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Internet Education In New Zealand

EMBARGOED to 6.00pm, Tuesday 25 November 2008

Internet Education In New Zealand

A major international survey of Internet behaviour ranks New Zealand as a leader in its educational use of the Internet, but low in its broadband penetration.

World Internet Project findings from 13 countries and regions world-wide released this week highlight remarkable similarities alongside significant differences in the way users utilise and rely on the Internet.

New Zealand has the highest proportion of people using the Internet for distance education at 21%, and the second highest Internet use at school with an average of 5.2 hours per week, second behind Australia.

But New Zealand ranked second lowest on broadband penetration with 65%, ahead of only Colombia and equal to urban China, and is second highest in its reliance on dialup access.

Project Director Professor Allan Bell says the New Zealand World Internet Project (WIP) survey was conducted a year ago by AUT University’s Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication (ICDC) and is compared with 12 other countries.

While most people aged 18 and over in all of the WIP countries and regions except Hungary are current Internet users, New Zealand and Canada have the highest overall proportions of Internet users at 77%. The disparity between proportions of men and women using the Internet was smallest in New Zealand, with only 1% difference.

Other major points for New Zealand include:

• New Zealand has the highest proportion of people using online banking (56% at least weekly)
• New Zealand ranks alongside Canada and the USA in having the highest frequency of email checking (over 80% report daily or more frequent email checking)
• The majority of users in most countries feel the Internet does not impact on their face-to-face time with other people. However, more people perceive that the internet has decreased the amount of face-to-face time they spend with others, than perceive an increase in such contact. In New Zealand this concern is less extreme than Ῡn many countries, including Australia, Canada and the USA.
• New Zealand has very similar profiles to other countries on downloading music and video, playing games online, attitudes towards the Internet and government, attitudes towards television and radio, and reasons for not using the Internet.

Professor Bell says this pioneering report presents a great opportunity to understand where New Zealand stands on the world stage in terms of Internet use.

“Such information is invaluable not only in assessing the social impact of the Internet on the lives of New Zealanders, but also in identifying areas where we both excel and fall short. This may affect policies concerning the development of the Internet whether related to business, education, culturally, socially or politically," Ῠe says.

The World Internet Project findings cover Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Macao, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.

The next New Zealand survey will be conducted in 2009, when Chile, Cyprus, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, South Korea, Spain and the United Arab Emirates will also be included in the international comparisons.

The World Internet Project, a longitudinal study which aims to track the trends of the Internet and its impact around the world by surveying both users and non-users, originated from the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, a policy and research centre in the United States. Such a survey enables cross-country comparisons of Internet use, which is invaluable for establishing how New Zealand is positioned globally with new media technology.

The WIP is funded through the National Library of New Zealand under the New Zealand Government’s Digital Strategy, and by InternetNZ.


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