One in Four: Internet Can Substitute for Significant Other – Internet Attitudes Poll

November 1, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Media & Entertainment | Men | Women | Youth & Gen X

The internet won’t make you dinner or give you a massage, but nearly one in four Americans – 24% – say it can serve as a substitute for a significant other for some period of time, according to a  poll by 463 Communications and Zogby International.

The percentage was highest among singles, of which 31% said the internet could be a substitute, the Zogby/463 Internet Attitudes poll found.


There was no difference in response among males and females, but there was a split based on political ideology: 31% of those who called themselves “progressives” were open to the internet’s serving as a surrogate significant other; only 18% of those who consider themselves “very conservative” would consider it a substitute.

The Zogby/463 Internet Attitudes poll examined views of what role the internet plays in people’s lives and whether government should play a greater role in regulating it. The online survey was conducted Oct. 4-8, 2007 and included 9,743 adult respondents nationwide.

Government regulation of internet video

  • More than half of Americans say that internet content such as video should be controlled in some way by the government; also:
    • 29% said it should be regulated just like television content.
    • 24% said government should institute an online rating system similar to the one used by the movie industry.
  • Some 36% said the blocking of internet video would be unconstitutional.
  • Only 33% of 18-24-year-olds supported government stepping in on content, while 72% of those over 70 years of age support government regulation and ratings.

“Some view the internet as their new best friend, others as an increasingly powerful tool that can infect our youth with harmful images and thoughts and therefore must be controlled,” said 463 partner Tom Galvin. “Our challenge as a society is to let the internet flourish as a dynamic force in our economy and communities while not chipping away at the fundamental freedoms that created the internet [as it now is] in the first place.”

Other findings

  • Your (digital) identity. More than one in four Americans has a social networking profile such as MySpace or Facebook.
    • Among 18-24 year-olds, it’s almost mandatory – 78% of them report having a social networking profile.
    • More Democrats have a social networking presence than Republicans (32% to 22% ).
    • But few Americans say their internet identity plays a large role in their identity as a person: Only 14% say it is an important part of what they consider to be their identity; 68% responded it’s just how they identity themselves online – it’s not really who they are.


  • Implanting the internet in your brain. Americans may love the internet, but most are not prepared to implant it into their brain, even if doing so were safe:
    • Only 11% of respondents said they be willing to safely implant a device that enabled them to use their mind to access the internet.
    • Men were much more willing than women: 17% of men said they were up for it; only 7% of women said so.


  • Kids’ chips. Though most Americans don’t want the internet implanted in their brain, more are more willing to insert a chip into a child 13 or younger to help track them if they are lost, abducted, or just tend not to be where they are supposed to be:
    • Nearly one in five Americans said they would do so to track a child’s whereabouts.
    • There was no difference in opinion among parents who had younger children and those who did not.
  • The internet and spirituality. Most Americans don’t think the internet has had an effect on their spirituality:
    • 10% said it made them closer to God, while 6% said it made them more distant.
    • 20% of those who call themselves “Born Again” – the most likely to feel it affected them spiritually – said it made them closer, while 11% said it made them more distant from God.


  • What’s in a name? Though there are well-documented fears about identity theft, many Americans would give up their name in return for $100,000 cash:
    • More than one in five Americans said they would change their name to something completely different.
    • Some 34% of 18-24-year-olds said they were prepared to take the offer.

The second installment of the Zogby/463 Internet Attitudes poll will focus on attitudes about the internet’s future and its role in addressing the energy issue and impact on global economies.


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