According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project as summarized by Senior Research Fellow Deborah Fallows, the internet is increasingly a place where Americans just hang out. Some 30% of internet users go online on any given day for no particular reason, just for fun or to pass the time.
Compared to other online pursuits, the act of surfing for fun now stands only behind 52% of internet users sending or receiving email on a typical day, 38% using a search engine, and is in a virtual tie for third with 31% getting news online. About 25 million people went online in 2004 on any given day just to browse for fun. In the Pew Internet Project survey in December, 2005, that number had risen to about 40 million people.
In the earliest days of the Web, young, white men were the most likely people to go online just to surf around with no particular purpose or destination in mind. But this kind of idle browsing has a broader appeal now, cutting through all races, income groups, levels of educational accomplishment.
While percentages of both men and women increased to record highs in December 2005, the increase from a year before was ever higher for men, from 24% to 34%, than for women, from 19% to 26%. The younger the user, the more likely he or she is to surf for fun, either at all or on a typical day.
Some 36% of internet users with six or more years of experience will surf for no particular reason on an average day, compared to fewer than quarter of those with less experience online.
Some 72% of those with home broadband have surfed the Web for fun compared with 63% of those with dial-up. Almost twice the number, 39%, do so on a typical day, compared with 23% of dial-up users
Percentage Of Internet Users Who Go Online Just To Pass The Time
Ever done this
18 - 29 yrs
30 - 49 yrs
50 - 64 yrs
65 yrs and over
6 yrs or more
4 - 5 yrs
3 yrs or less
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Nov/Dec 2005
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