Skip to main content

Good News: Internet Users Not Antisocial

I was a little too old to be told to "go outside and get some fresh air," when I first started using the Internet, but I can't say I wasn't at least a little apprehensive as to whether or not I was spending too much time on my computer and not enough time talking to real people who I was certain existed. A new study by research group Pew shows that the extent of social isolation has hardly changed since the mid-eighties, contrary to concerns that the prevalence of severe isolation has tripled since then. In fact, just 6 percent of the adult population has no one with whom they can discuss important matters or who they consider to be “especially significant” in their life.

Pew goes on to say that Americans’ "discussion networks" have shrunk by about a third since 1985 and have become less diverse because they contain fewer non-family members. But, challenging the concern that people’s use of the internet and cell phones could be tied to the trend towards smaller networks, Pew found that those who owned a mobile phone and participated in a variety of internet activities were associated with larger and more diverse core discussion networks.

Pew reports that those who spend a lot of time on the Internet at work (here's lookin' at you, kid) and bloggers are more likely to volunteer at a local or charitable organization. Pew also reports that frequent Internet users and bloggers are also more likely to confide in a person of another race and just as likely to visit their neighbors than anyone else. However, despite being good Samaritans and social butterflies, it seems social networking isn't all it's cracked up to be. Pew says it found some evidence that use of social networking services (e.g., Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn) substitutes for some neighborhood involvement.

Check out the full report here.

  • Jerky_san
    Except in one or two countries I can think of hehe.. Stupid how they constantly do these studies wasting money when there are better things to do
  • Pei-chen
    We wouldn't be "talking" to you if we are anti-social now would we?
  • adaman2576
    yay. I'm not a loser.
  • trinix
    But the media and everyone who doesn't spend a bit more time on the internet is convinced that we are anti-social and we lack communication skills and you can name another 500 things they throw at us, because we spend more time then them on the net.

    Studies like these confirm what we have been saying all along. It's not that bad and it's not that different from when someone would lock himself up in a room and watch tv.

    Some are more extreme and others are just as likely to engage in social activities outside of the internet, they just also spend time on the net.
  • r0x0r
    In fact, just 6 percent of the adult population has no one with whom they can discuss important matters or who they consider to be “especially significant” in their life.

    And I'm sure it's those same 6% who inhabit 4chan's /b/ board...
  • princeofdreams
    If you think internet use does not make people anti social try taking a look in practically any forum, it is like Beirut on a bad day, the amount of hate and angst shown over the littlest difference in opinion
  • trinix
    People are more passionate and the internet anonymity brings discussion further and harder than it would be face to face, but that doesn't make you anti-social to defend things more black-white.

    When you discuss someone IRL you will also consider his feelings more and you will look him in the face and see you can't go any further. Different media, harder to tell the other players real feelings.

    But as some topics are fought between 2 or more camps in a very hostile way and to the bone, we also see other topics get recognition for the others point of view, yet disagreement. The internet is filled with more extremes than the real world, but at the same time, as long as you know you are on the net, you know what to expect and you know that that person isn't attacking you, but your ideas.
  • kalogagatya
    There are just too many preconceptions that people have that need a more precise revision.. (a few days ago you can remember it was the "2P2 users buy more music" that was cleared).

    I use the internet quite a lot and i never felt anti-social! I have actually a healthy social life and in some way i think the internet helped me improve both my social skills and social awareness!

    (I'm not a gamer though...)

    oh and trinix +1 totally agree.
  • danny69t
    Oh , darn! I'm social, never would have thought that about me :)).

    I find the study lame.
  • ominous prime
    Seems like a rather pointless study, there's so many forums and social networking sites to converse and be social on. If more people were antisocial these sites wouldn't be so prominent.

    That being said, I'm antisocial, now I must retire to my isolation in mother's basement as this social endeavor has caused me great pains.