For new moms in the US, spending time on a smartphone is practically a full-time job. A new survey sponsored by AOL found that moms with young children are spending 37 hours a week using apps and browsing the web on their phone, compared to 31 hours a week for millennials, the next heaviest users.
The company that conducted the study, InsightNow, attributes the time moms spend on phones to their general usefulness: managing schedules, connecting with friends, and looking up things like baby’s latest symptoms. But InsightNow and AOL only hinted at what could be the most powerful force motivating this activity: isolation.
Surveys reveal that the first year of motherhood is “the loneliest in a woman’s life,” a period so fraught that almost half of new parents fear that their partners think they aren’t coping. The web is full of Revolutionary Road-style accounts of the lonely, soul-crushing trials of being a new mother.
In this case, social networks and the web, far from being a force for isolation, have become for new moms a “lifeline,” leading over 90% of moms to use their mobile devices every chance they get—while shopping, cooking, and in the bathroom—according to one survey. There are even baby websites recounting news stories of mothers leaving their children to pass out alone in the tub in order to check email.
All this isolation is probably bad for parents, kids, and the future of the human race, but it’s great for marketers, who are finding moms uniquely susceptible to mobile advertising.