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Internet "nerds" are better church attenders and are actually very sociable

Originally Published 23 November 2001
Internet users go to church more often, and are more likely than non-users to belong to voluntary organisations and to trust other people according to new research by Professor Andrew Oswald and Dr Jonathan Gardner from the University of Warwick.

Contrary to the stereotype of the internet user as a young, male loner who prefers meeting virtual friends in a chat room to going out with real people this latest research has found that although internet users are usually young and male they are also frequently very sociable.

Almost a third (30%) of internet users belong to a community group compared with less than a quarter (23%) of non-users. Also after factoring out other differences such as age Internet users are around 50% more likely to go regularly to church.

Professor Andrew Oswald said, "They don?t leave out their friends and family because they spend time hunched over their computer - they simply watch less television. This research should be very useful in overturning some common stereotypes."

The research found that while a third of people make personal use of the internet there is a huge divide in who does and does not surf. Those with money and education are far more likely to use the Net than those without. Almost two thirds (61%) of those earning £32,000 or more a year make personal use of the internet, compared with just a tenth (9%) of those earning between £6,000 and £12,000. Among graduates around three quarters (72%) use the Internet in this way, but only a tenth (9%) of those with no qualifications do so. More men (40%) make personal use of the internet than women (28%) - and they use it for longer on average (3.5 hours per week compared with 2.5 hours).

Note for Editors:

The research forms part of the 18th British Social Attitudes report, Britain?s most authoritative annual survey of public attitudes. British Social Attitudes Public Policy, Social Ties The 18th report: 2001-02 Edition published this week and produced by Britain?s largest social research institute, the National Centre for Social Research, the report takes an independent and impartial look at the nation?s changing social values.

For further information please contact:

Professor Andrew Oswald, Professor of Economics
University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 523510 (Office),
01367 860005 (Home)
email (office) (home)


Further information about the above press release and all other media services at the University of Warwick can be obtained from:

Peter Dunn, Press Officer
Public Affairs Office
Senate House
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL
West Midlands
Tel: 024 76 523708