Millennial parents are picking baby names based on available domain names, a new study claims.
The new trend emerged in a study examining how the internet is shaping approaches to parenting, and how thinking about a child’s online presence now starts while they are in the womb.
According to the research, as many as one in five millennial parents said they changed or seriously considered changing their baby’s name based on what domain names were free at the time.
The study compared the parenting approaches of millennial parents against those of Gen X and found a huge growth in the number preparing their children for a life online before they are even born.
The research, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of GoDaddy featured 1,000 millennial parents, aged 24 to 38, and 1,000 Gen X parents, aged 39 to 53.
The importance of a strong internet presence for children has nearly doubled among parents between the generations – 48 per cent of millennials believe it is important for their child to have an online presence early in life, compared to just 27 per cent of Gen X respondents.
Millennials are especially familiar with the value of an online presence, given their own experiences growing up as digital natives.
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More than 50 per cent of millennials reported getting their first social media profile between the ages of 10 and 17, compared to just 10 per cent of Gen X parents.
Millennial parents are much more proactive with getting their children set up with their own websites, too, as 38 per cent have created or are considering creating a website for their children. Only 20 per cent of Gen X can say the same.
The top two reasons parents said they created a website include for future job searching (48 per cent) and college applications (47 per cent) purposes.
Some parents (37 per cent) believe personal websites will take the place of social media, and created a website with this in mind.
The results provided a revealing insight as to how the internet is an ever-growing presence in a child’s life – the average child of a millennial has 107 photos of themselves posted online before they can even walk.
This trend is only growing with time and it’s especially noticeable when comparing the millennial results to the Gen X results.
For instance, Gen X parents were found to have posted 56 pictures fewer of their child online before they could walk than millennial parents, and only 23 per cent posted a picture of the ultrasound online, compared to 54 per cent of millennial parents.
But parents of all ages are conscious of their children’s digital identity: 94 per cent of all survey respondents reported that they plan to speak to their children about how to responsibly maintain their online presence.
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Melissa Schneider, trends expert at GoDaddy, said: “It’s no longer enough to make sure that your baby is enrolled at the top elementary school at birth – parents today are claiming their child’s name and online identity to make sure that they’re set up for success down the line.
“More than ever, it’s essential to own your own identity on the internet, and millennials know that better than anyone else.
Today’s parents know that the internet is woven into the fabric of our daily lives, and teaching them how to show up well online is vital.”
Education on how to represent yourself online is a top priority for parents.
Nearly half of respondents that had created a website for their children intend to teach their children what should and should not live online, using the website.
The survey results point back to a larger shift towards owning your own online presence.
When asked about their own digital identity, millennials were nearly twice as likely to have their own domain and/or website than Gen X – 29 per cent compared to 17 per cent.
“The internet is where so much of life happens, and we’re seeing parents in today’s world make sure their children have a place for themselves online,” said Melissa Schneider of GoDaddy.
“Whether it’s to give them a leg up on school or work, or just to hold their spot for some future use, we expect to see registering for a domain become as common as registering for a stroller for new parents.”
Top 3 reasons why parents purchased / obtained child’s domain name before birth:
Wanted to reserve name for future use – 45 per cent
To use as a digital baby book – 42 per cent
To use as a tool to teach children how to use the internet – 42 per cent
Top 3 reasons parents plan to purchase a domain name in the future:
Wanted to reserve their name for some future use – 54 per cent
To use as a tool to teach children how to use the internet – 46 per cent
Think it’s important for their child to own their name online – 41 per cent
Top 3 reasons parents imagine children using their own website in the future:
College applications – 45 per cent
Job searching – 48 per cent
A personal website in place of social media – 35 per cent
Generations by comparison (Gen X / millennials):
Numbers of pictures posted of their child before they walked (50 / 107)
Posted a picture of their ultrasound online (23 per cent / 54 per cent)
Age first got a cell phone (17 / 15)
Age first had social media profile (17 / 15)
Age they let their child have a cell phone (13 / 12)
Age they let their child have a social media profile (13 / 13)
Uses a smartphone app to help with parenting tasks (48 per cent / 70 per cent)