Society saved by the social network: ANUpoll

The latest ANUpoll, released today – The Internet and Civil Society – shows that far from increasing social isolation because users are in front of a computer screen, the Internet is actually having a positive effect on civil society.

In the lead up to the roll out of the National Broadband Network, the report takes a snapshot of Internet usage in Australia including how many households have Internet access, how often people use the Internet and what they use it for. Some of the findings from ANUpoll include:

• Frequent Internet use is helping people with social interaction. For example, 54 per cent of respondents said that the Internet helped them interact with people from other countries.

• Increased Internet usage is not leading to a more individualistic society. For example, 70 per cent of those who use the Internet more than once a day felt that to be a good citizen it was very important to support people who are worse off than themselves.

• Around one third of respondents say that the Internet has helped them interact with people of a different race from their own, and half of respondents say the Internet has helped them interact with people from other countries.

• Around one in four respondents said they have visited the websites of political organisations or candidates, and one in five said they had forwarded electronic messages with political content.

• A total of 82 per cent of respondents have broadband access, and two-thirds say they use the Internet at least once a day.

This is the eighth ANUpoll. ANUpoll is a survey of Australian public opinion on matters of national importance. ANUpoll differs from other opinion polls by benchmarking Australia against international opinion. This poll was conducted by Professor Ian McAllister and Dr Juliet Pietsch of the School of Political and International Relations at ANU.

A copy of ANUpoll – The Internet and Civil Society – can be found here: ANUpoll.

Contacts: For interviews: Professor Ian McAllister – 02 6125 553 or 0416 249 552; Dr Juliet Pietsch – 02 6125 8311 or 0437 366 553 For media assistance: Martyn Pearce, ANU Media – 02 6125 5575