Canadians’ reliance on internet has surged, and Facebook is the most toxic social media platform: CIRA report

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) recently published some data on Canada’s internet usage and uncovered changing trends on Canada’s internet usage patterns and people’s behaviour when working from home.

CIRA tested internet performance at the internet exchange points instead of the architecture owned by large internet providers. CIRA calls this type of test “off-net”, which it says is neutral. The other type of test is called “on-net”, which tests the internet quality from the user to the internet service provider.

Canadians are spending a ton of time online. Thirty-three per cent spend three to four hours, and 15 per cent spending more than 8 hours online per day.

The quality of the internet affects real-estate decisions as well. The CIRA report noted that seven out of 10 Canadians likely will not purchase a home without high-speed internet access, which highlights the value Canadians place on internet access.

It’s well-known that reliance on the internet spiked during the COVID 19 lockdown. People turned to the internet for entertainment, shopping, school and work. It became even more critical than ever before.

The good news, highlighted in the CIRA report, is that nine in ten Canadians have access to broadband. The satisfaction rate sits at 81 per cent. Median download speeds even increased in 2020, jumping to 22.58Mbps in urban areas, and 8.16Mbps in rural areas.

News sources

To stay informed, 54 per cent of Canadians directly visit news specific news sites. Nearly 50 per cent also actively seek information on Google, and 36 per cent look to Facebook for news. Despite being used by seven in ten Canadians, 41 per cent of Canadians named Facebook as the worst social media platform to use, and 38 per cent as the most addictive. In contrast, YouTube is the most helpful social media platform, with 20 per cent of Canadians saying so.

36 per cent of Canadians still refer to Facebook as a source of news.

The burden of IT has arrived on the doorsteps of family and friends. But although people are spending more time in front of their computers–15 per cent spend more than 8 hours per day online– impromptu tech support remained at the same prevalence as the year prior. With 44 per cent of Canadians reporting that they performed unofficial tech support, the number did not increase significantly.

And despite phishing attacks that capitalize on the fear of panic of COVID-19, worries over cybersecurity has dropped. In 2020, three-quarters of Canadians say they’re concerned about malware on the internet versus 80 per cent in the year prior. Out of the respondents, 27 per cent say they’d been the victim of a successful cyberattack in 2020.

Maybe it’s time to spend some time away from the internet; at least 66 per cent of Canadians are willing to take a completely disconnected vacation.

With lives becoming more and more tied to the web, a majority of Canadians are willing to take vacations to areas without internet connectivity. Connecting with family stood as the biggest reason for going offline, followed by reconnecting with friends. But even then, 18 per cent of respondents are unwilling to be unplugged even during a vacation.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT Business. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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