7.3. Daily life

The Internet has fundamentally changed a variety of daily activities, from communicating with others, to shopping and banking, to finding information and entertainment content.

On average, in the OECD area, 63% of Internet users accessed online social networks in 2018. Social media can enable individuals to maintain existing social relationships and to build new ones. Evidence on the impact of online social networks on real-life social connections and mental health is mixed. Some warn that online social contact may crowd out real-life interactions and lower the quality of face-to-face contact (Rotondi et al., 2017). However, much evidence supports the idea that online social networks enhance social capital (Dienlin et. al, 2017; Liu et. al., 2016). Nevertheless, it is likely that not all segments of society benefit from online social networks to the same extent. For example, people with mobility issues (e.g. the elderly) could benefit greatly from online networks but are less likely to have the skills needed to access and use them.

Online banking services are now widely available in OECD countries, often via apps as well as websites. On average, 66% of Internet users in the OECD area used online banking in 2018, though this proportion varies from 15% or less in Japan and Mexico, to over 90% in Estonia, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries. While uptake of on-line banking in these countries increased by only 5-10 percentage points between 2010 and 2017, reflecting their longstanding near-ubiquitous use, adoption has increased strongly in many other countries, tripling in Greece, and roughly doubling in Turkey and the Czech Republic since 2010. In almost all countries, individuals from households in the highest income quartile are most likely to use online banking, while those in the lowest quartile tend to have a much lower uptake. In some countries, the lowest income households may tend not use banking services at all, or use small local banks that do not offer online banking, leading to a wide disparity in uptake. For example, in Brazil online banking use was 58 percentage points higher amongst people from the highest income households than the lowest income households in 2016.

The Internet offers ready access to an almost infinite pool of information. In 2017, on average, 65% of people aged 16-74 in the OECD area used the Internet to access news content – an increase of around one-third compared to 2010. In Iceland, Norway and Korea, online news usage reaches 90% of people aged 16-74, whereas in Chile and Colombia, where Internet access itself is more limited, the share is around 20%. However, the quality of information available online can be highly variable. While in some cases online news offers an important alternative to printed or television news influenced by political or business interests, it can be challenging for users to ensure that the news they read online is correct and un-biased. As such, skills such as critical thinking, healthy scepticism, and the ability to research around news topics are likely to become increasingly important.

Did You Know?

On average in the OECD, 90% of young people aged between 16 and 24 use the Internet for social networking, compared to 32% of 55-74 year olds.

Definitions

Internet users are individuals who accessed the Internet within the last three months prior to surveying. Some countries use different recall periods (see chapter notes).

Online news refers to “individuals using the Internet for reading online sites/newspapers/news magazines”.

Measurability

These data are typically gathered through direct surveys of households’ ICT usage, which ask if the respondent has undertaken a specific activity during the recall period. The OECD Model Survey on ICT Access and Usage by Households and Individuals (OECD, 2015) proposes a wide range of activities including social networking, e-banking, reading online news and many more. A recall period of three months (meaning the respondent should have undertaken the online activities in the three months prior to being surveyed) is recommended, though some countries use longer recall periods or specify no recall period at all. Such methodological differences may impact international comparisons.

Data might also reflect a variety of country-specific elements, including the diffusion and ease of use of alternative channels to perform certain activities (e.g. bank branches and ATMs in the case of banking services), as well as institutional aspects. For example, in Korea the amount of money individuals are allowed to transfer via the Internet is subject to limitations on grounds of security.

Measuring the frequency and intensity of social network use would provide important additional information. Specific research designs can help shed light on the positive and negative effects of social media use on people’s social connections and mental health. Longitudinal studies have the potential to be particularly instrumental in gaining insight on the causal effects of social media use on various dimensions of well-being.

While some ICT usage surveys inquire about online information search activities, they do not currently gather any information on the usefulness or quality of that information, or the quantities consumed. Given the wide variation in the quality of information available online, such binary measures offer only a very partial initial insight into individuals’ use of online information.

Individuals who used the Internet to access social networking sites, by age, 2018
As a percentage of individuals in each age group
picture

Source: OECD, ICT Access and Usage by Households and Individuals Database, http://oe.cd/hhind, December 2018. See 1.

1. Unless otherwise stated, Internet users are defined as individuals who accessed the Internet within the last 3 months. For Korea and New Zealand, the recall period is 12 months. For the United States, the recall period is 6 months.

For Australia, data refer to the fiscal years 2016/17 and 2010/11 ending on 30 June. The information provided is drawn from responses to a question whose wording differs slightly to that requested: “Activities of Internet access at home, in the previous 3 months – Social networking”.

For Brazil, data refer to 2010 and 2016.

For Canada, data refer to 2010 and 2012.

For Chile, data refer to 2017.

For Colombia, data refer to 2012 and 2017.

For Costa Rica, data refer to 2017 and to individuals aged 18 to 74 instead of 16-74.

For Israel, data refer to 2010 and 2016 and relate to Internet usage for discussion and communication groups, such as chats, forums, WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, Twitter, etc. Data refer to individuals aged respectively 20 and more instead of 16-74 and 20-24 instead of 16-24.

For Japan, data refer to 2012 and 2016 and to individuals aged 15-69 instead of 16-74.

For New Zealand, data refer to 2012.

For Korea and Switzerland, data refer to 2010 and 2017.

For Mexico, data refer to 2013 and 2017.

For the United States, data refer to 2017.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930934

Individuals who used the Internet for Internet banking, by income, 2018
As a percentage of Internet users in each household income quartile
picture

Source: OECD, ICT Access and Usage by Households and Individuals Database, http://oe.cd/hhind, December 2018. See 1.

1. Unless otherwise stated, Internet users are defined as individuals who accessed the Internet within the last 3 months. The recall period is 12 months for Canada, Colombia, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand, and 6 months for the United States.

For Australia, data refer to the fiscal year 2016/17 ending on 30 June.

For Brazil, data refer to 2016.

For Canada and New Zealand, data refer to 2012.

For Chile, data refer to 2017.

For Colombia, data refer to 2017 and to the second lowest quartile instead of the lowest quartile.

For Costa Rica, data refer to 2017 and to individuals aged 18-74 instead of 16-74.

For Japan, data refer to 2016 and to individuals aged 15-69 instead of 16-74.

For Israel, data refer to 2016 and to individuals aged 20 and over instead of 16-74.

For Iceland, data refer to 2017.

For Korea, Mexico and Switzerland, data refer to 2017.

For the United States, data refer to 2017 and include Internet banking, investing, paying bills online and other financial services.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930953

Individuals who used the Internet to access news online, 2017
As a percentage of all individuals
picture

Source: OECD, ICT Access and Usage by Households and Individuals Database, http://oe.cd/hhind, October 2018. See 1.

1. Data refer to individuals using the Internet for reading online news sites/newspapers/news magazines in the previous three months.

For Brazil, data refer to 2010 and 2016.

For Canada, data refer to 2010 and 2012.

For Chile and Colombia, data refer to 2013 and 2017.

For Japan, data refer to 2012 and 2016.

For New Zealand, data refer to 2012.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930972

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