US firm Pew Research has released its report into social behaviour, called ‘social isolation and new technology’.
From the company’s Internet and American Life project (which is a nonprofit), it looks only at American users of social-based technology, but is still a fairly good gauge of Western use. The main outcome was that technology is not leading to social isolation and those that use the internet and mobile phones actually have larger and more diverse social networks.
Keith Hampton, lead author and an assistant professor of communication at the University of Pennyslvania said;”It is a mistake to believe that Internet use and mobile phones plunge people into a spiral of isolation.”
He also said that the key findings of the study “challenge previous research and commonplace fears about the harmful social impact of new technology.”
It found that on average, the size of people’s discussion networks is 12 percent larger among mobile phone users, nine percent larger for those who share photos online, and nine percent bigger for those who use instant messaging.
The diversity of people’s core networks tends to be 25 percent larger for mobile phone users, 15 percent larger for basic Internet users, and even larger for frequent Internet users, those who use instant messaging, and those who share digital photos online.
You can read the full overview on Pew’s website.