Younger ‘Digital Moms’ are Old Hands at New Online Technologies, Says Study

A new study shows that social networks and other Web 2.0 services are the go-to forms of digital communication, interaction and research for young mothers. It also shows that Internet-savvy moms with children 12 and older take a keen interest in social networks largely so they can monitor their kids online activities.

The two-part “Digital Mom” report, co-written by Razorfish and CafeMom, an online community for mothers, purports to give marketers insights into the most effective ways to engage Web- and mobile-adept mothers. The first section of the report is based on surveys of 1,500 women with at least one child in their homes, who tried at least two “emerging technologies” and who researched or bought something online in the past 90 days. The second part focused on 1,740 active CafeMom members and included the site’s behavioral and usage data.

The study says women with children place high value on social media, mobile and other digital technologies “as a convenient means to stay connected, seek advice and information, shop and learn about products, meet others like themselves and simplify the many dimensions of their lives.” The researchers found that 47 percent of the moms with children 12 and older use social networks to monitor their children.

These mothers are much more likely to watch online video than mothers with kids under 12, says the study. It also says the age of the mothers plays a big part in the moms’ level of comfort with “newer communication platforms,” including social networks, SMS and mobile browsing, with those under 35 being significantly more likely to use the latest technologies. Older mothers, those 45 and beyond, more often use the Web to access informational tools and sites, such as news sites and online consumer reviews, says the report.

“Social media and text messaging, instant messaging and gaming, now used by the majority of digital moms, are no longer niche activities,” says the report. “It will be necessary for marketers to embrace channels that engage more than 50 percent of all digital moms, particularly as mass marketing channels shrink.”

For advertisers, the report says the gap between television and digital channels is narrowing when it comes to creating brand awareness and affecting product decisions. “Social networks are increasingly important” along those lines, says the report.

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