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A quarter of Americans give Web the finger

Too expensive and dangerous (the Web, not the good ol' boys)

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Yet more research into cyberusage has been released - this time it seems Americans are shunning the Web.

Half the adults in the US don't have Internet access, and 57 per cent of those say they don't want it. Too expensive, apparently, and too dangerous, confusing, and not worth giving the time of day to.

Those least in favour of ever getting online are the over 50s, the unemployed, or households earning less than $50,000. More than 12,000 people were quizzed for The Pew Research Center for People and the Press survey, and Pew reckons it hints that the growth of the US Internet population will slow.

More research out today suggests that poorer Americans surf more at home than richer Americans.

According to the study by Nielsen/NetRatings, the highest income bracket - for some reason labelled "Country Squires" and "Blue-Blood Estates" - spent just 7.1 hours surfing the Net in June. Meanwhile, the "Norma Rae-ville" group - mostly black young families and singles earning less than £32,000 a year - spent an average of 12.6 hours online.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this doesn't mean the digital divide is over, merely that the rich have more access to the Web at work - where they do their "extracurricular surfing".

The top Websites for lower-income households in August were instant message service ICQ.com, WalMart.com and entertainment sites Wotch.com, Emazing.com and SendingFun.com.

The rich favoured investor sites like Schwab.com, thestreet.com and CNBC.com, along with the Boston Globe's Boston.com and MajorLeagueBaseball.com. ®

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