Media Release: Scottish mums turn to internet first for childcare advice

THE internet has taken over from family and friends as the number one source of advice on bringing up a baby for young Scottish mums, according to new research from BT and website, Netmums.

Social changes, such as young people living further away from their own parents and the rise of ‘virtual community’ on the internet, mean that 41.7 per cent of Scottish mums turn to the internet first for advice on health and parenting.

It means the internet has edged ahead of words of wisdom from kith and kin, with 41.4 per cent saying they’d ask their own mum or sister for tips first. A health visitor would be the first port of call for 10.8 per cent and 5.4 per cent would consult their GP first.

The BT research reveals a new picture of connected Britain, with mums using the internet not only for information gathering and research, but also for friendship and support.

Online friendships, previously considered by some to be superficial and anonymous, are now being taken beyond the computer screen and out into the community. Almost half of the Scottish mums, 47.8 per cent, have met friends through the internet, and nearly one quarter, 24.4 per cent, have actually met up in person.

Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of Netmums, said: “It’s astonishing how important the internet has become to mums of today. Right across the country, mums from all walks of life are using the internet for social interaction, support and advice from other mums whether they live just down the road or 400 miles away. Even more astonishing is the number of online friends who are now meeting up in their local areas and putting a face to the name.

“The way families use the internet has changed so much over the last few years and the change is most extreme when you look at us mums. The internet is now a well-established lifeline to many mums and this study shows that when they need a sounding-board, they will log on to get support even before they call a family member or their GP for advice.”

Lesley Gavin, BT Futurologist, said: “The dramatic growth of broadband in Scotland means modern mums can find the help and support they need online.

“Twenty years ago, mums had a limited number of options when it came to help and advice; being online now opens up so many opportunities. No matter where they are or what time they log on, the internet can help mums to seek advice and reliable information about a hundred different things at the click of a button. To me, the internet is all about empowerment and increased choice for modern mums.”

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