Children rule the roost when it comes to home net access, a survey has found.
Children learn computer skills at school
The younger members of the household are spearheading reliance on the internet and are often the ones who research and make online purchases.
The study, conducted by consultancy firm Panlogic, was focused on how people aged 35-45 use the internet.
A third admitted they would now be lost without their internet connection, despite the fact it was originally bought for their children.
Children are the most sophisticated users of the net within the family, with 88% of primary school children using it at home and 95% of eleven-to-eighteen year-olds.
No watershed online
Parents will be pleased to hear that many are using the computer for the reason it was originally bought - homework.
"We were staggered by the amount the web was used for homework," said William Makower, chief executive of Panlogic.
But children are also extending their knowledge of the web to other areas and, when it comes to using the net for shopping, many are able to complete the purchasing cycle almost entirely by themselves, the survey found.
"The internet has become a part of everyday life and is starting to dominate the lives of children as they become absorbed in this emerging digital culture," said Mr Makower.
As children delve deeper into cyberspace, there will be renewed calls for greater safeguards online, he thinks.
"It is great to see genuine enthusiasm from children for the internet but as they take more control online this will inevitably lead to concerns about security and unsuitable content especially as, unlike TV, there is no watershed for the internet," he said.
Women are also gaining more control of the family computer and the survey found they were now more reliant on it than men.
There are two clear groups when it comes to mum's relationship with the web. "Manager mums" tend to use the internet to complete tasks such as grocery shopping or banking, while "indifferent mums" are yet to embrace the net in their everyday life.
There are now more women falling into the first category than the second, the survey found.
The most popular category for dads was "gadget dad" who loves technology and has all the latest tech toys, from Sky TV to a car navigation system.
But for the less confident parent, it is often their children who are encouraging them to explore the web.
"More and more 35-45 year-olds are starting to interact with the internet because they are learning from children the possibilities it opens up," said Mr Makower.