COVID-19 impacts on Australian adults’ online activities and attitudes

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For many Australians, social distancing and isolation during COVID-19 has triggered a dramatic lifestyle change with increased reliance on the internet for day-to-day activities such as working, communicating, entertainment and shopping. This research report provides a unique snapshot of how restrictions have impacted Australians’ online behaviours and attitudes, and highlights some of the challenges respondents have experienced.

For this research eSafety asked Australian adults a range of questions, posed in Omnipoll’s online omnibus survey. This ran from May 21 – 25 2020 with a sample of 1,229 online.

Key findings:

  • Australians using the internet a lot more for one or more tasks increased by 56%.
  • Nearly four in 10 Australians had a negative experience online during the first few months of the pandemic including receiving unwanted messages or contact (26%), being sent unwanted inappropriate content (12%) and having things said online to provoke an argument (8%).
  • Despite these negative experiences, Australians viewed the internet as important or essential during the COVID19 lockdown, particularly for paying bills and banking (87%), accessing news and information (82%), staying in touch with family and friends (80%), work (75%), entertainment (71%), staying fit and healthy (44%), and buying groceries (39%).
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