Father involvement is important for child well-being. However, fathers still do significantly less childcare than mothers, due in part to traditional gender norms. This research investigates whether incorporating do-it-yourself (DIY) language and imagery into parenting blogs is an effective mechanism for boosting fathers’ willingness to perform childcare activities. We conducted a between-subjects experiment with 374 participants in the U.S. who responded to ten parenting blog posts. Subjects were randomized to view posts with either DIY or neutral language and either routine childcare activities (e.g., changing diapers) or interactive ones (e.g., finger painting). Results show that DIY language actually decreases a father’s willingness to do a childcare activity. Further, fathers underestimate how socially appropriate it is for them to perform childcare activities and this misperception relates to their willingness to get involved. We draw on social normsliterature to recommend next steps for designing interfaces to support father involvement in childrearing. (Author abstract)
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