02.07.2003 12:00 PM
Study finds Internet more important than TV

Overall, Internet users are averaging 11 hours per week online, up more than an hour from last year.

Online users in the U.S. now consider the Internet far more important as an information source than television and at least as important as print media, a new study from the University of California has found.

About 61 percent find the Internet "very" or "extremely" important to get their news - about the same importance the users place on books and newspapers. By comparison, just half find television important, 40 percent think that of radio and 29 percent of magazines.

The survey found Internet users are spending more time online than before and watching an average of five hours less television each week than non-users. Overall, Internet users are averaging 11 hours per week online, up more than an hour from last year.

The survey of 2,000 households was conducted during the third annual nationwide survey on the Internet released last week by the University of California at Los Angeles.

However, with its gains, comes distrust of the Internet. Only 53 percent of users believe most or all of what they read online, down from 58 percent a year earlier, the survey found. Nearly a quarter of those concerned about using credit cards online say nothing can ease their fears.

The increased skepticism is healthy and suggests people "getting burned" are learning that they haven't been trained to assess the credibility of online sources, said Jeff Cole, director of the UCLA Center for Communication Policy.

For more information www.ccp.ucla.edu

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