How much time do you spend online? (Thinkstock)
How much time do you spend online?
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If someone asked you to measure the time you spend online, how would you answer? If you're like one-fifth of Americans, you'd likely say "almost constantly." New research shows that 21 percent of Americans report that they're online more or less continually.
 
It was the first time the words "almost constantly" were an option 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 conducted 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 (42 percent) or "almost constantly" (21 percent).
 
Interestingly, there wasn't a gender split when it came to near constant Internet use. On the other hand, age seems to be the great digital divider.  Only six percent of people over age 65 said they're online that much.  And the number grew from there. Those who report that they are online all the time include 12 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and 28 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds. Thirty-six percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are online that much.
 
Don't assume that teenagers are online even more than adults. In another survey, Pew found that teens do have a slight edge on adults in general when it comes to "almost constant" Internet use.  But 24 percent said they're online pretty much all the time.  They still fall notably 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 with generous data plans? Possibly. Or maybe money is a factor.  The richer you are, the more Internet you're 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 along with availability and cost. But 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.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why might teenagers spend less time online than 18- to 29-year-olds?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (296)
  • kaleight-dic
    1/04/2016 - 01:09 p.m.

    The Internet is addicting, there's many reasons that only 10% of people only go online once a day. New technology constantly is constantly being produced, and it catches the attention of us all.

  • John0724-YYCA
    1/04/2016 - 02:50 p.m.

    I think that this is a major problem because these days all we do is look at technology and do things that is unnecessary because we could be learning to get better grades for all the time we play games. I think that students and even adults should spend less time on their media and interact with the real world. The problem is that they really don't care these days about what is actually happening around the world and all the care is about events where people fight or play against each other and it shows it in devices so they wait till that day. They don't care about anything except media so I think that media should be seen less.

  • william1108-yyca
    1/04/2016 - 03:26 p.m.

    WOW! I can't believe that teenagers are online most of the time. But I don't think I go online that much. But I also think that I do. But I thought that adults go on online the most because they are adults. So maybe I should maybe spend less time online.

  • rachelr-dic
    1/04/2016 - 05:14 p.m.

    Sports and Homework could cause us teenagers to spend less time online, and it's likely we have more friends to hang out with then 18-29 year olds.

  • rachelr-dic
    1/04/2016 - 05:28 p.m.

    Sports, homework, and hanging out with friends could all be reasons that us teens don't go on the Internet as much as 18-29 year olds.

  • melissaj-Ste
    1/04/2016 - 11:03 p.m.

    I will admit that it is more fun to be on the Internet than to be with other people. I know that kind of mind set is the hammer that is crumbling social activity between teenager, but it's just nicer. The internet answers my questions, no matter how weird they are. It makes sense for 18-29 year-olds to spend a lot of time on the internet because: they are fresh from high school so they have more time than before and college students, thought in more advanced classes, have more time between to do anything -- such as using the internet.

  • heatherm-4-bar
    1/05/2016 - 12:09 a.m.

    Most people these days are saying teens are always online, but it has been proven wrong. Surveying adult came to find 21 percent are constatnly online and 42 percent said several times a day. i chose this article because my parents always say that im on my phone too much but so are they!

  • erino-6-bar
    1/05/2016 - 12:32 a.m.

    Teenagers most likely spend less time online than 18- to 29-year-olds because of access. The article mentions an idea that supports this when it questions, "Could the difference between teens and young adults have to do with older folks' unrestricted access to mobile phones with generous data plans?" This would make sense because teenagers' phone and data plans are, in most cases, determined by the teen's parent or guardian. Young adults, however, are able to decide on their own phone and data plan which could mean that they have more data. If they have more data then that would most likely lead to a higher internet usage. On a similar note, since the majority of teens attend school for most of their waking hours, if they go to a school that doesn't allow internet usage during school hours, then that would cause them to be on the internet less than a young adult who uses the internet frequently at their job.

    I thought that this article was very interesting because teens are many times stereotyped to use the internet much more than adults. On the other hand, I wasn't at all surprised that as the ages went down, with the exemption of teens, the internet use increased.

  • 24lkmalo
    1/05/2016 - 09:27 a.m.

    I think people of all ages that are older spend way to much time online. Online practically ruins lives causing friendships to break and online cyber bullying. I honestly think people that can't keep thee rude opinions to them selves they shouldn't be trusted online where something could be deleted. Even though people don't realize once you post it, it will always be saved online.

  • charlenec-mci
    1/05/2016 - 11:41 a.m.

    I'm honestly obsessed with the internet and social media even though I know it's bad for me and my health. I can't take my eyes or hands off of it though. It's like an addiction. It ruins your eyesight. And it does also make you pick up the foul language that other people use online which is pretty bad. That's why I think people should set a limit for themselves. I know it's going to be hard, even for me but I think we should try. Too much internet could even lower our grades too and I don't think people want that for their education.

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