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Pew Study: Americans Thankful to Internet for Making Them Better Informed

A survey report by Pew Research Center reveals that most Americans are thankful to the Internet for helping them learn new things, having them stay better informed on topics that are important to them, and increasing their capacity for sharing creations and ideas with others.

The positive views regarding the Internet show that Americans enjoy having massive amounts of information readily available to them, as opposed to being overwhelmed.

The report is based on a probability survey conducted online between Sept. 12 and Sept. 18 this year, which includes a total of 1,066 Internet users with ages 18 years old and higher.

The results of the survey shows that 87 percent of respondents improved how they are able to learn new things, with 53 percent saying that the improvement has been by "a lot." This is more evident for the respondents that are below 50 years old, live in households with higher incomes, and have higher levels of educational attainment.

When asked whether the massive amount of information available is something enjoyable, 72 percent said that it is, with the respondents adding the usefulness of the Internet in keeping them better informed with topics such as products and services, national and international news, and pop culture.

According to the survey, 81 percent of the respondents have been better informed regarding products and services compared to five years ago through the use of the Internet. Over the same period of time, the majority of respondents said that they are also better informed about national news (75 percent), international news (74 percent), pop culture (72 percent), their friends (67 percent) and their family (60 percent).

However, when it comes to activities sponsored by the city and federal government within their communities, only 49 percent say that they have become better informed with the Internet. The percentage decreases to 39 percent when the respondents were asked if they were better informed regarding their neighbors and neighborhood in general.

The survey also reveals that 72 percent of users of the Internet see improvements in how they are able to share their ideas and creations with other users, a figure that has increased from 55 percent back in 2006. A likely major factor to this upward trend is the increase in popularity of social media.

The respondents believe that American adults and students as a whole are better informed due to the Internet, with 76 percent saying that adults are better informed and 77 percent saying that students are better informed.

A surprising statistic, however, is that more of the young users of the Internet with ages 30 years old believe that the Internet has not made adults and students better informed. The survey reveals that 19 percent of young adults think that the Internet had made no impact, compared to 9 percent of the respondents that are older than 30 years old.

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