In 32 emerging and developing nations, the Pew Research Center found 64 percent of people thought the Internet had a positive influence on education, but 42 percent thought it had a bad influence on morality.
In no country surveyed, according to the report, did a majority claim the Internet improved morality. The pollster said that the percentage stayed fairly constant across countries.
More than half of those polled thought the Web improved personal relationships and the economy. But 30 percent thought the Internet harmed politics.
Between March and June last year, Pew conducted face-to-face surveys of 36,619 residents in the 32 nations, many of which are located in South America, Africa and East Asia.
While citizens of wealthier nations often take the Internet for granted, there are still many nations where connectivity is not an easy task.
“Many in these emerging and developing nations are left out of the Internet revolution entirely,” Pew’s team wrote in the report. “A median of less than half across the 32 countries surveyed use the Internet at least occasionally, through either smartphones or other devices, though usage rates vary considerably.”
Computer ownership, for example, vacillates wildly throughout the world, from 78 percent in Russia to a mere 3 percent in Uganda.
A much cheaper alternative to computers, though, are cell phones, which are becoming far more popular around the world. In fact, countries such as China and Chile have smartphone penetration that is similar to the United States.
Several American tech giants have initiatives to bring the Internet to developing nations, including Facebook’s Internet.org and Google’s Project Loon.