Dad Groups On Social Media: Toxic or Helpful?
Most well adjusted individuals seek out groups that reflect the same values, experiences or interests. It's an ongoing struggle to find a place where you fit in and sometimes let off some steam. The question is whether or not these groups do more harm than good? Do people legitimately get good information from these groups or is it just a place for bullies and nit wits to gather? in this post i'll spell out what I have witnessed in the various groups that I'm part of.
Dads are and can be just as obnoxious, back stabbing and petty as moms can be. If you've been on the internet for more than 5 minutes you've seen the snarky remarks people leave for one another. You've seen groups that were once awesome, split off into factions because of one reason or another. inevitably most internet groups fail to maintain their initial popularity because of toxic individuals or administrators that do not hold the members to the same standards.
So which groups do I associate with? Tons. Ok, more like 3 or 4. The groups I am part of have all had some level of turmoil due to one of the aforementioned reasons. For example, I love gaming and just so happens there are multiple groups of dad gamers on Facebook. One in particular is Gaming Dads. This group, in my opinion is the best groups that I've been part of and probably the best currently serving the Dad gamer community. What makes them the best? It comes down to a REAL sense of community. I feel like I can comfortably nerd out with the guys in the group and they don't judge me. We all know the joy games brought to us as kids and we never grew up in that sense.
We tend to maintain the theme of the group by sticking to gaming related topics. Moderators do a great job at ensuring that we stick to the topic of gaming and introducing gaming to our kids as a way to bond with them. Another group, Geek Dads is similar in that we manage to keep politics and current turbulent topics at bay and focus on our geekdom. Other than the occasional off topic wife gripes these two groups serve as a valuable venue for like dads. That's not always the case though.
Some of the other groups I've been part of are pools of toxic waste. Dads that judge other dads because they spank their child...or don't. Keyboard warriors that are quick to tell someone to 'man up' or to 'wear the pants' in the family. These guys have nothing but venom spewing from their mouths, seeking to one up everyone in the group. These groups have be known to have multiple people essentially rage quit the group. The extent of the rage quit could be just a quick ' You guys suck, I'm out' to lengthy monologues detailing the injustices that were committed against the person. Instead of looking at the concerns these guys have about the group the others left behind either silently agree with the quitter but remain silent or they bash the fella in a trail of insults.
Some of these groups are wonderful support systems that I have turned to for outsider advice. most of the feedback I get from my questions are mostly constructive and I've used their advice with pretty good success as a result. In these same groups I've seen multiple men literally screaming out for help because they are in a huge custody battle and genuinely need a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. There have been a few guys on the verge of suicide that reached out for help in the group and received a flood of phone numbers and contact information from other men willing to talk. I've seen dads struggling with cancer or their kids were battling cancer and the group would wrap their collective arms around that fellow dad and offer up prayers. It's touching to see the group create memorials when those dads lose their battles with illness or their kid couldn't fight anymore.
So, to answer my original question, I'd say most groups I've experienced have been helpful. I suggest finding Gaming Dads, Geek Dads, Daddy Combat (New Group) and The Dad Edge.