Thursday, December 07, 2006

When boundaries blur

The Register
reports: [edited]

Nearly half of all Americans who belong to online communities claim that the virtual world they inhabit is as important as the real world.

According to a new study conducted by the USC-Annenberg School Centre for the Digital Future, 43 per cent of those who are part of a virtual community said that they felt as strongly about this society as they do about the physical world that they are a part of.

Overall, more than three quarters of Americans aged 12 and older are now online, with 68 per cent of these using the internet at home, up from 46.9 per cent in 2000. Moreover, 50 per cent of Americans now access the internet through a broadband connection.

However, increased broadband adoption at home is causing concern with a small but growing percentage of adults saying that the children in their households spend too much time using the internet. Nonetheless, almost 70 per cent of parents said that their children spent the right amount of time online.

The study also found that the number of American internet users who keep a blog has more than doubled over the past three years. According to the report, 7.4 per cent of users now use blogs, compared to 3.2 per cent in 2003. In addition, 12.5 per cent of online Americans now maintain their own website.

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