I find it difficult to imagine a world without the internet. It’s up to you whether or not I’m sad to say that I’d be totally lost without it. However, according to a recent poll carried out by Harris Interactive, the average adult internet browser spends thirteen hours online every single week. Compared to power users, like the majority of us who post here at Lockergnome, who spend many more hours online, this number seems quite small. But the survey is a sign of the times – the amount of hours the average adult spends online today is almost double that at the turn of the millennium.

The number of hours we spend online has steadily increased over the years, rising to around about eight to nine hours in the 2003 through to 2006, with a large increase to eleven hours in 2007. Towards the end of the last year, the number jumped to fourteen hours a week, and Harris Interactive suggests this may be related to the “financial crisis” and the “presidential election.” I would be tempted to put this increasing number of hours down to the fact that internet users have so much more choice nowadays – sites such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Bebo have only been around since 2004 onwards, so it comes as no surprise to me that the average adult spent more time online, exploring the endless social networking sites and communicating with friends in a new way that they’d never truly experienced before. I’m sure that Harris Interactive is correct when they put the 2008 figures down to the recession and the presidential elections, as people eagerly scoured the internet for information – and as they tweeted and re-tweeted to their friends what the rate of inflation was, and who had become President-Elect of the United States.

Thirty to thirty-nine-year-olds spend the most time online, at a chunky eighteen hours a week. Although this decreases the older the person that was survey, the average only dropped by one hour. This doesn’t surprise me either: people’s age doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Elderly people are becoming acquainted with technology. I suppose in some respect, they’re going to have to. As things continue to develop, we will see some of the more traditional methods fade out. Older people are going to have to change with the world around them.

With the availability of sites such as eBay and Amazon, it also comes as no surprise that half of those online bought something from the internet in November 2009. Since 2005, another 10% of adults have had an internet connection installed in their home, bringing the total percentage of United States residents with internet access at home to 76%.

The internet is an exciting resource, and I’m sure that to those of you who have been with technology every step of the way, these figures do not shock you. I’m sure that some sort of organization will question our increasing use of technology and the internet, and will continue to blame it for the fact that more and more people are becoming obese and aren’t getting enough exercise. But don’t blame this entirely on technology – even technology itself is improving lifestyles, with the presence of Wii Fit and other similar games and resources.

I’d be incredibly interested to hear your thoughts? How many hours do you spend online every week? Do you consider yourself a power user? Why do you think that the number of browsing hours is growing so rapidly? Which sort of applications/websites gobble up your internet browsing time? What is your opinion about the growth of technology and its impact on our lifestyles? Let us know, leave a comment.


Poll conducted over telephone with 2,029 adult participants.

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