Women and children will rule the Internet

Women will become majority users of online services, according to AOL Studios president Ted Leonsis. Female users are already growing at a million a month and now account for 52 per cent of America Online's membership.

Leonsis was speaking at a new media leadership conference in New York. There he said the company would now develop its system and interface for a less technologically sophisticated, "female-driven and family-orientated" audience. It's a big change from a few years ago when AOL was targeted at "big guys with beards like me," he said.

The first stages of online growth have been among audiences of a highly technical nature. Now, it is expected that the next phase will be people who do not have a background in computing.