Parents catching on to communicating with kids via social media

We're reaching the point where nearly all online adults are accessing social media in an average month.

At least 91 percent of online adults in the United States access social media in a typical month, according to research firm Experian Simmons. That equals 129 million people.

That and more was revealed in the 2011 Social Media Consumer Trend report. Here's the gist and goal of the survey in a nutshell:

But social media is doing so much more than connecting individuals; it also provides consumers with personalized way to connect to companies, brands and media and vice versa, making it an undeniable, if often complex, marketing tool.

Not surprisingly, 98 percent of online adults between the ages of 18 to 24 use social media each month. I wouldn't be surprised if that was each week or even each day, especially when you factor mobile usage in.

Nevertheless, the fastest growing sector in this arena is with older Americans, as people aged 65 and older use social media 49 percent more in the last two years alone. At least three in four online seniors use social media in a typical month, and so do 82 percent of people between the ages of 55 and 64.

It looks like people online use social media to communicate with the friends the most at 46 percent, which is up from 32 percent in 2009. After that, 27 percent of respondents said they use it to connect with siblings, up from 15 percent in 2009.

Yet, perhaps to the chagrin of kids and delight of parents, communication via social media between parents and their kids is rising as well at 18 percent, up from just six percent in 2009. Hopefully that doesn't replace communication at the dinner table, but it surely helps parents who might be away on a business trip.

As for specific modes of social networking, Twitter was found to be more popular with Hispanic online consumers. For example, 18 percent of visitors are Hispanic versus 14 percent of the adult population overall.

Facebook is strongest with the demographic that made it what it is today. The most frequent Facebook users, defined as those online adults who visit more than 15 times per month, are found in heaviest concentrations in America’s college towns.

For more data, you can download a complete copy of the 2011 Social Media Consumer Report for free.