations.

A father of three, Biser recently took his 3-week-old daughter home from the hospital. His daughter, who was six weeks premature, became one of his many topics on his blogs.

"It was amazing to see how many people had the same experiences," he said. "It's encouraging to know you're not alone."

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