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Study: At 25, World Wide Web Essential to American Life

Pew survey reveals that the internet is everyone's favorite millennial.

In March of 1989, Tim Berners-Lee published a paper calling for an “information management” system that would ultimately serve as a blueprint for the World Wide Web. On Christmas of that year, Berners-Lee released the code for his system to the entire world, for free.

The web, which turns 25 in March, would come to serve as the primary vessel through which people access the internet, helping to connect computers the world over and provide a central ecosystem for its information.

In a national survey commemorating the silver anniversary of the web, Pew Research released a survey of American internet and web usage.

According to the report, 87 percent of American adults now use the internet. That figure skyrockets to near totality among 18- to 29-year-olds (97 percent), households earning $75,000 or more (99 percent), and individuals with college degrees (97 percent). Fortunately, most also agree that the internet is beneficial on both and individual and societal level.

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Interestingly, adults seem more ready to give up their cell phones and TVs than their internet connections. More adults claimed it would be near-impossible to give up internet access than television service, social media, and phones.

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Perhaps surprisingly, respondents also described their web experiences as mostly positive. Seventy percent claimed they have been treated kindly or generously by others online, compared to 25 percent who say they have been treated unkindly or even attacked.

So remember, kids: Trolls aren’t really that common—they're just really loud.

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Hero image: Wikimedia Commons, Chris 73 (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

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