Supporting the Complex Social Lives of New Parents

Austin L. Toombs, Kellie Morrissey, Emma Simpson, Colin M. Gray, John Vines, Madeline Balaam

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

Abstract / Description of output

One of the many challenges of becoming a parent is the shift in one's social life. As HCI researchers have begun to investigate the intersection of sociotechnical system design and parenthood, they have also sought to understand how parents' social lives can be best supported. We build on these strands of research through a qualitative study with new parents regarding the role of digital technologies in their social lives as they transition to parenthood. We demonstrate how sociotechnical systems are entangled in the ways new parents manage their relationships, build (or resist building) new friendships and ad hoc support systems, and navigate the vulnerabilities of parenthood. We discuss how systems designed for new parents can better support the vulnerabilities they internalize, the diverse friendships they desire, and the logistical challenges they experience. We conclude with recommendations for future design and research in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
PublisherACM Association for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Print)9781450356206
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2018
Event2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 21 Apr 201826 Apr 2018

Publication series

NameCHI '18
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery


Conference2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • care work
  • vulnerability
  • social connection
  • motherhood
  • fatherhood
  • implicit care
  • new parents
  • parenthood
  • interpersonal relationships


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