Almost all 16- and 17-year-olds in Canada have used the Internet, either for doing school work, sending text messages, playing video games or listening to music, according to a study released yesterday.


Statistics Canada said it included this age group for the first time in its Internet use survey and these teens accounted for part of the overall increase in online use in 2007.


“They’re younger, but at the same time they’re experienced users,” said Statistics Canadian official Larry McKeown.


Overall, 73 per cent of Canadians aged 16 and older, or 19.2 million people, used the Internet mostly for e-mail and browsing. That’s compared with 68 per cent in 2005, when the last survey was conducted.
Most of Canada’s Internet users were in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.


The survey found 97 per cent of 16- and 17-year olds have used the Internet. McKeown said 70 per cent of that age group has used the Internet for five or more years.

“Internet use is really a hallmark for an information society,” said McKeown, of Statistic Canada’s science, innovation and electronic information division. “Is this group of people, is this community, is this country ready to compete in an information society? So Internet use is an important hallmark of that, an indicator of what I might call digital literacy.”