Internet junkies, sleep soundly tonight and know that are not alone: a new Pew Internet study shows that 58% of adults in the United States now turn to the Internet as a way to kill some time or simply get their kicks.
In their first study on frequency of Internet usage among adults since 2009, Pew’s data reveals that on any given day over half of American adults are likely to use the Internet just for fun or for no particular reason at all (most would index that latter activity as “wasting time”). Probably most unsurprising about the results of this study is that the youngest adults surveyed, those 18 to 29 years of age, reported the greatest increase of Internet usage as a diversion on any given day. Part of that increase may be explained with how the younger generations are growing up with greater exposure to the Internet but there’s also likely more accessibility in general to online goodness these days.
Apart from the finding that more adults are likely to use the Internet as a distraction anytime these days, the study also revealed that Internet usage for fun times has increased in a broader sense as well. In fact, the growing trend of adults seeking out the latest Internet memes and funny Twitter posts has doubled in the past eleven years.
Despite the general growth of people regarding the Internet as a leisure destination, two demographics still fall far behind the general population: Americans without a high school diploma and adults over the age of 65. While those two groups have seen increases – and even though those increases are two of the greatest percentages of growth amongst all demographics surveyed – they still are significantly behind all other demographics.
Upon further contemplation of the two line graphs above, though, I do have one lingering question about this data: What happened in 2005 that made the Internet less fun to people?