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Wed 28 Jan 2009 07:23 AM

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70% of UAE mums see internet as 'lifeline' - survey

New poll reveals web is playing increasingly important role in lives of mothers.

The internet is playing a major role in the everyday life of mothers in the UAE, with many regarding it as their lifeline to the outside world, according to a new survey.

Mums are increasingly using the internet as both a parenting and leisure tool, said the UAE chapter of Living La Vida Rapida, a global survey by OMD.

The study explored online parents' lifestyle and media preferences globally, as well as how advertisers and marketers can leverage the insights uncovered to communicate with them more effectively.

The global survey was conducted with more than 7,000 respondents, all parents, in 14 countries around the world.

In the UAE, the survey was conducted with a sample of more than 300 online married females with children (87 percent Emiratis and 13 percent Arabs and expatriates) whose primary role was housekeeping (35 percent employed, 65 percent housewives or students).

The survey found that today's mothers in the UAE are technically savvy and have strong emotional associations with media such as the internet, mobile phones, TV, radio and print media, commonly using them for communication, leisure and even disciplinary reasons.

The survey also found that 62 percent of UAE mothers described themselves as 'super-mums' using these technologies to pack several more hours of work into the one day.

More than 70 percent described the internet as a lifeline, as 82 percent turned to the internet in their free time, while 87 percent admitted they could not survive without their mobile phones.

The internet was also an educational tool for both parent and child, with a very high percentage of mums using it to search for information concerning better healthcare and nutrition for their children or general parenting blogs.

UAE mums use email and internet only a fraction less than their US counterparts, with 74 percent as opposed to 85 percent in the US using email or instant messaging.

The difference was more pronounced with looking for news online, 46 percent against 72 percent in the US.

Shadi Kandil, general manager of OMD Dubai, said: "This study has put a microscope on today's parent and since no two cultures are the same it was important to have results from a UAE perspective.

"The results have been very interesting, sometimes surprising and particularly useful, as they ultimately allow us to maximise an advertiser's impact on this key target group."

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