Americans relying on Internet to fight tough times, report says

A large number of U.S. Internet users are turning to the Internet for recession-related information, a new report from the Pew Research Center reveals.

If you find yourself in front of your computer screen looking to understand the recession and find ways to deal with it, you're not alone.

According to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, some 69 percent of American adults, or 88 percent of U.S. Internet users, have gone online in the past year for reasons related to the recession. The study says they either are trying to get help with personal economic issues or gather information about the origins of national economic problems and solutions to those difficulties.

Americans look to the Internet to cope with the recession. livescience

The report, called "The Internet and the Recession," is a result of the Pew Research Center's Pew Internet & American Life Project, which explores the Internet's impact on families, communities, education, health care, and civic and political life.

The Pew Internet report comes from a national phone survey of 2,253 adults 18 and older, including 561 cell phone interviews.

The report also revealed that those hard hit by the recession are among the most avid, wide-ranging Internet users. In the past year, according to the report, about 52 percent of American adults have experienced financial hardships varying from a pay cut to losing their jobs to witnessing their investments or house value fall by more than half their value.

Other than looking for information, Internet users have also been contributing content. Thirty-four percent of survey participants said that they have created content and commentary about the recession in places like blogs, and social-network sites such as Twitter. This content includes ideas, rants, and expert commentary.

According to Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project and co-author of the new report, Internet users are on a dual quest in this recession: they use the Internet to understand it better and also to rant and share experiences in fighting it.

Apart from the numbers reported above, other recession-related online activities in the past year include price comparisons (67 percent), job hunting (41 percent), and seeking online coupons for savings (40 percent). Other than that, "help on spending less" and "how to earn more money and second jobs" got the same 27 percent.

The report has only one silver lining, if at all, and that is that only 3 percent of survey participants have gone online in the past year to find information about filing for bankruptcy.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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