RBC study examines the Internet’s impact on Canadian families and small business owners
TORONTO, January 23, 2002 – An RBC Financial
Group/Ipsos-Reid study released today suggests that Canadian families are making major
lifestyle changes in response to the wave of new communications technologies entering their homes.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos-Reid for RBC, was designed
to achieve an understanding of how families and small business owners are balancing the
new demands and opportunities of home and work life in the context of technological change.
“The personal computer has become the nerve centre of
the new online home,” said Martin Stevens, director, eCommerce at RBC Financial
Group. “The PC and the Internet are redefining how Canadians approach many aspects of
their lives including shopping, banking, commuting, family activities, home design and communications.”
In fact, Canadian online families have become so enamored
with the versatility of their PCs that the majority (51 per cent) would choose it over a
telephone or television if stuck on a deserted island. And it’s not just the adults that
find it handy. With the average family spending more than 32 hours online per week, more
than 40 per cent of parents said they have had to negotiate with their kids to get on the computer.
Canadian families have also discovered that surfing the
Internet is a good way to spend time together, with 39 per cent of parents saying they
sometimes go online with their kids, and 12 per cent saying they always go online with
their kids. That’s probably a good thing given that 56 per cent of parents admit that they
have learned at least some of what they know about the Internet from their children.
Almost half of Canadian Internet-using families have more
than one computer. The average family spends more than 1,600 hours online per year (more
than 32 hours per week). 59 per cent of adults with a home Internet connection have
purchased an item directly online. 57 per cent of parents have guidelines about how and
when the computer is to be used; 48 per cent say they place curfews on their kids’
Internet usage. 20 per cent of all families with home Internet access have computers that
have been networked to others within the home. 48 per cent of parents admit their kids
have at least some influence on the purchase of new technology for the household.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what would you take
with you? The survey of 750 online parents with children under 18 living at home shows
that Canadian families even seem to prefer surfing the Internet to channel surfing. Half
of respondents (51per cent) said that if stuck on a deserted island for a month they would
prefer to have a computer with Internet access rather than a television – with only 21 per
cent choosing a telephone and 12 per cent choosing a television.
The New Online Family Parents are finding that as there are
more and more things for their kids to do on the computer and online, they are having to
create new rules and restrictions for how and when their kids use the computer. Over half
of parents (57 per cent) have guidelines about when and how the computer is to be used and
48 per cent say they place time limits or curfews on their kids’ Internet usage. 41 per
cent say that they have had to negotiate computer or Internet time in the household.
When it comes to learning about technology, some parents
(48 per cent) find that they are ahead of their kids while others (56 per cent) admit that
they have learned at least some of what they know about the Internet from their children.
The New Online Home
Canadian families are finding that new technology has
affected not only their family relationships, but how their homes are set up to
accommodate new technologies. Just over one-in-three parents (37 per cent) say that they
have redesigned, reconfigured or renovated a portion of their living space to accommodate their computer(s).
Home area networks (HANs) have also become much more
prevalent with 43 per cent of families with two more computers in the home having turned
to networking the PCs together, in order to share peripherals such as a colour printer, a
scanner or high-speed Internet connection.
Balancing Work and Family in the Online Household
The growth of the Internet and the emergence of new
technologies has made the balance between work and family life much easier for many
Canadian families. 72 per cent of the parents surveyed agreed that telecommuting allows
them to spend more time with their family.
Many household chores that used to require leaving the
house can now be done online. Over half of parents with a home Internet connection have
purchased an item directly online (59 per cent) and 57 per cent have conducted online
banking transactions. Over half of parents (58 per cent) also agree that banking or
shopping online has allowed them to spend more time at home with their kids.
For more detailed survey results, please visit:
About RBC Financial Group
A recognized leader in technology innovation and eBusiness, RBC Financial Group currently
has more than 1.9 million active Canadian online customers. RBC has formed strategic
alliances with industry leaders including AOL Canada, Mediagrif Interactive Technologies
Inc. and CashEdge, using new technologies to improve service and enhance value for its
customers. RBC’s eBusiness products, services and technology infrastructure have been
recognized for excellence in the external marketplace by a number of top industry
technology and research firms including Gartner Group Inc., Forrester Research Inc. and
Speers & Associates among others. For more information, visit RBC’s Web site at
At the RBC.com Web site, the following are available:
Full Report in PDF format – Canadian Families and the Internet
Brochure in PDF format – Canadian Families and the Internet