It’s tough being a parent. New parents especially often have a multitude of questions that they can soon find themselves buried under with seemingly nobody to help dig them out with a spade of answers. With work schedules becoming increasingly more hectic, many parents are turning to the Internet as a means of extinguishing the flames of their burning questions, yet it’s all too easy to get lost in the quagmire of information available out there and sometimes you just need a helping hand to steer you in the right direction.
Well, seeking to be that helping hand, as well as the spade of answers and the fire extinguisher to your burning parental questions (I’m getting lost in my own quagmire of metaphors right now), is theAsianparent Groups, a brand new Q&A community launched by theAsianparent.com. I recently sat down with Carla C. Perlas, Regional Editor-in-Chief, to find out more and we started off by discussing the motivations behind launching the new site.
“Mums love mum-to-mum interaction online. Whether it’s to ask for advice, confess about issues on the home front, gripe about in-laws or share something delightful about their kids, mums tell it all. theAsianparent Groups answers their need to constantly and instantly reach out to each other.”
More specifically, Carla explained, whilst there may be a plethora of parent communities online, there was one specific audience that was significantly under-catered for and that is why the Asianparent, which reaches over 4 million Mums in the region, decided to create their own community forum.
“theAsianparent Groups is the first online community that targets Asian mums. There are nuances to Asian parenting that non-Asian mums may not be able to relate to – such as issues about confinement and whether DOM or Yomeishu are safe during this period.”
Not only geared towards new Mums (and Dads) but rather to parents in all stages of their parenthood journey, the site is organized into different family categories so users can easily find and join the groups that cover their specific interests or life situations.
“We have over 20 categories – and each category is further broken down into different groups. For instance, under the Pregnancy category, you’ll find First Trimester, Second Trimester, Third Trimester, Childbirth, Confinement, etc.”
Recognising that the majority of parents these days are constantly out and about, Groups site is designed with a mobile-first philosophy – so that any parent who has a parenting emergency but is on-the-go running errands for the house or is stuck at work can use the site for quick reference or to send a quick shout-out to fellow parents for advice.
Whilst it has only been 2 weeks since the beta launch of the site, there are well over 3000 parents who have signed up to the platform and there are already over 100,00 questions and answers in total. As Carla explains, these questions can be incredibly wide ranging!
“Popular topics among mums are birthday party recommendations, weight loss ideas, breastfeeding and baby-led weaning tips, advice on raising toddlers and ways to make marriage work – including sex tips!”
Another great feature of the forum – and one that might encourage more Mums to switch over to this digital method of seeking advice – is the ability to remain anonymous when asking those particularly embarrassing or sensitive questions.
“We want our members to feel they can ask anything and even share advice on any topic, especially the embarrassing ones. Psychologists call it Online Disinhibition Effect – the loosening up or abandonment of inhibitions so that a person feels he/she can do or say anything online that they wouldn’t be able to do during face-to-face interactions.”
Finding answers is easy, and Mums can simply scroll down theAsianparent Groups homepage to view the most recently updated questions and answers. They can also use the search function which will curate all relevant answers across the site, even groups that they have not joined, and allow them to discover new relevant groups to participate in.
If, however, there’s a pressing topic that doesn’t yet have its own group, then parents are also encouraged to create their own and invite all of their friends to join in the discussion. Through this mechanism the site can continue to grow and help provide answers to any question that is thrown its way, no matter how weird or wonderful it might be.
Even though it’s still in its infancy (excuse the pun), theAsianparent Groups has already proved an incredibly useful platform for Asian mums around the region. As one of its members, 27-year-old new mum Cynthia Ng explains, “I’m glad there’s a place where I can voice out my problems and get helpful advice from fellow mums who understand my predicament.”