The latest Pew study reveals an increase in the number of online activities of American adults. While only 80 percent of Americans use the Internet, those who use it have started using the Internet for more just e-mail and search. This greater use has translated into a wider gap in the technological understanding of the Internet between users and non-users.
The study found that e-mail and search are the most popular reasons for using the Internet. While women are more likely to use e-mail there is no difference in use because of race or ethnicity. Income, age, and education affect Internet use, with those less than 30 years of age, having a household income of over $75,000 a year, and with at least some college education more likely to use the Net. Those least likely to use the Internet include people over 65 years of age, with household income of less than $30,000 a year, and no college education.
This difference continues when other significant Internet activities are measured as well. While the number of people using online banking services and Internet shopping services have also increased to 61 percent of adults who use the Net, this usage is more significant among men than women.
Yet another significant Internet activity – social media networking – shows a greater presence of women than men. While those over 65 are still not frequent users of this facility, they are the fastest growing segment. This could be because of their desire to connect with old friends, find online support groups for chronic diseases, or as a means of connecting with the younger generation.
The Pew study shows that income, age, and education are still the most significant factors affecting Internet use. Women are more likely to use the communication tools, while men are more likely to use the convenience of online banking and shopping services.