Why are you online? Just passing time

Using the Internet out of boredom? Not unusual. In fact, it’s a common diversion these days

Using the Internet out of boredom? You're not alone. More adults than ever before are using the Internet to kill time, thanks to the prevalence of high-speed broadband connections and the explosion of social networking.

The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project reports that 58% of U.S. adults go online for no particular reason except to have fun or pass the time. Young adults ages 18-29 are most apt to head online for fun (81% today, compared to 47% who did so in 2000), followed by adults in the 30-49 age group (66% today, compared to 35% in 2000). Even senior citizens are passing the time online; 23% said they go online for no particular reason, compared to 6% who said so in 2000.

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Back in March 2000, when the Pew Internet Project first asked if people were using the Internet as a diversion, 29% of add adults said they had gone online to kill some time. At the time, those who used the Internet in this way were predominately young, affluent, well-educated adults. Now the habit is more universal.

"In the ensuing years, men and women, blacks, Latinos and whites, those in higher-income households and lower-income households, those with a lot of education and those without as much education, have all increased their use of the internet for this reason," Pew Internet Project reports.

In 2011, more men (62%) said they're likely to kill time on the Internet than women (54%).

Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at @annbednarz and check out her blog, Occupational Hazards. Her e-mail address is abednarz@nww.com.

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