PewResearch Report: The Web at 25 in the U.S.

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Photo Credit:’s from2015

The Web hit the quarter century mark on 12th March, 2014. It was only 25 years ago when British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web, which grew to become one of the most instrumental creations in the history of tech world. Today, it is difficult to imagine life without the Web with hundreds of millions of people around the world accessing it. The Web’s birthday provides an occasion of looking back at the exponential rise in the growth of users of the internet and the impact it has had over the years on various aspects.

Susannah Fox and Lee Rainie from Pew Research Center carried out a national survey to mark the Silver Jubilee of the Web and confirmed the incredible speed with which the internet has gained ground in the American society. It was found out from the survey that 87% of the adults in the US use the internet, which has risen from only 14% in 1995.

Internet Use Over Time

The survey comprises of two parts; the manner in which internet has woven itself into American life and the views that Americans have about the role of the Internet in their lives.

Part 1: How the internet has woven itself into American life

A prerequisite for internet access is to have a device that provides an internet access point. When earlier desktop or laptop computers were considered as the only available medium, cell-phones and the introduction of smart phones now provide an easier and convenient medium to go online. 90% of the adults in US have a cell phone while two-third of them use them it for accessing the internet. One-third of these cell-phone owners consider their phone to be their primary and preferred access point. Keeping in consideration the use of cell phones and smart phones for internet access there is seen a considerable growth in the ownership of these devices, suggesting the manner in which internet has woven and is impacting various aspects of American life:

Cell Phone Ownership Over Time

Smartphone Ownership Over Time

Further findings of the survey illustrate the growth in the adoption of internet across a range of demographic groups. These show that those older than 65 years of age less likely to use the internet as compared to younger Americans; those with lower income are less likely to be online than those in higher-income families etc.

Internet Users in 2014

The increasing importance and spread of internet can also be understood from the fact that as compared to 29% adults in 2000, 71% of the American adults were found out in the survey to be using internet on a typical day.

Part 2: Americans’ views about the role of the internet in their lives

Apart from surveying about internet adoption, the attitudes of users about the role that a range of technologies available to them had in their lives were also explored. It was revealed that:

  • 53% of the users of internet stated it was hard for them to give up internet with the number of online women more likely to say this is higher than that of online men (56% vs. 48%).
  • Internet Harder to Give Up Than TV

  • 11% of the internet users state it hard for them to give up social media.
  • 61% of the people who found it hard to give up internet suggest that it was essential for job-related purposes or other reasons, while 30% of them found it hard to give up since they simply enjoyed the experience of being online.
  • In terms of social impact, and how much the environment online is friendly, the survey found out the results as follows:
  • Technologies That Would Be Hard to Give Up

  • The survey also found out that the impact online communication has on relationships and it was reported that 67% of online users perceive online communication as a source of strengthening their relationships with friends and family while 18% found it to be weakening.
  • Impact of Online Comms on Relationships

  • Finally, a question related to how they perceive the internet to be a good thing or a bad thing yielded the following result.
  • Internet Good or Bad

The Web has no doubt revolutionized the use of internet and is indeed an invention that has impacted billions of people around the world. The meteoric rise in the number of users itself is suggestive of how this 25 years journey of world wide web has transformed the world.

Which points, in this report, do you absolutely agree with? Give us your opinion on the impact of internet on you daily lives.

Stats Image Credit: PEW RESEARCH

About The Author

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.