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The Internet makes people happier

by on15 May 2024

Unless it is just the p*rn

A new study has found that internet use is associated with greater well-being in people worldwide.

Oxford University boffin, Prof Andrew Przybylski, who co-authored the paper, said that it was the first to test internet access, mobile internet access and regular use of the internet to relate to wellbeing on a global level.

The study describes how Przybylski and Dr Matti Vuorre of Tilburg University in the Netherlands analysed data collected through interviews involving about 1,000 people each year from 168 countries as part of the Gallup World Poll. Participants were asked about their internet access and use as well as eight different measures of well-being, such as life satisfaction, social life, purpose in life, and feelings of community well-being.

The team analysed data from 2006 to 2021, encompassing about 2.4 million participants aged 15 and above.

The researchers employed more than 33,000 statistical models, allowing them to explore various possible associations while considering factors that could influence them, such as income, education, health problems and relationship status. The results reveal that internet access, mobile internet access and use predicted higher measures of the different aspects of well-being, with 84.9 per cent of associations between internet connectivity and well-being positive, 0.4 per cent negative, and 14.7 per cent not statistically significant.

The study could not prove cause and effect, but the team found measures of life satisfaction were 8.5 per cent higher for those who had internet access. The study did not look at the length of time people spent using the internet or what they used it for, while some factors that could explain associations may not have been considered.

Przybylski said it was important that policy on technology was evidence-based and that the impact of any interventions was tracked.

Last modified on 15 May 2024
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