Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Parenting Companies Promoting Social Good?

I don't often fuss about smaller parenting websites. The mainstream media and bigger sites provide too much fodder as it is. From time to time though I just can't cope with some of these sites, especially the ones that sell their own products but at first glance appear to promote not stuff but ideas, in fact, the organizations appear to advocate for children or families. They often look so smart and so well-meaning. Not forgetting that I too come to you from social media, I sometimes wish it weren't so easy to put together a really polished site then brand, market, publicize, tweet the heck out of it and the offerings for sale. That is what happens, right?

I can't help but notice a newish site attracting some media attention. Its name suggests a general parenting venue and it comes across as a champion of parents and children. Guess what, the mom behind the venture used to work in PR. Surprise. That's what makes her an expert. On child development. Etc. Maybe I'd have left it alone but wouldn't you know, there's an expert section. Yes the people writing there have what appear to be expert-like credentials but it's hardly a balanced selection and its culled by our PR expert.

The site also features a number of products for parents to buy. While I have nothing against a person making money there's something unsettling to me about a site that wants to both provide "expert" child development information and sell stuff related to such advice. I know the big commercial sites weave experts with products (both ads and merchandise) but I think it's more obvious on the BabyCenters and Babbles. Also, the aforementioned site has a very definite point of view and the "experts" and the information presented all go to support this agenda and I have to believe sell the products.

I even agree with a lot of the perspective presented and the mission but I prefer it when sites present the supposed evidence behind their products or agendas in a clearly marked section called "The Evidence" or "The Research." So then it's quite clear what's going on. On the site in question, though, it's more subtle. And no it doesn't promote breastfeeding, attachment parenting or any terribly controversial topics.

Is anyone else troubled by this? Does this bother you?





2 comments:

Awesome Mom said...

It is so common now you just have to be aware and check out the source of the information before swallowing it hook line and sinker.

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Awesome, well said but I'd change that to hook, line and DVD collection.