Sydney – The average Australian now spends an hour and a half of their leisure time online each day, most (79 percent) login from home daily and many have met an online acquaintance in person, according to a recent global digital study conducted by market information group TNS. The Digital World, Digital Life study, which investigated online behaviour in 16 countries, found that globally, the amount of leisure time spent online overall was similar, but several Asian nations, such as China (44 percent), Korea (40 percent) and Japan (38 percent), are leading the way in terms of spare time spent online. Marcus Pritchard, director of technology research, TNS Sydney said, “The figures from our study show how far the internet has progressed in becoming part of our daily lives. Australians are becoming more and more engaged in social networking, online communities and virtual worlds.” One in two Australians use social networking sites, such as Facebook or MySpace, and on average are members of 2.7 different sites. The global average is membership to 2.5 different sites, with the leading nation Korea at 4.6. One in three (36 percent) Australians have friends or contacts that they met online with whom they regularly communicate, similar to the global average of 37 percent. The most gregarious online users reside in China, with 75 percent having met a friend or contact online that they are still in contact with. Around 6 in 10 Australians with online acquaintances have met them in person and over half have spoken to them on the phone. Once again, this is in line with the global figure but behind nations like Germany (76 percent), Sweden (75 percent), France (75 percent), Denmark (74 percent) and Norway (73 percent) who meet up in person more readily. According to Pritchard, “Despite the move to using online avenues for socialising, in most situations Australians still prefer face-to-face contact over online forms of communication when talking to established networks.” In some countries mobile phones are used more than face-to-face for communicating with friends, such as Korea where four-fifths (80 percent) of respondents say they communicate with friends by mobile phone, but only six in ten (61 percent) say they communicate face-to-face with their friends.