Work Life and Family Life Collide: Online Support for New Fathers

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The purpose of this investigation was to analyze online discussions about parental leave in relation to the work lives and private lives of new fathers. A netnographic study of nearly 100 discussion threads from a freely accessible online forum for fathers was conducted. Data were coded, sorted, and categorized by qualitative similarities and differences. The results of the study indicate that new fathers seek Internet forums to discuss work-related topics. Parental leave can provoke worries and anxiety related to management and co-worker attitudes which can create concern that they should be back at work. The results are presented in two categories: (a) attitudes expressed by employers and colleagues and (b) leaving work but longing to be back. The phenomenon of parental leave for fathers is more complex than simply “for” or “against” attitudes. Fathers can use Internet forums to discuss their experiences, fears, and anxiety and provide reasonable accommodations for both work and family life.

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