Home Technology Spending Time Online Might Not Be Harmful As Perceived, Latest Research Says

Spending Time Online Might Not Be Harmful As Perceived, Latest Research Says

global well-being

Discussing global well-being in the internet realm is crucial because the internet has become an integral part of modern life, significantly impacting various aspects of society.

The internet’s ubiquity and accessibility mean it influences almost every facet of daily life, from communication to education, commerce, and entertainment. On the negative side, there is a digital divide, with ongoing disparities in internet access and digital literacy exacerbating social and economic inequalities.

Excessive internet use, cyberbullying, and social media pressure can contribute to mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Privacy and security concerns arise from data breaches, identity theft, and surveillance, compromising users’ privacy and security.

Additionally, the rapid spread of false information online leads to misinformation, affecting public opinion, health, and safety.

Recent research led by Professor Andrew Przybylski of the University of Oxford and Dr Matti Vuorre of Tilburg University challenges prevailing assumptions about the impact of internet usage on global well-being. Published in the journal Technology, Mind, and Behaviour, this study offers fresh insights into the relationship between internet access and overall well-being on a global scale. 

Professor Przybylski highlights the significance of their analysis, stating, “It would be really good to be able to target advice and tools and regulation to protect young people in particular, but that evidence simply doesn’t exist in a way that would be useful for those ends“. 

By examining data collected from interviews spanning from 2006 to 2021 and encompassing over 2.4 million participants across 168 countries, this research challenges previous regional and age-focused studies, shedding new light on the role of technology in shaping individual quality of life.

Analysis of Global Wellbeing and Internet Usage

The study analyses data from the Gallup World Poll, involving interviews with approximately 1,000 individuals annually across 168 countries. Through the use of over 33,000 statistical models, researchers explore associations between internet access and various measures of well-being, including income, education, health, and relationship status.

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Professor Przybylski underscores the importance of these factors, stating, “Higher income levels often afford access to resources that contribute to reduced stress, while education provides individuals with opportunities for increased satisfaction”.

Key Findings

The findings reveal a significant positive correlation between internet access, mobile internet use, and overall well-being. Professor Przybylski notes, “Out of the associations analysed, 84.9 per cent demonstrated a positive correlation between internet use and wellbeing, with only 0.4 per cent exhibiting a negative association, and 14.7 per cent not statistically significant”.

Despite the absence of a causal relationship, individuals with internet access reported 8.5 per cent higher levels of life satisfaction. However, the study did not delve into the duration or purpose of internet usage, leaving room for further exploration.

Implications and Future Directions

The implications of these findings are significant, particularly in informing targeted interventions to support youth. Dr Matti Vuorre emphasises the need for a broader perspective, stating, “While earlier research predominantly centered on North America and Europe and often addressed concerns surrounding technology’s impact on youth, this study provides a more comprehensive understanding of the global landscape“.

Moving forward, it is essential to delve deeper into the nuances of internet usage, including its duration and purpose to push and formulate policies and practices that promote global wellbeing.

The research spearheaded by Professor Przybylski and Dr Vuorre challenges prevailing beliefs about the impact of internet usage on global well-being. 

By analysing data from millions of participants across numerous countries, the study highlights a positive correlation between internet access and overall well-being. As society continues to navigate the digital age, leveraging these insights will be crucial in fostering a healthier and more inclusive online environment.

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Image Sources: Google Images

Sources: WION, CNN, Business Insider

Find the blogger: Katyayani Joshi

This post is tagged under: global, well-being, online, internet, study, internet usage, digital age, inclusive, causal relationship, internet access, digital divide, policies, regulations, duration practices, Europe, North America

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, or copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

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