Survey of studies on Internet and the Family

Papadakis, M. 2003. Data on Family and the Internet: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It? In Turow, J. and Kavanaugh, A. (eds.) 2003. The Wired Homestead: An MIT Sourcebook on the Internet and the Family. MIT Press.

Papadakis says:

  • Homes with children have Internet more often than homes without.
  • Communication and Information Gathering are the “killer apps” of the Internet. Game-playing is the next runner up (for kids).
  • The impact of the Internet on the Family is … contradictory and inconclusive
    • The famous HomeNet study finds a correlation between net use and isolation/depression, BUT…
      • The authors themselves acknowledge the decline in social integration (although statistically significant) is “small”
      • The research did not consider external conditions: e.g. Phyllis just broke up with Manchego. Now, she spends her free time online. Thus, the causal factor for depression is the break-up, not the Internet.
      • In general, the larger body of research suggests “on balance — that internet use may enhance socialization, friendship formation, and an individual’s sense of connectedness to family and community” (p.130)

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