Children shape parents' web activity

Adults who live with children are more engaged online than those that don't, while family needs shape internet use, according to the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA).

New EIAA research reveals that people living with children are 40 per cent more likely to use the internet every week compared to those who do not live with children.

People living with children (termed 'digital parents') also engage in a wider range of digital activity, which varies according to the age of their children.

Parents of very young children (0 to four years) tend to visit health and film websites, while those living with children aged between five to nine years are going to gaming websites.

Price comparison sites are experiencing a surge in visits from people with children aged 10 to 15 years, and those with older children (16 to 18 years old) visit more TV websites.

Almost a third (30 per cent) of digital parents are watching film, TV or video clips online, demonstrating the role of digital in family entertainment.

The EIAA also claims that digital parents are using the internet to express themselves and interact with others more.

Activities such as ratings and reviews and creating and sharing content have experienced a significant boost since 2006 (+40 per cent and +27 per cent respectively).

Overall, digital parents are ramping up their web time, spending 11.6 hours online each week (up 36 per cent since 2004) and over a quarter are heavy internet users (27 per cent), while their consumption of other media is falling.

Parents are also more likely than those living without children to use the internet at the weekends (58 per cent vs. 40 per cent).

"Looking at the online habits and activities of digital families highlights just how inclusive and engaging the internet has become," said Alison Fennah, executive director of the EIAA.

"Marketers have traditionally tracked youth as a demographic online so it is particularly interesting to see their influence on the rest of the family. Whether it's time-pressures, information accessibility or entertainment needs that prompt use, online has a very clear part to play in the daily lives of each and every member of the family, whether surfing solo or together as a unit.

"Marketers must look to tap into this mindset when creating online campaigns."

The study involved more than 1,000 respondents across Europe, conducted throughout September 2007.

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