Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Report: Social Isolation and New Technology

Pew Internet & American Life Project


Pew Internet & American Life Project

New Report


Social Isolation and New Technology


By Keith Hampton, Lauren Sessions, Eun Ja Her, and Lee Rainie
November 4, 2009


Social Isolation and New TechnologyPeople who use modern information and communication technologies have larger and more diverse social networks, according to new national survey findings that for the first time explore how people use the internet and mobile phones to interact with key family and friends.
These new finding challenge fears that use of new technologies has contributed to a long-term increase in social isolation in the United States.
The new findings show that, on average, the size of people's discussion networks--those with whom people discuss important matters--is 12% larger amongst mobile phone users, 9% larger for those who share photos online, and 9% bigger for those who use instant messaging. The diversity of people's core networks--their closest and most significant confidants--tends to be 25% larger for mobile phone users, 15% larger for basic internet users, and even larger for frequent internet users, those who use instant messaging, and those who share digital photos online.
"All the evidence points in one direction," said Prof. Keith Hampton, lead author of the report. "People's social worlds are enhanced by new communication technologies. It is a mistake to believe that internet use and mobile phones plunge people into a spiral of isolation."


About the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project

The Pew Internet Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit "fact tank"that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. Pew Internet explores the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life.  Support for the project is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.  The Project's website is:





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