The Internet strengthens friendships

A new study finds the Internet strengthens friendships

Finally some documented evidence of something bloggers have known for a long time. Connecting with people online doesn’t take away from face to face interaction and actually enhances relationships.

The initial warnings about the Internet’s creep into modern lives were dire: Communities would crumble because people would be chained to their computers.

But a new study by Canadian researchers suggests the Web actually expands and strengthens relationships.

“The Internet is adding on to community rather than destroying it,” said Barry Wellman, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto who co-wrote the report. “There were a huge number of people running around saying the sky was falling a few years ago. What we found is the sky isn’t falling, that life is going on and quite happily.”

The study, which was released yesterday, examined Americans’ Internet habits and found that computer users have larger social networks than non-users. And, perhaps surprisingly, people who use e-mail actually have more phone and face-to-face contact with their friends, families and associates.

From the Globe and Mail.

  1. #1 by Marc on January 26, 2006 - 1:26 pm

    People I wouldn’t know without the internet:




    Randall & Lauralea

    Everyone we know at Gateway Covenant Church





    Steve & Lisa


  2. #2 by Markio on January 27, 2006 - 10:26 am

    There is a confound in the study (this is one of the few skills that I require on a regular basis from my degree: analysizing analysis). The confound is that it is possible that those that are more highly prone to contact are those using a computer because they see it as a mode of communication. You could then study those that are highly personable and see if there are reasonable differences in f2f and phone contact.

    That being said, I’m happy that studies are now coming out. It is high time that someone looked into it. I can also say that I’m not surprised by the results. If you ask me, televisions are far more dangerous socially than computers. Computers require interaction and links you with people. Televisions link you with advertisers and is mostly antisocial in nature (save that it is the shared experience of a society).

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