The Secret Life of Online Moms: Anonymity and Disinhibition on


  • Sarita Schoenebeck University of Michigan



online, moms, anonymity, forums, motherhood, family, children, social media, Internet


Moms are one of the fastest growing demographics online. While much is known about where they spend their time, little is known about how they spend it. Using a dataset of over 51 million posts and comments from the website, this paper explores what kinds of topics moms talk about when they are not constrained by norms and expectations of face-to-face culture. Results show that almost 5% of posts are about dh, or “dear husband,” but these posts tend to express more negative emotion than other posts. The average post is only 124 characters long and family and daily life are common categories of posting. This suggests that YouBeMom is used as a fast-paced social outlet that may not be available to moms in other parts of their lives. This work concludes with a discussion of anonymity and disinhibition and puts forth a new provocation that moms, too, spend time online “for the lulz.”




How to Cite

Schoenebeck, S. (2021). The Secret Life of Online Moms: Anonymity and Disinhibition on Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 7(1), 555-562.