Accessing social support and overcoming judgment on social media among parents of children with special needs

Tawfiq Ammari, Meredith Ringel Morris, Sarita Yardi Schoenebeck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

About 1 out of every 6 children has been diagnosed with a special need in the United States. For their parents, the economic and emotional costs can be overwhelming. Using a mixed methods approach, we show that parents of children with special needs rely primarily on Facebook pages, Facebook groups, and Yahoo! groups for accessing information and social support. Specifically, these groups offer geographic communities for local needs (e.g. school services) and case-based communities for specific conditions (e.g. autism). Promisingly, parents perceive less judgment online than offline when talking about their children's special needs; however, these perceptions are nuanced. In particular, posts containing humor, achievement, or treatment suggestions are perceived to be more socially appropriate than posts containing judgment, violence, or social comparisons. However, results show that social media generally fails at connecting special needs families over time and across the life span. We discuss implications for social media site design and for supporting special needs families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 8th International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, ICWSM 2014
PublisherThe AAAI Press
Pages22-31
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781577356578
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event8th International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, ICWSM 2014 - Ann Arbor, United States
Duration: Jun 1 2014Jun 4 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 8th International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, ICWSM 2014

Other

Other8th International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, ICWSM 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAnn Arbor
Period6/1/146/4/14

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications

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