Internet users share many common interests, but men are heavier consumers of news, stocks, sports and pornography while more women look for health and religious guidance, a broad survey of US Web usage has found. The study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, released today, finds men are slightly more intense users of the Web. Men log on more frequently and spend more time online. More men also have access to quick broadband connections than do women.
“Once you get past the commonalities, men tend to be attracted to online activities that are far more action-oriented, while women tend to value things involving relationships or human connections,” said Deborah Fallows, a research fellow at Pew and author of the report. A larger number of men surf the Internet for pleasure, with 70 percent acknowledging they go online to pass time, compared with 63 percent of women. Men are more likely than women to listen to music, view Webcams and pay for digital content.
But women are catching up in several areas measured by the survey, and intensive use by younger women suggests some of the gaps will continue to narrow. Already, women are heavier users of e-mail, often going beyond the matter-of-fact responses of male correspondents to use e-mail to share stories, solve issues and reach out to a wider network of friends and family. Both genders look to the Web as a font of information and as an efficient communications tool, said Fallows in an interview.
Overall, the percentage of men and women who use the Web are nearly equal. Roughly 68 percent of men and 66 percent of women report making use of the Web, up from 20 percent of the US population Pew found in 1995, when men made up 58 percent of the online audience.
The report cites data from surveys performed by Pew from 2000 through 2005. Some 6,403 respondents took part in 2005.