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Most Internet users easily give up other media: poll

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Almost half of Taiwan’s adults surfed the Internet on a daily basis in 2007, up from three in ten in 2006, according to a new study published yesterday. The survey was conducted by the colleges of journalism and communication at Shih Hsin University on Taiwan’s (young) adults aged between 15 and 64, in the high-, middle- and low-population density areas of Taipei County, Taichung County and Hualien County, respectively.

In Taipei County, the survey found that the Internet was the second most popular form of media, after television and before newspapers. Conversely, in Taichung and Hualien Counties, the Internet ranked third after newspapers. For the whole of Taiwan, media exposure rates were 95 percent for television, 75 percent for newspapers and 70 percent for the Internet.

However, the survey showed that when the surveyed population’s density increased, Internet users would easily give up other media, especially television and newspapers.

A related survey conducted by American advertising agency JWT and published on Sept. 20 showed the same trend: almost half of all respondents said they spent less time watching television in order to surf the Internet. At the same time, a quarter said that they spent less time socializing face-to-face with friends and one in five respondents spent less time having sex in order to spend more time online. Work was the only activity a significant percentage of respondents said they spent more time engaging in — on the Internet.

In Taiwan, if there was no television, half of respondents cited the Internet as the main medium for amusement or news gathering. In the middle- and long-term, some young adults might encounter difficult relationships with their parents as a result of prolonged periods spent on the Internet, said one participant in the event organized for the release of the new survey. Last August, it was reported that a 15-year-old teenager boy committed suicide in Taiwan because his parents didn’t allow him to play online games anymore.

In another related survey, also conducted in the United States but published on Sept. 23 by market researcher Harris Interactive, found that seven in 10 parents of children aged between 6-18 who use the Internet admitted their child had encountered at least “one issue” with the Internet within the past year.

Strong language, sexual or violent content were reported by 24 percent of parents, while 52 percent of them said their child was exposed to advertising. Seven in 10 parents therefore visited Web sites with their children and, almost six in 10 parents reported using a filter or blocking software. At least 85 percent of parents admitted to have talked to their children about online safety in the past year.

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