Internet is eroding our morals: survey

People in developing nations are convinced that the internet is a having more of a negative effect on morality and politics than a positive effect, a survey released Thursday shows.

About 42 per cent of people surveyed last year by Pew Research Centre in 32 developing nations said the internet was a “bad influence” on morality, the study showed. Thirty per cent said the same about its affect on politics.

In three other areas – education, personal relationships and the economy – people surveyed said the internet has had an overall positive influence, according to the Washington-based researcher.

The survey looked at internet use from any device – a smartphone, tablet or computer in the developing nations – concluding that many people are left out of the internet entirely.

The survey also made some general findings about the use of the internet in developing countries.

It showed, for example, a median of less than half – 44 per cent – across the 32 countries use the internet at least occasionally. That compares with 87 per cent in the United States, according to Pew’s data on US internet usage compiled in 2014.

The survey also found that computer ownership in developing countries varies widely from as little as 3 per cent in Uganda to 78 per cent in Russia.

Mobile phone ownership on the other hand is high at a median of 84 per cent across the 32 nations, not far off from the US figure of 90 per cent.

But smartphones are not nearly as common as conventional mobile phones. A median of only 24 per cent of the people in the 32 countries said they owned one.

The countries involved in the survey were Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam.

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Internet is eroding our morals: survey