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Social Side-Effects Of Internet Use 476

Posted by timothy
from the vice-versa-too dept.
venicebeach writes "The World Internet Project has released its third annual report on internet usage. It contains few surprises, but lots of interesing stats - for example the most experienced internet users spend an average of 15.8 hours online per week. CNN is running a story on the social findings - "New study shatters Internet 'geek' image." Apparently they are suprised to hear that internet users are more social than non-users: internet users watch less television, read more books and engage in more social activities."
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Social Side-Effects Of Internet Use

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  • by daveo0331 (469843) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @03:58PM (#7976920) Homepage Journal
    It's worse than you think. A typical 30 minute TV show is actually 21 minutes of program and 9 minutes of commercials. That's 18 minutes per hour, or 72 minutes over 4 hours (in 1 week, that's 504 minutes = 8h24m of ads).
  • Baloney (Score:5, Informative)

    by tmark (230091) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @04:17PM (#7977154)
    De novo, given the penetration of the Net into most of the countries surveyed, I'd say the results as presented would mean nothing.

    But given that the survey comes from an Internet advocacy group (from their site : "the originators of this project believe that the Internet ... will transform our social, political and economic lives"), I'd say the results mean even LESS than nothing. I doubt such a group would put out a study saying "heavy net users are social outcasts".

    - it's nearly obvious that a person who spends 15 hours on the Net a week would spend less time watching TV - if only because that person has less hours in his day to do so. Let me see TV-watching statistics as a proportion of free time NOT spent on the Net.

    - it's also obvious that Net users are more affluent, which correlates strongly with having better paying jobs and with having higher education levels, just like say, owning a BMW. So it's more likely they're going to spend more time reading, because i) they're more likely to be literate, ii) they're more likely to need to read as a function of their work. Let me see what Net usage looks like for owners of different cars, and then let's argue about what these statistics mean.

    - because of an nearly implied level of affluence, people who can afford a Net connection are also likely to have more leisure time in general than non-Net users. It's hard to be out there socializing when you're a blue-collar joe working two jobs to make ends meet for your family of six. Do you think such a person spends much time on the Net ?

    This study is useless as presented, and I frankly don't believe it. Just look at all the TV-related love-ins (Farscape/Tivo/STTNG/Futurama/etc.) here and ask whether you really believe Net users watch more TV ON AN ADJUSTED BASIS than non-Net users. The problem is that specification of a Net user is confounded with all sorts of variables.

    What I want to see are numbers that show hours of "social" activity related to leisure hours NOT SPENT ON THE INTERNET. I bet they'd tell a different story. I'd bet that heavy Net users spend FAR less time doing socializing/exercising/being outside than people who use the Net moderately or less.
  • by chrisbro (207935) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @05:05PM (#7977859)
    This article [msn.com] actually goes into the science and statistics of people who are like you - who are risk-averse and might actually end up worse because of it. It's an interesting read, even if you don't agree with it - sort of goes along the same vein that the only way to get the most out of life is to not do the things that you do ;)
  • by ninel (524668) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @05:48PM (#7978463)
    You're pretty close. According to a PhaseOne Communications [yahoo.com] study release last month:
    the four major networks air an average of 52 minutes of promotional clutter along with their programming from 8-11 PM, up 8% from 2000 and up 36% from 1991.

    [...]

    Although networks are using fewer commercial breaks during primetime than in previous years, the average length of each break continues to rise, to an all-time high of 3.05 minutes, up 41% from just five years ago.

    [...]

    Among the four major networks, ABC ranked highest in both number of spots (152) and promotion time (54.6 minutes). FOX aired the fewest spots (130), but CBS had the least amount of promotion time (50.8 minutes). NBC had the fewest commercial breaks, but also the longest break times at an average of 3.6 minutes.

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