As parents, we devote so much time to preparing our kids for the real world, teaching them everything from the ABCs to how to drive. Here at GoDaddy, we’ve noticed that more and more parents are getting a head start on teaching their children about the importance of an online presence — sometimes even before they’re born! We conducted a study of 1,000 millennial parents (aged 24 to 38) and 1,000 Gen X parents (aged 39 to 53) to learn more.
Kids’ digital identity on the radar for Gen X and millennial parents
The results of the study were fascinating. Millennials were especially aware that kids born today will need to have a firm understanding of how to maintain their online presence.
In fact, forty-eight percent of millennial parents believe it’s important for their child to have an online presence early in life, compared to just 27 percent of Gen X respondents.
Parents of all ages were conscious of their children’s digital identity, though: 94 percent of all survey respondents reported that they plan to speak to their children about how to responsibly maintain their online presence.
The study also found that 20 percent of millennial parents have created a website for their children, suggesting that a website can be a helpful tool for parents to teach kids about thoughtful management of their online identity. (And interestingly, of those millennial parents that created a website, an astounding 79 percent actually changed the top contenders for their baby’s name based on the availability of that domain name!)
Millennial parents are ‘digital natives’
The study suggested that millennials’ familiarity with the importance of an online presence might come from their own experiences growing up as digital natives.
In addition to the 20 percent of millennial parents who have created a website for their children, an additional 18 percent haven’t created a website for their child yet, but have considered it. The top two reasons parents cited for creating a website include:
- For future job searching (48 percent)
- For college application purposes (47 percent)
Some parents (37 percent) believe personal websites will take the place of social media, so they created a website with this in mind.
Websites can grow with children into adulthood
This raises an interesting point. Social networks are fleeting, but a website provides an everlasting way to claim one’s digital identity.
More than ever, it’s essential to own your own identity on the internet, and millennials know that better than anyone else.
Education on how to represent oneself online is another top priority for parents, with 42 percent of all respondents who had created a website for their kids reporting that they intended to use it as a tool to teach their kids how to exist on the internet.
Own your online presence
The survey results point back to a larger shift towards owning your own online presence. When asked about their own digital identity, millennial parents were nearly twice as likely to have their own domain and/or website than Gen X’ers — 29 percent vs. 17 percent.
Today, so much of life happens online, and we’re now seeing parents ensure that their kids will have a place for themselves online in the future.