New challenges in family support: The use of digital technology in supporting parents

Lauren Lamberton*, John Devaney, Lisa Bunting

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study explores how digital technology is being used to provide innovative family support services (FSS), and the challenges and opportunities that this holds for practitioners in delivering the service. Online services hold the possibility of accessing increasing numbers of parents, and providing support that fits with their own needs and availability. Using the parenting website Netmums as a case study, this article explores how staff who engage with parents online understand their role in both supporting parents and safeguarding children. This exploratory study involved in-depth semi-structured online interviews with Netmums′ staff (n = 13). A thematic analysis identified a number of key themes, the most frequently occurring being in relation to: identifying and responding to child safeguarding concerns; and the false impression by parents of anonymity in the online environment. This exploratory research raises more questions than it can answer, especially in relation to managing child safeguarding concerns while maintaining a ‘mum friendly’ approach. Online interventions show promise but there is a need for further evaluation of these forms of intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-372
Number of pages14
JournalChild Abuse Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • child protection
  • parents/mothers/fathers
  • qualitative study
  • safeguarding children


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