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Internet users living secret lives online

Irish users 'fess up to their web shame

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As many as 17 per cent of Irish males and 13 per cent of females claim to be secretly ashamed of things they have done online, a new study indicates.

According to research carried out by BT Ireland, 56 per cent of Irish adults now use the internet each day, with a further 30 per cent of males and 26 per cent of females going online every second day, or twice weekly.

While the majority of Irish internet users restrict themselves to regular activities such as catching up on news, booking holidays, banking online and spending time on social networking sties such as Bebo and MySpace, it would seem as though others turn to the net for less wholesome deeds.

The study reveals that while male internet users in Cork say they have done nothing they'd be ashamed of, 36 per cent of online men in Dublin aren't proud of the fact that they gamble online, while 29 per cent admitted that they've secretly looked at their partner's e-mails.

In the meantime, some 67 per cent of Limerick females said they engaged in a number of 'shameful' online activities such as gambling, overspending on their credit cards and checking their partner's e-mails. Dublin women meanwhile are predominantly embarrassed by the amount of money they spend on handbags and shoes and, like their counterparts in Galway, by the amount of time they spend on Bebo.

As many as 10 per cent of Irish males and seven per cent of females also admit to having a secret life online. Up to seveb per cent of online men said they secretly spend time on adult websites, compared to just two per cent of women. In addition, females based in Dublin and Limerick also admitted to buying products and betting without their partner's knowledge.

The study indicates that Irish men and women tend to use the internet differently, with the majority of men going online to check up on news and sports, do their online banking and book holidays, while women are more likely to use social networking websites, buy clothes and download music from the web.

A quarter of Irish males and 33 per cent of females admitted that it is easier to spend money online. However, 66 per cent of men and 58 per cent of women said they spent less than €50 per month, while 28 per cent of males and 39 per cent of females shell out between €50 and €200 per month. Only 3 per cent of Irish males and females claimed to spend more than €200 per month on the internet.

Lastly, the study found that as the internet has increased in popularity, so too have arguments, with 20 per cent of couples admitting to arguing over the amount of time their partner spends online.

© 2007 ENN

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