Americans Live on the Internet But Don’t Know Much About It

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The internet was once infamously described as “a series of tubes,” and while that’s sort of true, people get a nearly infinite number of things wrong about it.

Curious to know what some of those things are, asked 1,000 Americans a few questions. And while 74% said they know how the internet works, only 20% got it right. Just one example: More than half (60%) thought having more Wi-Fi bars meant faster speeds (it means more signal strength).

Understanding is also a little dicey when it comes to 5G, which, after the past year and a half, should come as no surprise. Twenty-two percent of those surveyed believe that 5G can transmit COVID-19, kill birds, harm plant life, cause cancer, and on and on. Another 30% go even further down the 5G conspiracy theory road.

5G conspiracy theory pie chart

We have to quibble a bit with docking points from people for thinking the World Wide Web and the internet are the same thing. Yes, the internet is the actual physical network and the World Wide Web is the information that travels along it, but at the end of the day, isn’t it all just one big information superhighway?

One surprising finding: 64% of those surveyed have heard or or even used a VPN. There’s hope for us yet.

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