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The U.S. ranked second in the world with an average of 35.3 hours spent online per month, a two-hour increase over the year before. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Canadians are the most active users of the internet in the world, according to a new global report.

Canadians spend an average of 43.5 hours online every month, according to ComScore, a firm that measures internet use and online trends. This is almost twice the global average of 23.1 hours.

Canada saw a two per cent increase in the total number of people online between 2009 and 2010. Much of this is attributed to significant growth in web use among people over 55 years of age, with a 12 per cent jump in new users recorded in that age group across the country over that period.

There was also a four per cent drop in internet usage among youths between the age of two and 17, but the report did not give any specific reasons for the change.

Social nation

The report shows that Canadians, particularly older individuals, are becoming more sociable in online spaces.

Visits to social networking sites saw a 13 per cent increase between 2009 and 2010, with seven per cent more people befriending others on Facebook. Twitter also saw 11 per cent more unique Canadian tweeters during that period.

This increase is again largely affected by Canada’s senior population, with both the 55 to 64 and the 65-or-older age groups seeing about 35 per cent more unique users in 2010.

The transition to social networking is coming at a cost to earlier forms of internet communications, the report says. Visits to email sites dropped 28 per cent, a category that also saw a decline in the total number of minutes spent on those pages.

ComScore’s report anticipates that many trends seen last year — increased online video content, social networking and personalized advertising — will continue in 2011. And it predicts that mobile browsing in particular will see a surge with more users "habitually" connecting on-the-go.