Brad Down

MEDIA RELEASE: Forget priests. Social media and online forums now answer women's prayers.

With the ease of online forums and the explosion of Facebook, it's no surprise that a growing number of women are finding essential connections through the Internet. A full 68% of women online in Australia have used Facebook in the last 3 months, and nearly a quarter visited parenting forums. For women, these social networks provide a means to share information, connect, and communicate. And though women have always been adept at doing this offline, these new tools make it far more efficient -- a vital factor considering the time challenges that plague women today.

Katie May, Chief Executive of www.kidspot.com.au and author of the newly released white paper Australian Women: Pragmatic and Real; Coming Full Circle in 2010, explains, “The Internet allows women a quick and easy means of gratifying their basic need for human connection, while directly giving her access to the information she finds vital. Our research points to the Internet as the ideal tool for a contemporary woman's survival.” Kidspot’s research with nearly 5K women in Australia shows that online forums attract the majority of mums under the age of 40.  51 percent of mums aged 18-24 and 47 percent of mums aged 25-39 years have visited an online forum in the last 3 months.
 
Take first-time mum Su Dharmapala as a case study. Prior to having kids, she considered forums the domain of desperate housewives, but when her two-year-old son mysteriously wouldn't gain weight – and the doctors had no answers -- she went online. "On the internet, I found more than just information, I found forums. I found not just one other mother going through a similar experience, but whole communities of them! I found other mothers who were equally as frustrated with medical fraternity and their lack of answers. I was not alone."
 
Eventually she found that her son had a rare and serious reflux condition, and discovered a drug being tested in America that she says "would have taken months" for her to hear about had she not had the global reach of the Internet.
 
"Now my son has now turned a corner, but I still hang out with my virtual mum’s group. I mentor other women who are going through what I went through. I support them and reassure them that they are not going insane."
 
Dharmapala's story captures how useful connecting with other women online can be -- both practically and emotionally -- and how these virtual interactions become a mode of life.
 
"The Internet provides a real time advantage for connecting with others in common," May said. "This includes very specific connection criteria such as someone looking for a mum toilet-training a boy with autism or another facing sleepless nights of uncontrolled crying or someone needing the best gluten-free chocolate cake recipe. The beauty of online is these connections can be made in a matter of seconds, and the depth of sharing without fear of rejection forms fast but lasting friendships.”
 
As Dharmapala's story makes clear, social media and online forums allow mums access to the cumulative knowledge, experience, and support of a whole globe of women. And they're finding each other.
 
END
 
For further information, a full copy of the report or to arrange an interview with Katie May, Kidspot Chief Executive please contact:
 
Natalie Mactier
Kidspot.com.au Pty Ltd
M. 0413 252 843
nmactier@kidspot.com.au
 
About the Survey:
The SheSpot research was conducted to explore the woman of Australia today - her growth, her advancement, her values, her happiness, her expectations and her relationship with money and spending. The survey is based on a quantitative study of 2,258 Australian women conducted between October 7, 2009 and November 3, 2009 using online survey software across four SheSpot websites:
•          www.kidspot.com.au
•          www.birth.com.au
•          www.bestrecipes.com.au
•          www.easyweddings.com.au
The online study was augmented with a series of moderated focus groups and interviews which took place the week of December 14, 2009. It is also the cumulative work of expert interviews and desk research compiled by SheSpot during 2009 and early 2010 to supplement and corroborate the findings.
 
Respondent profile:
AGE
•          18-24 (9%)
•          25-39 (48%)
•          40-54 (27%)
•          55-65 (11%)
•          65+ (3%)
MARITAL STATUS
•          Single, never married (5%)
•          Living with partner (23%)          
•          Married (61%
•          Divorced (4%)
NUMBER OF CHILDREN (under the age of 18 living at home)
•          1 child (14.9%)
•          2 children (24.1%)
•          3 children (21.5%)
•          4 children (8.2%)
•          5 or more children (2.7%)
AGES OF CHILDREN
•          < 12mths (14.9%)
•          12-23mths (9.8%)
•          2-4 years (21.6%)
•          5-12 years (23.3%)
•          12-18 years (10.6%)
•          18 years+ (18.8%)
EMPLOYMENT STATUS
•          66% employed
•          34% not working
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTIBUTION
•          53% in a capital city
•          23% in a regional city with >20K but <100K people
•          13% in a large city (>100K)
•          12% in a city with less than 20K
 
About SheSpot
SheSpot is 100% owned by Kidspot, the #1 website for parents in Australia and New Zealand. SheSpot offers a straightforward way to reach 1.8M Australian women across 7 premium online properties including www.Kidspot.com.au, www.birth.com.au, www.bestrecipes.com.au and www.easyweddings.com.au.   
For more information visit www.shespot.com.au
 
About Kidspot.com.au
Kidspot is the leading parenting website in Australia and New Zealand. Around 750,000 Australian mums rely on the comprehensive directory, parenting information & advice, family friendly recipes and kid’s activities each month.


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