The new trend of millennial parents picking baby names based on available domain names 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’re in the womb.
According to the research, as many as one in five (20 percent) 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 kids for a life online before they’re even born.
The research, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of GoDaddy featured 1,000 millennial parents (aged 24-38) and 1,000 Gen X parents (aged 39-53).
The importance of a strong internet presence for children has nearly doubled among parents between the generations – 48 percent of millennials believe it’s important for their child to have an online presence early in life, compared to just 27 percent of Gen X respondents.
Millennials are especially familiar with the value of an online presence, given their own experiences growing up as digital natives. 58 percent of millennials reported getting their first social media profile between the ages of 10 and 17, compared to just 10 percent of Gen X parents.
Millennial parents are much more proactive with getting their kids set up with their own websites, too, as 38 percent have created or are considering creating a website for their kids. Only 20 percent of Gen X can say the same.
The top two reasons parents said they created a website include for future job searching (48 percent) and college application (47 percent) purposes.
Some parents (37 percent) 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 percent posted a picture of the ultrasound online, compared to 54 percent of millennial parents.
But parents of all ages are conscious of their children’s digital identity: 94 percent of all survey respondents reported that they plan to speak to their children about how to responsibly maintain their online presence.
“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,” said Melissa Schneider, trends expert at GoDaddy. “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 oneself online is a top priority for parents. Nearly half (42 percent) of respondents that had created a website for their kids intend to teach their kids what should and shouldn’t 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 percent vs 17 percent.
“The internet is where so much of life happens, and we’re seeing parents in today’s world make sure their kids 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 three reasons why parents purchased a child’s domain name before birth
• Wanted to reserve a name for future use — 45 percent
• To use as a digital baby book — 42 percent
• To use as a tool to teach kids how to use the internet — 42 percent
Top 3 reasons parents plan to purchase a domain name in the future
• Wanted to reserve their name for some future use — 54 percent
• To use as a tool to teach kids how to use the internet — 46 percent
• Think it’s important for their child to own their name online — 41 percent
Top 3 reasons parents imagine kids using their own website in the future
• College applications — 45 percent
• Job searching — 48 percent
• A personal website in place of social media — 35 percent
Generations by comparison
# of pictures posted of their child before they walked – Gen X: 50, Millennials: 107
Posted a picture of their ultrasound online – Gen X: 23%, Millennials: 54%
Age first got a cell phone – Gen X: 17, Millennials: 15
Age first had social media profile – Gen X: 17, Millennials: 15
Age they let their child have a cell phone – Gen X: 13, Millennials: 12
Age they let their child have a social media profile – Gen X: 13, Millennials: 13
Uses a smartphone app to help with parenting tasks – Gen X: 48%, Millennials: 70%