Internet use continues to soar in the United States, even in sparsely populated areas. According to a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 52 percent of rural residents now have Internet access. That's an increase of 11 percent since 2000.
Rural residents still lag behind their urban counterparts, however. Sixty-seven percent of urbanites use the Internet, as do 66 percent of suburban dwellers.
Of those rural residents who are online, 45 percent say that they surf the Web daily. Only 40 percent of urbanites log on that often.
One big stumbling block for rural residents is lack of choice among Internet providers. Twenty-nine percent of rural users say that their Internet carrier is the only one available to them.
More than 2 million American children ages 6 to 17 have their own personal websites, according to "Children, Families, and the Internet," a survey by Grunwald Associates, a research and consulting firm. This figure, which represents 10 percent of the 23 million young people who have Internet access from home, is rising rapidly. It has tripled since 2000 and is expected to jump to 1 in 4 kids by 2005.
Among the survey findings:
• Boys are more likely than girls to have their own websites (12.2 percent to 8.6 percent).
• 76 percent of kids with broadband Internet access at home say that their home connection is faster than their connection at school.
• 49 percent of kids and 34 percent of their parents say that students get too little time online at school.