Differences in Europe/US internet usage may indicate larger lifestyle differences

Could internet usage differences between the US and Europe indicate a more worrisome lifestyle disparity?

As most people know, our European counterparts enjoy a more stable, balanced lifestyle than their American counterparts. The most marked differences are apparent in vacation time (25% of Americans have no paid vacation, while nearly half get less than a week) and healthcare (nearly 20% of our under-65 population has no health coverage) -but internet usage patterns may reflect some minute daily differences as well.

While American internet usage peaks at 11pm and steadily drops off, European peak time is 7pm, steadily dropping after then. Readers of the linked piece speculated (sometimes a little pretentiously) on reasons behind the data:

  • More so than Europe, American traffic grows with web surfing and at night
  • Larges surges of P2P would explain North American traffic spikes
  • Americans watch more video and related adult entertainment late at night
  • In general, Europeans use the Internet less at night, have better social interactions, eat better food and generally live better lives
Of course, quality of life was not the general point of the piece, but perhaps our culture should take a look at that. Americans may indeed drive up nighttime traffic by using services like Netflix on Demand and Hulu, but I fear it's just as likely we're taking work home so as not to end up a part of the growing unemployment trend.

[Via Ars Technica]