The latest findings of the Pew Internet & American Life Project indicate that people in massive numbers are turning to the Internet as a way to escape the misery of the recession. The survey tapped feedback from 2,253 Americans (representative of 88 percent of all Internet users in the U.S.) and found that 74 percent said they’ve used the Internet to “relax and escape from the steady flow of bad economic data.”
The survey also found that online economic users (people who manage finances and seek economic news online) younger than 30 were more likely to use the Internet as an escape; whether or not the user was personally affected by the recession made little difference in the results.
The biggest escape diversions are:
#1 Watching online videos (54 percent of those surveyed)
#2 Listening to music (50 percent)
# 3 Playing games online (37 percent)
# 4 Chatting with friends (33 percent)
#5 Writing blogs and creating other content (22 percent)
The irony of this survey is that the Internet is also a main–perhaps THE main–thoroughfare for economic news. You can barely do anything online without facing dire recession headlines, and for those who manage their finances online, the news is quite consistently horrible.
And yet, the Internet is now so intimately intertwined with our lives that it can be both tormentor and savior, often within the same handful of minutes.
Historical note: two of the favorite great escapes for Americans during the Great Depression were going to cheap movies and listening to the radio. Looking at the top two Internet escapes above, it seems not much has changed.