Choosing a baby's name can be a daunting task for many expectant parents. Fortunately, there are ample resources out there to help. From books to websites, to even apps on your smartphone, there's no shortage of tools to help moms and dads-to-be find the perfect name for their little one.
A new research study, however, recently found that a growing number of millennial parents are picking their babies' names in a rather unusual way: by what internet domain names are currently available. The study - which examined how the internet is shaping approaches to parenting - was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of internet domain registrar and web hosting company, GoDaddy, and featured 1,000 millennial parents aged 24-38, and 1,000 Gen X parents, aged 39-53.
This appears to be a trend that is gaining momentum. Nowadays, before their kids are even born, many millennial parents are thinking about their online presence. This isn't all that surprising, given that they are the first true generation of "digital natives" - a population that was born or brought up in the age of digital technology. While only 27 per cent of Gen X parents believe that a child should have an online presence early in life, a whopping 48 per cent of millennials - almost double than that of Gen X - believe it. In fact, according to the study, as many as one in five millennial parents claim they changed or seriously considered changing their baby's name based on what domain names were available.
That statistic doesn't surprise Melissa Schneider, trends expert at GoDaddy.
"More than ever, it’s essential to own your own identity on the internet, and millennials know that better than anyone else, " she said. "It’s no longer enough to make sure that your baby is enrolled at the top elementary school at birth – parents today are claiming their child’s name and online identity to make sure that they’re set up for success down the line."
"Down the line" means jobs and education. Many parents believe that having a domain will put their kids at an advantage when it comes time to apply for jobs - and even college. A significant number (37 per cent) even believe that in the future, personal websites are going to replace social media, and this is just one step in helping to prepare for that.
An online presence isn't the only thing on today's parents' minds, however. Another top priority is education - particularly on how to properly represent yourself online. According to the research, nearly half of respondents that had created a website for their children intend to teach them these valuable lessons.
There's one thing that parents from both generations are pretty unanimous on, however - and that has to do with their children's digital identity. A staggering 94 per cent of all survey respondents claimed that they plan to speak to their children about how to responsibly maintain their online presence - including what should and should not be shared.