How much time do you spend online?
If someone asked you to count how much time you spend online, how would you answer? You would say "almost constantly" if you are like one-fifth of Americans.
New research shows that 21 percent of Americans say that they are online more or less all the time.
It was the first time the words "almost constantly" were a choice in a Pew Research survey. The survey was about Internet use. This is according to Andrew Perrin. He is a research assistant at Pew. He commented in a blog post about the survey.
The survey was given between June and July. Adults were asked how much they go online. Thirteen percent said they do not go online at all. Another 13 percent said they go online several times a week. Or less. Only 10 percent said they go online once a day. And much larger numbers said they go online several times a day. The number is 42 percent. Those who are online "almost constantly" is 21 percent.
There was not a gender split when it came to near constant Internet use. That was not true with age. It seems to be the great digital divider. Only six percent of people over age 65 said they are online that much. And the number grew from there. As for those who report that they are online all the time, the number includes 12 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds. Twenty-eight percent of 30- to 49-year-olds say they are online all the time. And 36 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds do the same.
Do not think that teenagers are online even more than adults. In another survey, Pew found that teens have a slight edge on adults in general when it comes to "almost constant" Internet use. Twenty-four percent said they are online pretty much all the time. They are still well behind the 36 percent of adults between 18 and 29 years of age who are always online.
Could the difference between teens and young adults have to do with older folks' unrestricted access to mobile phones? Especially those with big data plans? Possibly. Or maybe money is a factor. The richer you are, the more Internet you are likely to use. Twenty-eight percent of people who earn $70,000 or more report being online constantly. Only 16 percent of those who earn $30,000 or less report the same usage.
The United Nations considers unrestricted Internet access to be a human right. So the number of Americans who report being online "almost constantly" could rise. The rise would come with more access and lower cost. It remains to be seen whether being online all the time is actually something to aspire to. Or how constant connectivity will impact American culture in the long term.
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why might teenagers spend less time online than 18- to 29-year-olds?
Write your answers in the comments section below