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This paper investigates the intensity and scope of Internet usage among individual Canadians, based on data from the 2005 and 2007 Canadian Internet Use Surveys (CIUS). It profiles various aspects of online behaviour and analyzes the 2007 findings to examine patterns of scope of Internet use by user characteristics. Multivariate analyses are applied to explore the relationships among Internet use behaviour and characteristics such as age, sex, income, and education.
In addition to the shift from dial-up to high-speed Internet access that has been occurring among Canadian Internet users, the 2005 to 2007 period also saw a slight increase in the proportion of users who were online daily and for at least five hours per week. While this proportion is growing, fewer than 50% of Canadian Internet users were characterized as high intensity users in 2005 and 2007. Among individuals with high-speed connections, the low intensity users continued to outnumber the high intensity ones, challenging the notion that access to a high speed connection leads to intensive Internet usage. Among Internet users, age, income, sex, and years of online experience were all associated with the propensity to engage in online activities and to use the Internet intensively. The finding that experienced Internet users do use the Internet in more extensive ways underscores the importance of studying the nature of Internet users as they gain more experience.
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