Pseudonymous Parents: Comparing Parenting Roles and Identities on the Mommit and Daddit Subreddits

CSMR researchers explore gender-role conformity and community, with support from the Mozilla Corporation and the National Science Foundation. Their work helps platforms better understand and serve parents seeking peer-support and discussion on issues of discipline, competition, purchases, faith, and online behavior.
Tawfiq Ammari, University of Michigan School of Information Sarita Schoenebeck, University of Michigan School of Information Daniel M. Romero, University of Michigan School of Information ABSTRACT - Gender equality between mothers and fathers is critical for the social and economic wellbeing of children, mothers, and families. Over the past 50 years, gender roles have begun to converge, with mothers doing more work outside of the home and fathers doing more domestic work. However, popular parenting sites in the U.S. continue to be heavily gendered. We explore parenting roles and identities on the platform Reddit.com which is used by both mothers and fathers. We draw on seven years of data from three major parenting subreddits—Parenting, Mommit, and Daddit—to investigate what topics parents discuss on Reddit and how they vary across parenting subreddits. We find some similarities in topics across the three boards, such as sleep training, as well as differences, such as fathers talking about custody cases and Halloween. We discuss the role of pseudonymity for providing parents with a platform to discuss sensitive parenting topics. We conclude by highlighting the benefits of both gender-inclusive and rolespecific parenting boards. This work provides a roadmap for using computational techniques to understand parenting practices online at large scale. Author Keywords Reddit; gender; parenting; anonymity; pseudonymity; social media; language. ACM Classification Keywords H.5.m. Information interfaces and presentation (e.g., HCI): Miscellaneous.
ACM 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, April 21–26, 2018, Montreal, QC, Canada. https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3174063 .