Parenting is hard work! If it could only come with a manual… But the reality is that there is little training you can do in how to raise a child. There are oodles of books, magazines, TV shows, and internet websites on the topic. As nowadays internet is the most convenient source to obtain information, it is usually the first place for parents to find answers to their everyday questions.
BUT, how can you tell if a website is reliable? Here are a few tips to guide you to evaluate if a website is reliable and appropriate for the information you are looking for:
- Look for websites from established institutions – hospitals, research centres, universities, well-known associations, etc.
- What is the purpose of the site? Websites are written for a large number of reasons: to sell a product, as a hobby, to persuade a particular opinion or view, to inform, etc. Be careful of biased information, unprofessional sources, and commercial sites.
- Look for up-to-date information – many websites are not updated and a lot of parenting information should be up-to-date, such as available parenting programs in your area, schooling information, etc.
- If you are in doubt, google the website!
- Bookmark all reliable websites you have found useful. This is an easy way to quickly access information that you have found useful in the past.
The following are three reliable Australian parenting websites that I found very useful:
Raising Children Network
The Raising Children Network (RCN) website offers up-to-date, research-based information on more than 800 topics, such as child development, behaviour, health, nutrition and fitness, play and learning, connecting and communicating, school and education, entertainment and technology, sleep and safety.
The RCN is an Australian parenting website that incorporates the advice and input of more than 180 experts, peak Australian organisations (Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Centre for Community Child Health, and Royal Children’s Hospital), and the Australian Government.
This parenting website provides “information that can help parents with the day-to-day decisions of raising children, and to also help parents and carers look after their own needs”.
From one of Australia’s most trusted broadcasters, ABC Parenting is a one stop location for advice on raising children from pregnancy all the way through to school years. The ABC has partnered with the Raising Children Network to provide up-to-date and well-researched content about a wide range of topics, including, development, behaviour, health and nutrition, and appropriate media and games. In addition, it gathers relevant stories, podcasts, video, activities and highlights of TV and radio programs from the ABC.
Parent Line is a telephone counselling service for parents and carers of children ages 0-18. The network includes local Parent Lines across Australia; please check their website for your state’s contact information. As a telephone counselling service, it provides parenting information and advice.
Although a telephone counselling service, their NSW-based website includes factual content about a wide range of topics, such as what to expect (at different developmental stages), common challenges, special needs, and more.
Did you find any of these websites useful? Do you have other reliable parenting websites? Please share them with us!