Cyber Behavior of Chinese Internet Users

Cyber Behavior of Chinese Internet Users

Yurong He (Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China) and Yang Wang (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0315-8.ch102


While China has the world’s largest Internet population, understanding of this huge group of Internet users still falls short. In this entry, the authors aim to provide an overview of literature on cyber behavior of Chinese Internet users. They focus on characteristics of Chinese Internet users, how they use the Internet and how the Internet influences them. The authors examine different aspects of their cyber behavior: (1) general Internet use, (2) use of specific Internet services such as blogs and social networking sites, (3) online communication and relationships, (4) problematic Internet usage, and (5) cross-cultural comparisons between Internet users in China and in other countries.
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Since the Internet was first formally opened to the Chinese general public in 1995, China has undergone an explosive growth in Internet usage and coverage. By the end of 2008, China topped the United States with the largest number of Internet users in the world. We have witnessed an increasing interest in studying Internet usage in China. The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) was founded on June 3rd, 1997. It published the first Chinese Internet Development Condition Report in November, 1997. This report mainly focuses on Chinese Internet users’ demographic information, Internet using condition and behavior. Since then it publishes this report every 6 months. Zhang and Jiang (1998), Zhou and Su (1999) published the earliest papers in China on Internet users’ behavior. However, their discussion was primarily based on foreign Internet users’ behavior. They did not really investigate Chinese Internet users’ behavior. The research in this field was very limited in China in 1990s. Ma (2000) first tried to focus on Chinese adolescence’s online communication behavior and discussed how to correctly understand the characteristics of online communication, how to help protect adolescence from unsafe online conditions and how to correctly guide adolescence to use the Internet. Subsequently, research on behavior of Chinese Internet users, especially college students, gained momentum.

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