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The Internet is fast becoming such an integral part of people's lives they are finding it increasingly difficult to manage without it, according to the 1998 Cyberstudy, conducted by researchers Roper Starch and America Online. Of the 1001 Americans questioned, nearly half of those with laptops said they take them on holiday and a quarter said they check their e-mail while on vacation. And if given the option of being stranded on a desert island with either a TV, telephone or PC, two-thirds said they would prefer to have Net connection to communicate with the outside world. Around 80 per cent of people confirmed that that the Net makes many activities easier and more convenient. And almost half (47 per cent) of them believe that being online has a more positive influence on their children than watching TV (35 per cent). "This first-of-its-kind study confirms that our vision for the interactive medium is becoming a reality," said Bob Pittman, AOL's president and COO. "The Internet is becoming a necessity -- in fact, other Roper research suggests it has surpassed VCRs, stereos and cable TV as a necessity for those who have access to them." "Whether it's keeping in touch with friends and family, getting information to make better buying decisions or trading stocks, people are clearly seeing everyday tasks are easier and more convenient when they're done online -- and the longer people have been online, the more benefits they notice," he said. The survey also found that 51 per cent of people prefer using e-mail as a business communication tool compared to 35 per cent who prefer the telephone and five per cent who prefer traditional paper mail services. ®

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