How much time do you spend online? (Thinkstock)
How much time do you spend online?
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If someone asked you to quantify 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 incessantly.
 
It was the first time the words "almost constantly" were an option in a Pew Research survey about Internet use, notes Andrew Perrin. He is a research assistant at Pew who commented in a blog post about the survey. During the survey, which 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 quantities 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. Age, on the other hand, 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, 28 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds and 36 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds.
 
Don't assume that teenagers are online even more than adults, however. In another survey, Pew found that while they do have a slight edge on adults in general when it comes to "almost constant" Internet use, 24 percent said they're online pretty much all the time. They still fall significantly behind the 36 percent of adults between 18 and 29 years of age who are always online.
 
Could the discrepancy 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.
 
Given that the United Nations considers unrestricted Internet access to be a human right, the number of Americans who report being online "almost constantly" could rise along with availability and affordability. 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 (183)
  • rylanf.-tay
    1/04/2016 - 01:36 p.m.

    I think teenagers spend less time online is that they are still in school so they don't have as much time

  • dianner-2-bar
    1/04/2016 - 07:32 p.m.

    Teenagers might spend less time online than 18-to 29- year-old's because they are being pushed to go to school and learn which is very fantastic. What was very interesting is how much time people spend online.

  • angelinat-3-bar
    1/04/2016 - 08:09 p.m.

    Teenagers spend less time online than 18-29 year-old because they don't have as much money, leading to the fact that they have less money to spend. The article states, "The richer you are, the more Internet you're likely to use." This shows that because teenagers are less wealthy than the average American, they are online less. Most teenagers don't have a main source of income, and that shows in how much they use the Internet. I was interested in this article because this is a growing issue-about how many people are online constantly or a lot more than they used to be. I was not surprised by this article because I know that a lot of people spend most of their time online, and in this article, that was represented by the percents and the numbers. After all, data never lies!

  • madisonp-mci
    1/05/2016 - 11:39 a.m.

    I think that they spend less time because teenagers are still in school and 18- to 29- year-olds are at work and when they aren't busy they get online.

  • cheesnueh-mci
    1/05/2016 - 11:43 a.m.

    I think that 18-29 year olds use it a lot more because they do jobs and homework on the internet.

  • hectorj-mci
    1/05/2016 - 11:45 a.m.

    I honestly think that people are online for important stuff and others are probably not.I know that social media and online is not good for your health, many people use it like for Facebook. Other people use it for very important things like employees who work for offices and children who research for homework too.

  • maryc-mci
    1/05/2016 - 11:47 a.m.

    I think that kid and teens spend as much time on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

  • jackm-mci
    1/05/2016 - 11:49 a.m.

    I go online a lot and part of the reason I think, is that most of all the places that I go has Wi-Fi. Also i have a good data plan.

  • austinm-mci
    1/05/2016 - 11:54 a.m.

    its was rilllllll intersting

  • nicks-ver
    1/05/2016 - 02:55 p.m.

    So, I don't really like the reputation teenagers have for internet usage because I don't always use the internet as a teen and either do a lot of my friends. I really do not find this accurate, however I can't speak for everyone.

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