According to Ipsos-Reid, Canadians (particularly young Canadians) are a social bunch when it comes to the Internet. My antidotal offline experience has always told me that my fellow Canadians were high in social capital; it looks like the same may be true online. According to the study 42% of Canadian adults who have Internet access have participated in chat sessions on the Internet, and 32% say that they have participated in interactive gaming (the average increases dramatically for those 18–34). I”m somewhat surprised by these numbers, email has long been the killer app of the Net, to see such a large number of adults using chat, IM and interactive gaming is astounding. Less surprising, and consistent with my own work, 24% of Canadian”s have met a person offline that they first came to know online. A full 14% of online Canadians have actually dated someone they first met online. This is good news for me, social acceptance of online dating has obviously increased and my wife and I can finally drop our “big fat lie” about having met at the library! Ipsos-Reid

There was an article in yesterday’s New York Times about the use of instant messaging between parents and children. I was surprised that the article argued that IM has become integrated into “the broader fabric of the American Family”. Preliminary results from the first two years of my E-neighbors study have found very little use of IM amongst middle-class adults in the maintenance of their personal support networks (including contact with children). I’m sure that the IM continues to grow in popularity, but I doubt that it has become a part of everyday communication for most parents and children. There is a very good article by Bonka Boneva and Robert Kraut in The Internet in Everyday Life that takes a detailed empirical look at parent child relationships and email use. I did like the discussion in the NYT article of local uses of IM; how spouses are using IM to communicate with each other and their children within the same home. NYT Article