How Ordinary Americans View the Web

The latest attempt to find out how the average American views computers and the Internet belongs to CBS.Marketwatch.com, which conducted a telephone poll of more than 1,700 Americans to get an answer.

According to the survey, individuals do not see the Internet replacing television and in-person shopping, but the new medium has attracted a relatively wealthy and loyal audience that eagerly awaits its continued development.

Almost half (49 percent) of those surveyed said they felt the Web was not living up to its potential. Two-thirds report being frustrated by the time it takes to get things done on the Web. Most (65 percent) said they have a good understanding of the Web.

The importance of email to Americans was also demonstrated in the survey. One-quarter of the US adult population uses email everyday, according to the survey; 94 percent of the Net users surveyed use email.

Half of the survey respondents indicated they are bothered by online ads. An earlier poll done by INTECO Corp. found that 53 percent of Internet users realize that ads are needed to keep Web content free.

Adult Content

The CBS.Marketwatch.com survey also attempted to see how ordinary Americans view adult content on the Internet. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed (70 percent of Net users) are concerned about children seeing inappropriate content on the Web. More than half (59 percent) of those with children said they take precautions to keep kids from seeing inappropriate content. One-quarter of those surveyed said pornography was the worst thing about the Internet.

Only 17 percent of those surveyed told CBS.Marketwatch.com they have been to an adult site. Most people seem unwilling to admit to their Web behavior. “Sex” remains the most popular search term, according to Searchterms.com, and no less than seven of the top 20 terms relates to adult content.

The CBS.Marketwatch.com poll surveyed 1,782 Americans. For more information on the demographics of the sample, visit the poll site.

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