11:17 am April 18, 2012, by Christopher Seward
How relevant is the Internet? For a large group of Americans, the answer is not so much.
Sure, 78 percent of adults and 95 percent of teens go online regularly, but not all of us are embracing the online world, according to a new Pew Internet Project study.
Researchers say 20 percent of Americans don’t use the Internet. They include many senior citizens, adults with less than a high school education and those in households earning less than $30,000, where Internet access is less likely.
Nearly half of those who never go online say the main reason is that the Internet is irrelevant to them. “Those who do not use the Internet often do not feel any need to try it, some are wary of the technology, and others are unhappy about what they hear about the online world,” the report concluded.
To be sure, we’ve come a long way. In 1995, only about 1 in 10 U.S. adults were going online. Among other Pew findings:
• Email and search remain “the backbone” of Internet activity, with six in 10 adults doing both daily.
• 61 percent of adults online use the Internet for banking, and 65 percent use social networking sites.
• 88 percent of American adults now have a cell phone; up to 69 percent have a desktop computer; 57 percent have a laptop; 19 percent own an e-book reader; and 19 percent have a tablet computer.
• Both African Americans and English-speaking Latinos are as likely as whites to own any sort of mobile phone.
The Pew survey of 2,260 adults was conducted July 25 to Aug. 26, 2011 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
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