November 17, 2002

Parents Online

Part 5: Mothers and Fathers

Moms Look for Medical Information, Dads Look for News and Leisure

There are approximately 24 million mothers and 21 million fathers who use the Internet. Many of the patterns of their online use can be attributed to their gender or age, more so than their parental status. Still, there are some points to make about mothers and fathers: They are equally likely to go online, but a larger percentage of online parents with minor children living at home are female. Mothers tend to be newer to the Internet – only 45% of wired mothers have been online longer than three years as opposed to 55% of wired fathers. Fathers are more likely to go online from both work and home; mothers are more likely to go online just from home. And fathers go online more frequently than mothers; 41% of online fathers go online several times a day, compared with 34% of online mothers.

When they go online, mothers and fathers often do different things. Mothers are more likely than virtually anyone else to have looked for online health information. Fathers are more likely than mothers to read the news online, visit a government Web site, buy or sell stocks, or look for information about a particular person. Fathers are also more likely to look for financial information or information about a hobby. Mothers are more likely than fathers to look for religious information and fitness and weight loss information.

Moms and Dads Online: Percent Who Participate in Internet Activities