Study: Women and elderly lead internet charge

Women and older surfers are taking over the web, according to communications regulator Ofcom

Women and older people are becoming the most active users of the web, a major report by Ofcom has revealed.

This year's edition of the regulator's annual UK Communications Market survey shows that, in the age group between 25-49, the internet is used more by women than men. Fifty-five percent of total internet use in the 25-34 age range is female, while among 35-49-year-olds, the figure is 51 percent.

The over-50s — who make up 41 percent of the UK population — now account for 30 percent of total internet use. Interestingly, so-called "silver surfers" over the age of 64 spend more time online than any other age group, averaging 41.6 hours per month. However, among over-64s, internet usage is 79 percent male.

Despite representing the largest segment of users,18-24-year-olds manage only 37.9 hours a month on average.

Ofcom's report showed that the UK had the most active online population in Europe, with 56 percent of the population now surfing daily.

In April 2007, the two most popular websites in the UK were eBay, then the social networking site Bebo. Similar sites such as Facebook and MySpace were also in the top 10, as was the multiplayer role-playing game Runescape.