More Parents, Families Online

Remember when being on the Net was cool? When it was full of college students, techies, and members of Generation X, Y, Z, or whatever your preference might be? Your parents didn’t understand it and didn’t log on.

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It’s now your parents’ Internet.

Research by Cyber Dialogue found that more than 28 million US parents are now actively using the Internet. This trend is transforming the content and shopping choices available online. According to Cyber Dialogue, family-oriented users are much more likely than traditional Internet users to go online for entertainment, and are also more likely to make online purchases in most product categories.

“One lasting impact of last year’s holiday online shopping spree is the degree to which it convinced parents that the Internet can meet a wide variety of family needs,” said Cyber Dialogue Vice President Thomas Miller. “A powerful shift is now occurring away from technology-savvy early adopters toward everyday household consumers with a much broader range of interests.”

The diversifying of interests on the Internet gives online merchants and portals an opportunity to target family users, who now account for almost half of all adults that go online.

Cyber Dialogue estimates that 34 percent of US families are online, and that number should reach 61 percent in the next five years. Most online parents are in their late 30s and have two children. About half of all parents online share access with their children at home, often going online together, particularly when the children are 12 or younger, Cyber Dialogue found.

When asked if they use the Internet for fun, Cyber Dialogue found that 73 percent of parents agreed, compared to 64 percent of non-parents. Among parents under age 35, 83 percent agreed they surf mostly for fun. This attitude helps drive use of the Internet by parents and their children for online game playing, movie and television-related content, and music, Cyber Dialogue found.

Sites that provide content that addresses them needs of families are popular with families, as are health and medicine sites, insurance shopping, and online banking.

Other findings from Cyber Dialogue’s research include:

  • More mothers are online than fathers (15.1million versus 13.1 million)
  • 18.6 million parents used the Internet to research products and services
  • 8.2 million made an online purchase
  • Online shopping categories attracting the most parents include PC hardware, music, software, and consumer electronics.

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