Canadians Win for Internet Usage Worldwide

Lynsey Kitching

Are you reading this article online? If so than you are among the vast majority of Canadians using the internet. (If you’re not,

Shocking isn’t it? Not really, but what is kind of shocking is that Canadians spend more time online than any other country. We spend on average about 45.6 hours surfing that technological wave that could take us just about anywhere.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has recently done a study and some of the information is really quite interesting and a little frustrating as well.

So why do we spend so much time in front of the computer? Mark Buell, Communications Manager for the CIRA says, “Canada has pretty much always led in the number of hours spent online. Ten years ago Canada was the leader in broadband adoption in the world. We like our tech and we like to use it. Geography could play a role, we’re a large country and it facilitates communication between vast areas of the country,” he continues explaining some of the other interesting facts discovered in the recent study done, “The fact is we do pay among the highest rates in the world for actually some of the lowest internet access in the world. There are a few reasons for that. One is geography, we are the second largest country on the world, we are a massive region with a very small spread out population and it costs a lot of money to put the communications infrastructure in to facilitate internet access.”

Canada ranked 23 out of 30 OACD (The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries for price and speed of internet; we’re nearly at the bottom, yet we use the most.

But things are slowly improving. The report from the CIRA says, “The good news is that Canada’s performance has improved over the last year, up from a rank of 23 to 19, as prices have dropped by 20 percent to $3.29 per megabyte and speed has more than doubled from 21 mbps to 45 mbps.”

A recent ComScore study claims Canadians almost double the global average in internet usage. And with their number of online hours increasing every year, Canadians are spending more and more time on social networking and entertainment sites, like YouTube and Facebook, which now account for the most popular content online.

Even though we use a lot of internet, the same does not ring true with the other fast-paced technological device, the cell phone. Buell explains, “One of the things I found fascinating is that we really lag with cell phone adoption. Only 60 percent of Canadians have a cell phone and in other parts of the world that number is over 100 percent. There are more cell phones than people,” he continues, “A lot of the world are now accessing the internet via mobile phones and we’re not. Only 20 percent of us are using phones to access the internet. That’s far below our international counterpart, but it is growing and we’ll catch up someday.”

The CIRA attributes this to the fact that a lot of the world doesn’t have a really robust landline system. In Canada there really wasn’t much of a need to adopt cell phones because as Buell says, “our landline phones are so good.”

However our mobile phone use is growing quite rapidly and Rogers speculates that we’ll be at 100 percent by 2015.

Buell says, “The younger generation is picking it up.” And this opens up a whole new can of something all by its self. How do we monitor what our children are watching online? The Canadian Centre for Child Protection have come out with some tips to keep your child safe online: Educate your children about the risks of webcam use. Video broadcast over the Internet is permanently out there and can be saved and distributed by anyone.

If your computer is hacked, someone you do not know could remotely use your webcam to spy on you in your own house without you even knowing. If you’re not using your webcam, unplug it or cover it up.

Make sure your children are careful about discussing vacations or trips away from home online. They could be letting the wrong people know when your house will be empty—leaving your whole family vulnerable to a break-in; be careful about what you post about your children or activities related to them like the location of their school, or where you or they are volunteering; Turn off the GPS geotagging feature on their phones, so photos or posts do not reveal their location; learn about the tools available through your Internet service provider (ISP) that can help you manage your children’s online experience (i.e., appropriate websites, amount of time spent online, who can and cannot contact them); help your child set-up their online profiles, and ask him/her to leave out personal information like their birthday, full name, social insurance number, address, phone number, etc; be aware of what your child does online. Keep an eye on the sites they’re visiting by keeping the computer in a common area like the kitchen.