November 17, 2002

Parents Online

Part 6: Parents of Younger and Older Children

Parents of Younger and Older Children and the Difference Experience Makes

In order to analyze the difference between parents of young children and parents of teenagers, we divided the parent population into two subgroups: parents of children 11 years or younger, and parents of children 12 to 17 years old. Parents with children in both age groups were put into the latter group because they share the same level of parental experience as others who have raised children into their teens. In addition, the fact that there is at least one teen in the home probably affects the concerns and behaviors of those parents regardless of the ages of other children.

Parents of younger children are more likely to use the Internet than parents of older children; as of May 2002, 81% of parents with children 11 and younger are online and 75% of parents with children 12 to 17 years of age are online. Parents of younger children have also been online longer: 51% of parents of younger children have been online more than 3 years; 45% of parents of older children have been online this long. However, between the two groups, parents of older children go online more frequently than parents of younger children. This might be attributable to the time it takes to care for small children.

These two groups of parents also do different things when they go online. Online parents of young children are more likely to read the news online, buy a product online, and go online just for fun than online parents of older children. On the other hand, those online parents with children 12 to 17 are more likely to visit government Web sites and look for health information.

Parents of Younger and Older Children: Percent Who Participate in Online Activities