In the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s report “The Internet and the Recession”, we identified a group of individuals we call “online economic users”. This group—which comprises 69% of all American adults and 88% of all internet users—includes anyone who has turned to online sources for one or more of the following reasons:
- To keep up with the news about the nation’s economy
- To deal with their own financial situation
- To share their thoughts about what is happening with the economy
In that same report, we found that online economic users relied heavily on online sources to make sense of the economic crisis, to adjust their own personal finances, and to share their experiences during the recession with others. This data memo, based on a national telephone survey conducted March 26 to April 19, 2009 among 2,253 Americans (including 561 reached via cell phone), evaluates the flip side of that phenomenon: the degree to which people are using the internet as a diversion and way to relax and take their minds off of their economic troubles.