Thursday, 18 March 2010

I'm a twit!

Are you? I hope so, because it's damn good fun. Where else, in the space of fifteen minutes, could you chat to a couple of dozen people about blogging comment systems, bath-time, the different roles of mums and dads and toddler vocabulary? Or in the course of a day discuss such varied topics as an Ulster Fry, the best Dublin bar (it was St Patrick's Day yesterday), an economical alternative to champagne (Valdo Prosecco Nero Mascalese according to @ThatGirl39) or the the 'interesting' follow habits of Twitter's best-ever avatar @IceApartment? 

I've posted about Twitter before. I think it's a marvellous tool. But then the other day a PR got in touch about a new twitter project. The idea is to get dads talking about their role. Research by and Dads Space (part of the DCSF’s Family Information Programme) suggests that us dads could do with a bit more peer support. Apparently a whopping 85% said they don’t talk or share concerns about their children with other fathers.

Now, mums are good at this. And there are lots of mums on twitter. Even as a twitter 'lurker' if you follow what they're saying you can't help but learn something. And if you're reading tweets, then why not join in? 

Hence #dadtalk. It isn't always easy for dads to do the talking. We're notoriously taciturn with a tendency to get passionate only about such things as David Beckham's tendon-injury or the the impartiality of Man Utd refereeing.   

But the same research reveals that 57% of dads think they should be spending more time with their children, but that their working day makes it impossible. And almost 60% got home too late during the week to even give their kids a bath. 

Here are some more results:

  • British dads don’t feel as confident (48%) or appreciated (43%) as mums; 
  • The majority of dads surveyed (8 out of 10) agreed there wasn’t enough information and support available for them, claiming they don’t feel as confident as their partner or wife – particularly when it came to opening up and talking one-to-one with their children (41%); 
  • Currently 26% of dads said their partner or wife took most of the parental responsibility. 

And the things dads would like to do more of with their children include:

  • playing their favourite sports with them (46%); 
  • doing more after school activities (39%); and 
  • reading them their favourite bedtime story (40%). 

I don't know if getting busy dads to tweet will help much. But anything's worth a try. The few dads I meet as I do the rounds of toddler groups with Charlie tend to bring out the stereotypical male in me, and we end up talking about... well, balls to put it bluntly.

But I'd love to know if they think they're missing out on precious moments with their kids. Or how the childcare roles are divided in their household. I now know a bit more about who does bathtime, thanks to twitter. And I hope that's just the start.

So if you're a dad, I'd like to know what you think. Does this research ring true? And if you're a mum, do the figures match what your man thinks and does?

And if you're a twit like me, don't forget to take a look at #dadtalk.

You never know what we might end up discussing

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