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Children choose Web surfing over channel surfing

Children and teens prefer using the Internet over watching television and chatting with friends on the telephone, according to a new study.

Children and teens prefer using the Internet over watching television and chatting with friends on the telephone, according to a new study.

In a survey of 500 children between 9 and 17 years old, 63 percent said they preferred the Web over television, and 55 percent said they'd rather go online than talk on the phone, according to a new study released by America Online and research firm Roper Starch.

The second annual Internet study by the two firms found that the Internet is becoming more central and crucial to people's lives. In fact, more than 52 percent of those surveyed said they have moved furniture to accommodate their home computer.

The study found that America is becoming addicted to the Web, with newcomers spending an average of 6.6 hours a week online and people with three years' experience spending 10.5 hours per week on the Web.

When adults and children were asked what they'd prefer if they were stranded on a desert island, two-thirds said they wanted a computer with an Internet connection rather than a television or phone. Seventy-five percent said they believed the Internet has made their lives better.

So what do they do when they're on the Web? Shop, listen to music, play games, and chat, according to the study.

Of the 1,000 adults surveyed, 42 percent said they make purchases online, compared with 31 percent a year ago. Experienced Web users buy more on the Web, spending an average of $266 per person in the last three months, while new users spent $109.

Young adults and children's primary interest, however, is writing letters, real-time chatting, playing games, and downloading music from the Web, the survey found. Children aged 9 through 11 said they log on about three days a week, while teens aged 15 through 17 said they're online nearly five days a week.

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