World Internet Project Releases Landmark Report
Monday, 15th December 2008 at 2:06 pm
The first ever global survey of Internet use has found remarkable similarities and significant differences in the way users from different countries utilise and rely on the Internet.
The major findings show that online purchasing is not yet part of the global internet experience and a majority of users believe only half of the information they find online is reliable
The World Internet Project (WIP), a comprehensive first-time global survey on the impact of the Internet, found remarkable similarities and significant differences in the way users utilize and rely on the Internet.
Findings from work undertaken by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Creative Industries and Innovation’s (CCI) Digital Futures Study based at Swinburne University in Melbourne is included in the study along with 13 partner countries and regions in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania.
Swinburne University’s Professor Julian Thomas, who along with Swinburne researcher Scott Ewing led the Australian arm of the project say this is the first time there has been a comprehensive survey that has allowed a detailed comparison of Internet use in different countries.
According to the researchers, one of the most striking differences between Australia and some other developed countries is the way adults use the Internet for educational purposes.
In Australia, 89 per cent of students aged over 18 used the Internet for school related work at least once a week. The figure for US students is similar, at 84 per cent.
However in New Zealand for example, this figure is closer to 50 per cent.
Thomas says this indicates that the Internet has become integrated into education in Australia and the US, much more so than in some other developed nations.
Compared to other countries, cost was a relatively minor issue for Australian non-users, with only two per cent reporting that they did not use the Internet because it was too expensive.
According to Thomas this highlights the role still being played by dial-up in this country, giving consumers access to a very basic, cheap Internet service.
The report also found that Internet users have a similar degree of scepticism about internet reliability, regardless of which country they come from.
On average almost 60 per cent of Internet-users world wide felt that at least half of the information found on the internet was unreliable.
The World Internet Project marks the first time that a worldwide partnership of research institutions has compiled data on the behaviour and views of Internet users and non-users. In 2008 participating countries included Australia, Canada, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Macao, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.
The Australian arm of the World Internet Project released its findings on national internet usage in June 2008.
More information on the report and a free executive summary go to: http://www.cci.edu.au/post/first-world-internet-project-report-released.