December 3, 2011

Majority Of Young Americans Use Internet For Pleasure

A new Pew Research Center´s Internet & American Life Project has found that more than half of all regular Internet users in the U.S. go online just to have fun or pass the time.

According to AFP reports, the study found that on a typical day, 53% of 18 to 29 year old Americans turn to the Internet for pleasure or entertainment.

Furthermore, 81% of the folks in that age bracket said that they go online at least occasionally as a diversion, and across age groups, 58% of U.S. adults tend to waste some time on the Web in search of entertainment.

"The Web, for so many, seems to have replaced the mall, the bar, and the street corner as the place to go just to hang out and wait for something to happen," CNET writer Chris Matyszczyk said in a Friday article covering the study, which was conducted in August and included telephone interviews with over 2,200 American adults.

However, as the Associated Press (AP) points out, just 12% of people over the age of 65 reported having gone online the previous day for no particular reason, and just 27% of 50 to 64 years olds admitted to having turned to the Internet in search of fun.

"The survey didn´t define 'fun,' so people could interpret it broadly," the wire service added. "For some people, gossip blogs might be fun, for others, they´re serious research."

The study also discovered that 95% of all 12 to 17 year olds are active Internet users, and four out of every five online teens use social media websites like Twitter or Facebook. Many of them log into their accounts on a daily basis, Pew said, "and these have become spaces where much of the social activity of teen life is echoed and amplified -- in both good and bad ways."

When asked to rate the kindness of their fellow social network users, 69% of teens (12-17) and 85% of adults (18 and older) said that people their own age were mostly kind on these types of websites. One-fifth of teens and just 5% of adults said that their peers were mostly unkind, while 11% of 12 to 17 year olds and 5% of the 18 and older crowd said that it depended on the situation.

In their study, Pew also said that 12 and 13 year old girls had the most negative view on social networking hubs, with one-third of them believing that people their own age were mostly unkind, compared to just 9% of boys in the same age bracket.

Whites (72%) and Hispanics (78%) were more likely than blacks (56%) to believe that their peers were good online citizens, while rural and lower-income participants were the least likely to hold positive views of their fellow Internet users.


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