Time Spent Online Linked to Improved Wellbeing: Study

Tue May 14 2024
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OXFORD, England: Global research has challenged previous notions about internet use by associating time online with greater well-being.

Researchers at the University of Oxford analysed data from 2.4 million individuals across 168 countries over 15 years to understand whether online access and regular use of the internet is a positive or negative factor when it comes to wellbeing.

The findings revealed a notable trend: individuals with internet access reported 8.5% higher life satisfaction compared to those without, and their positive experiences were 8.3% higher. Remarkably, after analyzing over 33,000 statistical models and various data subsets, researchers discovered that a staggering 84.9% of associations between internet connectivity and well-being leaned positively.

Professor Andrew Przybylski, an expert in human behaviour and technology at the Oxford Internet Institute, emphasized the importance of evidence in shaping our understanding of online behaviours. He cautioned against rigid preconceptions and advocated for data-driven solutions to ensure the safety of young people in the digital realm.

Addressing concerns about the future impact of social media and internet usage on the younger generation, Przybylski predicted a shift in focus towards emerging technologies.

Assistant Professor Matti Vuorre from Tilburg University, a former research associate at the Oxford Internet Institute, expressed surprise at the study’s findings, highlighting a positive correlation between internet usage and well-being across a multitude of statistical models.

The study assessed well-being through eight indicators, including life satisfaction, daily experiences, social well-being, physical well-being, community well-being, and purposeful experiences. While factors like education, income, and health were considered, the study did not delve into social media usage.

Overall, the research suggests that internet access and active usage contribute significantly to well-being, transcending geographical and demographic boundaries. The scholars underscored the need for further exploration in this crucial area and called for greater transparency from platform providers to facilitate comprehensive scientific inquiry into the role of internet technologies in our lives.

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