Americans going online to forget the economy

Ronny Kerr · September 10, 2009 · Short URL:

3/4 of users who search for recession aid online also seek diversion from the economy’s sad state

We first reported in July on a report presented by the Pew Internet & American Life Project entitled, “The Internet and the Recession,” which outlined all the various ways that 69% of American adults—or 88% of the nation’s online users—were using the Internet as a tool for coping with the poor economy.

Besides price-matching, which is always a popular activity, people were trying to get educated about the economy, find jobs, and discuss amongst themselves in blogs and forums the sad state of affairs for the worst-hit in this country.

Today, Pew released a data memo that “evaluates the flip side of that phenomenon,” investigating further into Americans’ relationship to the Web during hard times.

The results are unsurprising: the Internet, a wealthy platform for entertainment of all shapes, sizes, and colors, is proving to play a key role in diverting the minds of Americans from the recession.

Based on a national telephone survey of 2,253 Americans, Pew’s latest data finds that for 3 in 4 of the “online economic users” described above, going online relieves the stress of economic or financial problems.

Over 50% of uscharters watch videos or listen to music online—two activities that no generation has any trouble taking part in. Users who report playing games or chatting with friends comes to about 35%, signaling two activities more expected from younger generations who more likely grew up with computers and the Internet. Finally, just over 20% of users create or post online content to divert their minds.

All in all, 74% of online economic users report utilizing the Internet as a diversion from the recession. Furthermore, according to Pew, relaxing online is a “near-universal activity” for not only those personally suffering from the economy but also those who sympathize with the former.

Of course, as the title “online economic users” implies, these are people who, even after having their fun online, use the Internet for more practical reasons related to finances and economy. Combining together these two facets of the same image, we must conclude that what we’re seeing is probably just a general shift to Internet use from other media.

The Internet will only continue to swell in terms of easy entertainment and helpful financial finds.

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