How much time do you spend online?
December 31, 2015
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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?
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