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43 percent say they are greatly concerned about security; 40 percent of all Canadians say they are greatly concerned about privacy

Source: MontrealGazette.com

Posted on March 28, 2001

      Internet use by Canadians has soared over the past half-decade, increasing for every age group but especially among the young.

      And using E-mail has become a regular experience for more than 80 percent of users.

      The survey results of Internet use, made public yesterday by Statistics Canada, underscore the reality that the Internet has become a part of the lives of most Canadians, with 13 million or 53 per cent of those age 15 or over having traveled on the information highway over the past year.

      "This was three times the 1994 rate of 18 percent," Statistics Canada noted.

      Further, just more than one-quarter of those who weren't surfing the Net in 2000 expressed interest in doing so.

      Teenagers were the biggest users of the Net, with nine out of 10 having been online, according to what StatsCan says is the first time it has collected detailed data on individual technology use. Net use declined steadily for each subsequent age group to only 13 per cent of those age 65 or over.

      Internet use also increased with income and education. Among individuals 20 years or older, only 13 per cent of those without a high-school education used the Net, compared with 79 per cent of those with a university degree.

      And only 30 per cent of individuals in households with an income of less than $20,000 a year had used the Internet, in contrast to 81 per cent of those with a household income of $80,000, and 94 per cent of those in households earning $100,000 or more. For non-users earning less than $20,000, the greatest obstacles were cost and access; for non-users earning more than $80,000, time was the barrier cited most often.

      Men were also more likely to go online than women, although that gap has narrowed, and men are more likely than women to be playing games on the Net, the survey found. Anglophones were also more likely than francophones, and urban dwellers more likely than rural Canadians, to use the Net.

      Three-quarters of the more than 25,000 Canadians surveyed last year felt access to the Internet should be universal, but differed over whose responsibility it was to remove barriers.

      Forty-five per cent of those with an opinion said it was up to individuals, 42 per cent said the federal government, and 37 per cent private industry.

      But it's more than mere access that's curbing use of the Internet, the report suggests. "Whether currently using the Internet or not, 43 per cent say they aregreatly concerned about security in relation to making purchases or banking over the Internet," it said.

      Another 22 per cent said they are "somewhat concerned." "Related to the issue of security is the concern about privacy on the Internet, such as people reading your E-mail or finding out what Web sites you visit," it also noted. Roughly 40 per cent of all Canadians say they are greatly concerned about privacy, with another 21 per cent saying they are somewhat concerned.

      Women are slightly more concerned than men about security and privacy.

      Close to two-thirds of Canadians who use the Internet at home do so for one to seven hours a week. The same proportion of those who use the Internet at work also do so for one to seven hours a week and most say it has made their work more interesting.

      Three-quarters of all Internet users go online to search for information on goods and services but most are merely window-shopping. Only one-quarter say they have ever used the Internet to make a purchase.

      Just under one-quarter of Internet users bank online, which is most popular among users in their 30s, those with high incomes, and those in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Quebec and British Columbia than in the other provinces.

      The survey also found more than half of households with children have purchased a computer especially for the children.

      Roughly two-thirds supervise the time their children spend on the Internet, but one-third say they do nothing to monitor their children's use of the Internet, and less than 10 per cent use software or their Internet provider to filter out unacceptable sites.

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