ISLAMABAD - Around 22 per cent Pakistanis believe that growing usage of Internet has had a positive effect on economy while 38 per cent think its good influence on education.

On the question of politics, the results were 20 per cent good influence and 16 per cent bad with 55 per cent choosing not to answer.  In terms of education, once again a majority chose not to answer the question (43pc) while 38 per cent thought the rising use of the Internet is a good influence.  Only 16 per cent thought it has a bad influence on education.

The PEW Research has conducted the survey, which was carried out from March 17 to June 5, 2014 using face-to-face interviews with chosen respondents.  The survey was conducted in a total of 32 countries.  The PEW centre’s research used a sample of 1,203 respondents for its survey on Pakistan who were chosen from different parts of the country.  The most interesting result of the survey is perhaps in how Pakistanis perceive the Internet affects morality. Only 20 per cent thought it has a good influence while 31 per cent believe the growing use of the Internet is having a bad influence.

According to official figures, almost 19 per cent of Pakistan’s population has access to the Internet with over 3.79 million broadband subscribers at the end of 2014.

However, with regard to Internet access, the survey portrays a completely different picture as a whopping 92 per cent said that they do not access the Internet while only 8 per cent said they have access to the Internet, at least occasionally.

The report also found that only 3 per cent of Pakistanis have a landline at home while the remaining 97 per cent have no landline.

The survey results also showed a rather interesting picture of Internet usage and perception, which vary according to the respondent’s income, age and education.

The research found that people with a higher level of education were most likely to use the Internet than those with lower or no education.

The report says:  “Internet access and smart phone ownership rates in these emerging and developing nations are greatest among the well-educated and the young, i.e. those 18- to 34-year-olds who came of age in an era of massive technological advancement. People who read or speak English are also more likely to access to the Internet.”

This is not surprising, especially for a country like Pakistan where speaking English is considered an extraordinary feat.

Similar to education, per-capita income and age also play a great role in number of people using the Internet. The report found, “Richer countries in terms of gross domestic product per capita have more Internet users among the adult population compared with poorer nations. Age also impacts whether someone uses the Internet - older people are less likely to report using the

Internet than their younger counterparts.”

With regard to mobile phone ownership in Pakistan, the survey found that interestingly, a large percentage of the Pakistani respondents said they did not own a cell phone. According to the report, 53 per cent of the respondents do not have a cell phone, while 43 per cent own dumb phones and only 4% said they own a smart phone.

On the other hand, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) 2014 annual report stated, “Mobile penetration has reached 76.6 per cent with 139.9 million subscribers at the end of June 2014.”