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Brits are surfing the net instead of watching the comings and goings in Albert Square or Coronation Street, according to three surveys. But pornography could be pulling many viewers away from their favourite soaps, one of the surveys concluded. Viewers are increasingly turning off their TVs for their home PCs, logging on between 6pm and 8pm - the times of the accursed soaps. But in the UK, six o'clock in the evening is when call charges get cheaper. The surveys, conducted individually by Microsoft, internetTrak and Lycos, agreed that time spent at home with the computer was increasing. The Microsoft survey, based on a two-year study of 500 UK families, found PC owning households now only spend fifteen hours a week watching the box. This is four hours less than the national average, with the same people spending 7 hours a week at their computer. The Lycos survey of over 6,000 Internet users found that 53 per cent had shopped online. With internetTrak saying as many as 1.6 million Brits had made an e-commerce purchase within the last three months. In the third survey, by Internet company Lycos, 47 per cent of people had reduced their television viewing time in favour of a computer screen. However, although it was revealed that these converts benefit financially, it was debatable if people were completely abandoning their weekly dose of soap smut. Microsoft showed that the richer you are, the more time you spend at your computer, with those earning over £30,000 admitting to 11 PC hours per week. Twenty two per cent of respondents to the internetTrak survey confessed to spending their time visiting adult entertainment sites. ®

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