Over Half of Young Adults Go Online For No Real Reason At All, Says Report

We swear that’s not an Onion headline. According to a new report from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 53% of young adults aged 18-29 go online “for no particular reason except to have fun or to pass the time” on a typical day. (Note that the survey question specifically asked if users had done so “yesterday”.)

It’s not just the Millenials that are whiling the hours online, though; 34% of all adults use the Internet to do nothing in particular, too.

Additionally, 81% of young adults and 58% of all adults use the Internet this way “occasionally”. True, the survey also found that there’s plenty of purposeful Internet use among that age group, but the above facts remain.

Although those numbers may be cringe-inducing at first glance, it really just makes sense. There’s a lot to do via the Internet that was impossible just a few years ago and not available to many users until fairly recently. The Pew survey noted that the rise in this type of online activity is largely attributable to the availability of broadband, and it follows, broadband-enabled activities such as online video-watching. There’s also this new craze called social networking that we hear young people are into.

A key aspect of the definition of what “fun” is is important to this survey; respondents had no parameters on the definition of “fun”, so they could define the term however they wished. If anything, then, these numbers beg the question: Have 42% of online adults (and 19% of online young adults) not discovered Netflix? Or Facebook? Or Steam? Or fantasy football? Or Pandora? Or the Cheezburger network?

Perhaps the headline should instead be “Many Adults Still Just Don’t Get the Internet”.
Via:  Pew Internet
Tags:  Pew
CDeeter 3 years ago

Um, the internet is supposed to be fun, right? And hey if I'm online, I'm not out robbing a store or anything like that. So it's all good :-]

MMcCutcheon 3 years ago

LOL..I'm in that age range, and I got on the net to check my e-mail. And 1 hour later still on just looking at random stuff and checking hardware pages. I pretty much spend at least 1 hour a day on the internet for no particular reason. It's better than TV.

ThunderBird 3 years ago

I don't know about you all but I don't think visiting Hot Hardware for my daily fix of tech news and reviews is a waste of time.

They clearly are not speaking to me on this matter.

Manduh 3 years ago

I usually have a purpose when I first go online, but always find myself sidetracked for a couple hours before I go offline again.

jonation 3 years ago

i argue what's a difference in turning on the TV to watch/play something vs my computer? Pretty much just price.

AKwyn 3 years ago

Well I'm one of the people who use the internet mainly for fun (also some discussion.). Granted, the internet does have some useful purposes but I always seem to get sidetracked by the having fun part...

rapid1 3 years ago

Wait why was I on here again. Oh yeah I am not a young adult so it does not matter. Booyaa!

OMEGADraco 3 years ago

Not surprising... Most young adults just get online and start browsing youtube or facebook for random stuff.

FreeJet 3 years ago


Inspector 3 years ago

Erm i go online just for HH :P lol. But meh i do have things to take care of daily so i say there is a reason for me. But most of the day i say i'm just bored... :P

RSmith 3 years ago

Very rarely do I ever get on the internet, or even on my computer whatsoever, without purpose.  I do my absolute best to use my time wisely.  Sometimes, such as when I'm getting sick, it doesn't work that way, and I do so out of boredom.  That doesn't happen often either, but it does happen.  Of well over 95% of my time spent online, I'm on here with a specific purpose.

Der Meister 3 years ago

I would say about 99% of people go on the net for no real reason other then its something to do/pass the time. Sure people might go to check their email but how many just check their email then get off? 

vorthex 3 years ago

so having fun = having no reason for going online? oook...

gazd1 3 years ago

I'm one for going online for a purpose! Always have been & always will be!Cool

OptimusPrimeTime 3 years ago

[quote user="gazd1"]

I'm one for going online for a purpose! Always have been & always will be!Cool


I have to agree 100% on that gazd1, if I'm going online , its for a purpose, you are so wise Cool

gloriad1 3 years ago

Yeah! Same here gazd1. I'm online for a purpose and that is to put a post up here.

oasis789 3 years ago

In the age of data analytics of actual usage activity, how is this even a valid method?

Jheck1 3 years ago

Appropriate thread.  My wife and I are trying to decide now if we get our 10 year old son a computer for his room for Xmas.   He's into video editing (chk him out on youtube...Supermarmarman1), and while I don't think he'd abuse it at 10, I'm worried about what he'll be watching in a few years.  Can't block everything.

Internet is a scary thing (for parents)...:P

AKwyn 3 years ago

@Jheck1 Well the internet can be a scary thing but then again, everything can be scary. I guess the best thing you can do is have a talk with your son about these type of things. Teach them about the dangers, educate them about what's wrong and then give them your thoughts about what you think so they can make a choice for themselves. I mean even 10 year old kids can make choices.

Trying to block your kid from danger is not going to work out in the end, it's just better to be out in the open about it and let your kids make the right decisions. Easy to be responsible then to be overprotective.

MMcCutcheon 3 years ago

@Jheck1 I remember my 10-14 year old days on a computer...parental controls are a bit better now, but then again it is a lot easier to find a lot of "pron" sites. A handful (maybe more) of them requiring no age verification or sign up at all. Those are the sites with long videos, not the 1000s of  free picture sites. There are other things that you can find on the net too, but I think that is more likely to be the thing most boys look for once they get a little older :) Never tried to google building a pipe bomb or anything, but I think a lot of that stuff has been removed these days..but new sites pop up all the time and take time to take down.

And if he learns things from other kids at school or surfs the net long enough...he will find away around the parental controls..such as using a different browser if he wants to get to a site badly enough or wants to know what it is.

Aoshi 3 years ago

Oh man and it's even worse. I see 10 year olds with iPhone 4s. Now that's just overkill. There should be a study on how many kids have smart phones and are young.

MOmer 3 years ago

wow i like it



eunoia 3 years ago


94_xj 3 years ago

Compared to yester-year getting online isn't something you have to even think about. Remember having to dial up and hoping that you could get a spot on the server? How about those 56k modems?

With always on connections and "slow" connections still being over 150kbps the data is flowing quite freely and getting online for "no particular reason" is as easy as watching television...and I'm glad it is.

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