[ UCLA | Times
Mirror | Pew ]
While the Stanford SIQSS and Carnegie
Mellon HomeNet studies each showed that increasing Internet use correlates
to decrease in social interaction, several other studies seem to contradict
these findings. Three such studiesUCLA, Times
Mirror, and Pewall have similar
methodologies, relying on surveys of randomly sampled Americans.
- Conducted by UCLA Center for Communication Policy.
Longitudinal study of a random sample of 2,096 households in the United
States; however, only one survey has been conducted so far. Focused on both
Internet users and non-users, to determine differences between them.
- Again found that email is popular (about equal with "web browsing and
surfing," with 81% each of Internet users) and that an overwhelming
majority (76%) of users check their email at least once a day (16, 31).
Likewise, concluded that Internet users watch 28% less television (24).
- Contradicting SIQSS, it found that Internet users are more likely to
employ traditional media, and that they spend just as much time on the
telephone as non-users (24). (Possible explanations are that Internet users
are correlated with higher socioeconomic status, and thus greater access to
traditional media; also, note that while the Stanford study asked whether
phone use has decreased due to Internet access, the UCLA study asked how
many hours one spent on the phone.)
- Only 7% of parents reported that their children spend less time with
friends after gaining Internet access, and 91% of families reported spending more
time or just as much time together after gaining internet access (34, 36). Three fourths of users report
never feeling ignored by family members because of Internet use (35).
However, Internet users reported slightly fewer hours socializing with
household members (41).
- Internet-using respondents reported a mild increase in the number of
people with whom they stay in contact (40). Likewise, users reported
slightly lower levels of life dissatisfaction, interaction anxiety,
powerlessness, and loneliness (43).
- Survey of 4005 households in the United States in 1995, conducted by the
Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press.
- Found that email is the most popular way to use the Internet.
- Contradicting SIQSS, found that 53% of online users had worked at home at
least one day of the week before the survey. (It should be noted, however,
that SIQSS focused on total amount of time at the office, which could remain
constant even if one works a day at home.)
- Internet users were just as likely as demographically similar people to
visit family and friends, as well to be part of a club or organization
(cited in Baase 296).
- The Pew Internet & American Life Project commissioned
Research Associates to survey a random sample of 3,533 adults in the United
- Again, email was the most popular Internet activity, just below the vague
"going online" (which is presumably necessary in order to check
one's email). Email was also the most prevalent activity, with 93% of those with Internet
access having sent email.
- Showed that email in particular is the "isolation antidote" in
that it makes people feel more connected.
- However, the study also showed that, especially for women, a primary
motivation of using email is that it takes less time than talking.
Likewise, it seems unclear whether email is sent in lieu of phoning someone
or if email consists of additional communication, such as "little funny
things…that wouldn't be worth a long-distance call," as one subject