Over nine out of ten adults report that an internet or cellphone service interruption during the COVID-19 outbreak would impact their daily life, while 49 percent say it would be a very big problem, according to the findings from a Pew Research Center American Trends Panel survey.
The survey was conducted from March 19, 2020 to March 24, 2020 and based on self-administered web surveys of 11,537 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
In a country where all but eight states have enacted social distancing, stay-at-home, and reduced travel guidelines, it’s no wonder that people in the United States have turned to the internet to stay connected and to find the latest COVID-19 informtion.
From businesses to schools to community groups, people are using their internet or cellphone connections to stay in touch with each other and search for information about COVID-19.
Key Takeaways from the Survey
- 64 percent of American adults think the internet and cellphones will help, but are not a replacement for in-person interactions
- Slightly over three-quarters (76 percent) of American adults say they have used email or messaging services to communicate with others
- 70 percent of adults report searching online for information about COVID-19, though only four out of ten have shared COVID-19 information on social media
- Only 25 percent of American adults surveyed have used video-conferencing platforms to attend a work-related meeting. Usage increases to 46 percent for college-educated adults while it decreases to 11 percent for workers with a high school education or less.
- 82 percent of adults aged 18 to 29 years of age have searched online for COVID-19 information compared to 52 percent of 65+ year old adults
- Almost one-half of Hispanic adults (49 percent) report using social media to share/post COVID-19 information, compared to 37 percent of black adults and 34 percent of white adults
- Women (55 percent) are more likely than men (44 percent) to report that an internet or cellphone outage would be a big issue
- Less than one in six (16 percent) American adults have used the internet or email to connect with doctors or other medical professionals
As someone who is active daily on social media, sharing technology information as well as COVID-19 updates, I was intrigued with the results of the report.
I wasn’t surprised by the number of people who use email or messaging services to communicate with others.
But I didn’t expect to see the large difference in women vs. men reporting an internet or cellphone outage would impact their lives.
Nor the big difference in age groups searching online for COVID-19 information.
And somehow I thought there would be more people interacting on email or the Internet with medical professionals.
A reminder that you should never assume.
One other item that surprised me: almost half of Hispanics surveyed used social media to post or share information about COVID-19.
I encourage you to read the report summary for more details.