In today’s increasingly online world, it’s easy to assume that the average internet user knows basic facts about the internet. But do they?

Public Interest Registry’s 2017 Internet 101 Survey sets the record straight by assessing internet knowledge among consumers, ranging from millennial-aged digital natives to the baby boomer generation. As it turns out, consumers know less about the internet than they think. See below for the survey findings and resources to demystify the internet.

Download the Internet 101 Infographic for survey results and a refresher on basic Internet facts!
See how you compare to the average internet user by taking our Internet 101 Quiz!

Internet 101 Survey Results

Perception Vs. Reality

The Internet 101 survey found that while 84 percent of people reported they are “knowledgeable” about the internet, there’s a gap between perception and reality. For instance:

  • Only 20 percent of consumers knew that the World Wide Web is different from the internet.
  • 29 percent of participants correctly identified the meaning of HTTP, with 31 percent admitting outright they did not know the meaning of the term.
  • 68 percent of people could not identify the decade when the World Wide Web was invented
  • Only 31 percent of users could correctly define a “domain name system.”
  • Less than half of participants correctly identified HTTPS as a more secure protocol that’s safer to share personal or financial information.
  • 50 percent of U.S. internet users think more people globally are connected to the internet than actually are.

Battle of the Ages – Millennials vs. Boomers

Millennials may have grown up using the internet, but according to the survey, users from the boomer generation are actually slightly more knowledgeable about the internet than both millennials and Generation X. Here are a few areas where boomers outpaced their younger counterparts.

  • More baby boomers could identify a safe site (47 percent) than millennial or Generation X users.
  • 34 percent of boomers compared to 29 percent of millennials knew the World Wide Web was created in the 1980’s.
  • Fewer millennials (42 percent) knew the correct definition of the internet than boomers (46 percent).
  • More boomers knew the correct percentage of the world’s population with access to the internet than the other age groups surveyed.



Internet 101 Survey