How is data measured?

 

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How is data measured?

Relaxing and listening to music on a tablet device

What's coming up

In this activity, you'll learn more about how the things you do on the internet use up data.

Some activities use more data than others. Generally, web pages with plain text use the least data, photos use a bit more and movies you can watch on a TV use the most.

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How is data counted, or measured?

Everything you do on the internet uses some data. Some activities use relatively small amounts of data, or just a few megabytes at a time. There are around 1000 megabytes, (MB), in a gigabyte (GB).

A comparison bar chart of different activities online using different amounts of data
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eSafety Tip

While many online activities may use only a few megabytes (MB) of data, they can add up to several gigabytes (GB) of data over a month. Be sure to keep an eye on how much data you are using each month.

And remember, there are around 1,000 megabytes, or MB, in a gigabyte (GB).

Complex content uses a lot of data

Complex content from the internet uses more data from your internet plan than simple content. Complex content includes video and large photos, while simple content includes emails and text.

A diagram showing how far 10GB of data can stretch
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What uses the most data?

A web page of text uses hardly any data at all. If you only used the internet to read text, you'd never use all the data in even a very small data plan. Web pages with pictures, such as news sites with photographs or maps, use a bit more data.

Video uses the most data. Short videos, or low or medium image quality videos use less than a high quality, modern movie. These can use up to several gigabytes of data, or as much data as thousands of web pages.

Let's look at what uses the most data

On the next slide, there is a short animated video that explains how different things use different amounts of data.

Click on the 'Continue' button below to move to the next slide so you can watch the video.

What uses the most data?

A zoomed-in view of the number of GBs of data being used when watching a movie online

How is my data use tracked?

Your internet provider keeps constant count of how much data is sent to your home or mobile device.

For instance, if you watch a movie using the internet, your provider knows how many megabytes or gigabytes it's using. And remember, there are around 1,000 megabytes (MB) in a gigabyte (GB), so gigabytes are much larger quantities of data than megabytes.

How is data used up?

As you keep watching the movie, more data is sent to your home or mobile device. This data is subtracted from your total monthly data allowance.

If a movie takes up two gigabytes of data, then after you finish watching, you will have used up two gigabytes of monthly data allowance. Remember, this amount resets at the end of the month.

A diagram displaying only 1GB of data is left on the plan
Someone typing an email on their laptop

Well done!

You've reached the end of the How is data measured? activity. You've learned that data is measured in megabytes and gigabytes, and that we abbreviate gigabytes to ‘GB’ and megabytes to ‘MB’ in writing. You’ve also learned that photos and movies use more data than simple text.

Next up, if you have registered and are logged into the Be Connected website, you'll now be able to take a short quiz to finish the course. If you're not registered, you are now at the end of the course.