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US internet use eats into TV viewing & socialising: Survey

MUMBAI: According to a recent study by the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society (SIQQS), the time spent by the average internet user in the United States of America using the internet cuts into the time he spends for television viewing and family.

The surfing time is mainly drawn from the family time than the television time.

The study found that as much as 75 per cent of the population in the United States now has access to the internet either at home or work.

According to the study, the time an internet user spends online is 3 hours per day, while the time he spends on TV is 1.7 hours. Internet users watch television for one hour and 42 minutes a day in the United States, compared with the national average of two hours, points out the study.

SIQQS director Norman Nie points says it is not the TV viewing more affected by the web phenomenon, but the time spent for family. He has been quoted in media reports as saying, "We were very interested to discover that the increase in Internet use over the last 10 years has eaten into television viewing less than expected. Time online seems to come more out of family discretionary time."

According to the study, an hour of time spent using the Internet reduces the time spent on social life by 23.5 minutes, lowers the amount of time spent watching television by 10 minutes and shortens sleep by 8.5 minutes.

SIQQS collected the data from a representative sample of 4,839 American respondents between the ages of 18 and 64 in June 2004. Respondents were asked to create detailed diaries of how they spent their time during six randomly selected hours of the previous day.

While breaking up the internet consumption time, 57 per cent of the use was devoted to communications (e-mail, instant messaging and chat rooms) and 43 per cent for other activities including web browsing, shopping and game playing. Users said they spent 8.7 percent of their internet time playing online games. The study also found that users spend a small portion of their online time in contact with family members.

The study states that time spent on spam accounts for five minutes of every hour spent online, which translates into10 8-hour workdays per year. The researchers found that the amount of internet use does not differ by gender. But women on average use e-mail, instant messaging and social networking more than men, while men spend more time browsing, reading discussion groups and participating in chat rooms. About the percentage of respondents who use internet by education, the survey rates people having bachelor's degree or higher as the top with 43.2 per cent, followed by those attended some college (33.1 per cent).

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