Internet plays bigger role in life decisions: poll

Internet plays bigger role in life decisions: poll

Wed Apr 19, 1:06 AM ET

Nearly half of U.S. users of the Internet went online for help with major life decisions such as finding a college for their child or looking for a new place to live, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

The results show that the Internet is becoming increasingly important to users in their everyday lives, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, a non-profit group which conducted the survey.

Some 45 percent of Internet users, or an estimated 60 million Americans, said the Internet helped them make big decisions or face a major moment in their life during the previous two years, the survey found. That was up from 40 percent of Internet users who answered the same survey questions in 2002.

Specifically, the survey asked 2,201 adults last month if the
Internet played a crucial or important role in making at least one of
eight major life decisions.

An estimated 21 million Americans
turned to the Internet when seeking more training for a career, while
17 million used it to choose a school for a family member or to help
another person with a major illness, the Pew Internet group said.

Some
16 million Americans used the Internet when buying a car or making a
major investment or financial decision, it said. An estimated 10
million Americans used the Internet when looking for a new place to
live; 8 million when changing jobs; and 7 million when dealing with
their own major illness or health condition, the survey said.

"It
seems likely that the convenience of broadband draws more users to the
Internet to deal with some decision," the Pew Internet group said.
However, better online content and more widely advertised web sites may
also contribute to the rising use of the Internet with major life
decisions, it said.

The survey results were posted on the Internet at www.pewinternet.org.

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