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Half of all UK homes have access to the Net, according tothe Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Some 12 million homes have Net access, compared with just one in ten (2.2 million) homes in 1998.

Of those Net users quizzed, eight out of ten said they used the Net to search for information and for email. Four in ten said they had received too many junk emails over the last year and considered this to be a security problem.

Three in ten said they had been infected with a computer virus, while two in ten said they had received "offensive e-mails".

A third of punters said they had not experienced any problems at all.

Earlier today Nielsen/NetRatings reported that the UK has the highest number of kids online of any European nation with some 4.5 million youngsters accessing the Net. ®

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