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Sunday, 25 November, 2001, 06:14 GMT
Net users 'sociable and successful'
Students on the internet
Successful and community-minded: Recognise yourself?
Internet users do not deserve their reputation for being socially inadequate loners, a study has found.

Despite jibes that computer users meet their friends online, researchers say they are actually more likely to be sociable and community minded.

Professor Andrew Oswald and Dr Jonathan Gardner, from the University of Warwick, UK, found that people who regularly used the internet were also more likely to be better educated and to earn more.

It appears the web is helping to strengthen the quality of British society

Professor Andrew Oswald
Professor Oswald told the BBC: "This research should be very useful in overturning some common stereotypes.

"We discovered internet users are better citizens and more likely to be members of community groups and voluntary organisations.

"It appears the web is helping to strengthen the quality of British society. Internet users are the best citizens not the worst."

The professors concluded that internet users were sociable after discovering that 30% belonged to a community group, compared with less than a quarter of non-users.

People who went online regularly were also 50% more likely to be regular church-goers and were more trusting than average.

Graduates online

The amount of time spent on the internet was also a good indicator of earnings.

Almost two-thirds of people taking home more than 32,000 a year use the internet, compared with just 9% of those earning between 6,000 and 12,000.

More than seven out of 10 graduates use the web, but only one in 10 people with no qualifications do so.

The study also discovered that 40% of men use the internet, compared with 28% of women. Men spent an average of 3.5 hours a week online, compared with 2.5 hours for women.

The findings will be published later this week in the 18th British Social Attitudes report.

See also:

16 Aug 01 | Sci/Tech
Web bugs spying on net users
11 May 00 | Sci/Tech
Net users are not nerds
20 Aug 01 | Business
UK internet usage surges
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