WASHINGTON - Most people are happy with the Internet as a source of on-demand information, with only a small percentage hit by "information overload," a survey of US users showed.
Some 72 per cent of those surveyed said they liked having the Internet's resources at their fingertips, and 26 per cent felt overwhelmed by the amount of data online.
"We have asked this 'information overload' question since the beginning of our research in 2000 and have consistently found the same thing: Americans like lots of information choices and don't feel particularly oppressed by the growing flows of material into their lives," said Lee Rainie, Internet project director at the Pew Research Centre.
"Even through all the tech change in the past generation, people say they are coping fine and relish the new options they have to get and share the information that matters to them."
The Pew survey shows that 87 per cent of adults who access the Internet said it has improved their ability to learn new things.
Some three-fourths of those surveyed said they are better informed about national and international news and pop culture because of the Internet.
And 67 per cent said they are better informed about friends and 60 per cent know more about their family from online tools.
More than seven in 10 Internet users say digital technologies have improved their ability to share their ideas and creations with others, up from 55 per cent in 2006, the report said.
This comes with two thirds of those online using social networking sites.
The survey found 77 per cent of adult Internet users say today's students are better informed because of online access, and just 8 per cent said it has made them less well-informed.
Surprisingly, the respondents under age 30 were less convinced of the Internet's value: 19 per cent in that age group said the Internet has had little impact on students, compared with 9 per cent of those older than 30.
The report is based on an online survey conducted Sept 12-18 among a sample of 1,066 adult Internet users. The margin of error is estimated at 3.3 percentage points.