Home Internet Use Important For Benefits Info Delivery

November 19, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A survey underlining the growing popularity of home Internet use comes as more companies are putting information about retirement plans and other benefits online.

A Pew Internet & American Life Project survey found that 70% of parents with a child at home had home Internet access, compared to 53% of nonparents.

That could be important for corporate benefit managers intent on finding ways to deliver reams of benefit information to employees at a time when they can most effectively review it and make any needed choices.

Benefits professionals say having more workers with home Internet access allows the employees to discuss the benefit options with their spouse – a particularly important step with the simultaneous growth of consumer-driven health-care plans where workers can make more choices than ever.

The Pew study found that children are often the catalyst for parents going online.

“Many…children who learn to use the Internet at school, from friends, or (who) are self-taught, subsequently teach their parents how to use the Internet,” the report said.

Parents are also more likely than nonparents to use the Internet for banking, researching jobs and finding a new place to live.

However, the study found that although parents are more likely to have access to the Internet, they actually spend fewer hours online than nonparents–an average of 81 minutes per day versus 94 minutes.

The study, which surveyed 1,677 Americans, defined “nonparents” as those without a child under 18 living at home.