Monica Anderson

53% of Americans Say the Internet Has Been Essential During the COVID-19 Outbreak

A survey conducted in early April finds that roughly half of US adults (53%) say the internet has been essential for them personally during the pandemic and another 34% describe it as “important, but not essential.” The survey finds that a majority of Americans (62%) do not think it is the federal government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have a high-speed internet connection at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. And a similar share (65%) do not think the federal government should be responsible for ensuring cellphone services to all.

Americans turn to technology during COVID-19 outbreak, say an outage would be a problem

As the spread of COVID-19 upends work, classes and even doctor appointments across the country, a majority of Americans are turning to digital means to stay connected and track information about the outbreak. Amid this increased reliance, about nine-in-ten US adults (93%) say that a major interruption to their internet or cellphone service during the outbreak would be a problem in their daily life, including 49% who foresee an outage being a very big problem for them and 28% who believe it would be a moderately big problem.

As schools close due to the coronavirus, some U.S. students face a digital ‘homework gap’

As K-12 officials in many states close schools and shift classes and assignments online due to the spread of the new coronavirus, they confront the reality that some students do not have reliable access to the internet at home – particularly those who are from lower-income households. Here are key findings about the internet, homework and how the digital divide impacts American youth:

10 tech-related trends that shaped the decade

  1. Social media sites have emerged as a go-to platform for connecting with others, finding news and engaging politically. 
  2. Around the world and in the US, social media has become a key tool for activists, as well as those aligned against them.
  3. Smartphones have altered the way many Americans go online. 
  4. Growth in mobile and social media use has sparked debates about the impact of screen time on America’s youth – and others.
  5. Data privacy and surveillance have become major concerns in the post-Snowden era.

Americans and Digital Knowledge

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that Americans’ understanding of technology-related issues varies greatly depending on the topic, term or concept. Some findings:

Pluralities in most emerging economies believe government should ensure equal internet access

Internet use is rising in emerging economies, but access to fast, reliable service remains elusive to many living in these nations.

Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2019

As the share of Americans who say they own a smartphone has increased dramatically over the past decade – from 35% in 2011 to 81% in 2019 – a new Pew Research Center survey finds that the way many people choose to go online is markedly different than in previous years. Some highlights:

Digital divide persists even as lower-income Americans make gains in tech adoption

Even as many aspects of the digital divide have narrowed over time, the digital lives of lower- and higher-income Americans remain markedly different. 

Mobile Connectivity in Emerging Economies

After more than a decade of studying the spread and impact of digital life in the United States, Pew Research Center has intensified its exploration of the impact of online connectivity among populations in emerging economies – where the prospect of swift and encompassing cultural change propelled by digital devices might be even more dramatic than the effects felt in developed societies.

Teens’ Social Media Habits and Experiences

Amid growing concern over social media’s impact and influence on today’s youth, a new Pew Research Center survey of US teens finds that many young people acknowledge the unique challenges – and benefits – of growing up in the digital age. Roughly eight-in-ten teens ages 13 to 17 (81%) say social media makes them feel more connected to what’s going on in their friends’ lives, while around two-thirds say these platforms make them feel as if they have people who will support them through tough times.