Since the internet became mainstream less than 20 years ago, faith in traditional institutions and consumption of traditional media has also been displaced by faith in newer, digital institutions and consumption of newer, digital media, according to the 15th annual Digital Future Report recently produced by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future.
In the years since the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future published its first Digital Future Report in 2000, the internet has evolved from a secondary medium to an essential component of daily life.
Over the course of that time:
Overall internet penetration has increased from 67 to 92 percent.
Total hours per week online has steadily increased from 9.4 to 23.6.
Internet usage at home has risen from 3.3 to 17.6 hours per week.
The effect on our relationships, to media and each other
Perhaps the largest change affecting our online behavior over the life of the report was the introduction of the iPhone and other smartphone technologies in 2007, which increased the internet’s always on — and always with us — technology capabilities.
Since 2010 alone:
- People who use their phone to access the internet has skyrocketed from 23 to 84 percent.
- Use of smartphone email has nearly quadrupled from 21 to 79 percent.
- The use of mobile apps increased from 49 to 74 percent.
- GPS location service use has gone from 12 to 71 percent.
- The percentage of people who stream music on their phone has increased from 13 to 67 percent.
Since 2001, the internet has also had an indelible impact on our relationship to physical media, and not just evidenced by the shuttering of Borders, Blockbuster Video stores and so many newspapers. In one of the most dramatic changes to occur over the life of the report, the ratio of print-to-online news consumption for all ages has gone from 85-15 in 2001 to near-parity at 51-49 in 2016.
The center also found that social networking impacted offline relationships — 62 percent said the internet was important or very important for maintaining social relationships.
Source: USC News
These numbers are for those fortunate enough to have internet which is fast enough to encourage use. Many families living in rural communities have no internet or very slow internet that will only support email and limited surfing. These number could be even higher if everyone had access to high-speed internet.