12 votes

Internet use statistically associated with higher wellbeing, finds new global Oxford study

9 comments

  1. [8]
    vord
    (edited )
    Link
    The "use" method seems pretty suspect (quoting from paper). So, there is no granularity to distinguish between someone checking their email once a week or someone staring at their phone for 8...

    The "use" method seems pretty suspect (quoting from paper).

    Third, GWP measured internet use with “Have you used the internet in the past seven days, whether on a mobile phone, a computer, or some other device?

    So, there is no granularity to distinguish between someone checking their email once a week or someone staring at their phone for 8 hours a day. This isn't really any better than "do you have access to the internet at all." I'm betting if you get some accurate data on hours spent (and on which sites/tools), there will be a tipping point where more use reduces wellbeing instead of increases.

    And of course there's a positive correlation between internet access and basic needs being met...I'm gonna cut off my internet before I starve. And the infrastructure to support internet access means a higher 'floor' of poverty. I'm much more likely to have access to potable water if there's a datacenter within 50 miles.

    20 votes
    1. [3]
      PelagiusSeptim
      Link Parent
      Your first point is good, but in regards to your second point, as saturnV mentioned below, basic needs being met and income were both variables that were controlled for.

      Your first point is good, but in regards to your second point, as saturnV mentioned below, basic needs being met and income were both variables that were controlled for.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        sparksbet
        Link Parent
        This is not what the paper said. They say they attempted to account for income in their statistical analysis but acknowledge themselves that their choices there were limited and that it could...

        income were both variables that were controlled for

        This is not what the paper said. They say they attempted to account for income in their statistical analysis but acknowledge themselves that their choices there were limited and that it could still be a confounding factor. It's one of the first things they mention in the section on how the study could be improved or expanded in future research.

        3 votes
        1. PelagiusSeptim
          Link Parent
          Fair enough. I ought to read it myself rather than rely on other commenters, bad habit

          Fair enough. I ought to read it myself rather than rely on other commenters, bad habit

          1 vote
    2. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Always good to scroll down to methodology in the paper and see how they did it. Apparently Gallup has done polls in many countries for many years and this is based on an analysis of a dataset not...

      Always good to scroll down to methodology in the paper and see how they did it. Apparently Gallup has done polls in many countries for many years and this is based on an analysis of a dataset not specifically designed to answer this question?

      Also, lots of good things correlate. They controlled for that, but did they control enough? You'd need to know more about statistics than us to judge that.

      Still, good to know that they aren't seeing strong negative effects of Internet usage.

      2 votes
      1. Halfdan
        Link Parent
        I mean, unless I completely misintepret everything, "internet usage" is defined as having used the internet ONCE in a week. Given that the web is the default medium, those who haven't used the web...

        Still, good to know that they aren't seeing strong negative effects of Internet usage.

        I mean, unless I completely misintepret everything, "internet usage" is defined as having used the internet ONCE in a week. Given that the web is the default medium, those who haven't used the web for a week are likely in some pretty extreme circumstances.

        3 votes
    3. [2]
      Halfdan
      Link Parent
      Wow, what a shit study. With the internet being pretty much the only medium today (sad but true) not having been online for an entire week is just not normal.

      Wow, what a shit study. With the internet being pretty much the only medium today (sad but true) not having been online for an entire week is just not normal.

      1 vote
      1. Arthur
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        'Normal' of course is relative. But in 2020 in the UK (a country with one of the highest internet access rates in the world), only 92% of the adult population were "recent" internet users. 95% of...

        'Normal' of course is relative. But in 2020 in the UK (a country with one of the highest internet access rates in the world), only 92% of the adult population were "recent" internet users. 95% of households had internet access, meaning 5% didn't. Only 54% of adults aged 75 years and over were classed as recent internet users.

        The internet isn't the only medium today, not by a long shot, especially for disabled, elderly, or homeless people, and there are a suprising amount of people who don't use the internet, even for developed countries like the UK.

        Edit: Elsewhere, the UK Gov website defines a recent internet user as sombody who has used the internet in the past 3 months before taking the survey.

        3 votes
  2. saturnV
    Link
    Paper here wellbeing was measured by life satisfaction, negative and positive experiences, and social life satisfaction. they adjusted for income, educational, work and relationship statuses,...

    Paper here
    wellbeing was measured by life satisfaction, negative and positive experiences, and social life satisfaction.
    they adjusted for income, educational, work and relationship statuses, their ability to meet
    basic needs for food and shelter, and whether or not they reported
    having health problems. They tested this in many different combinations and consistently found a significant correlation with wellbeing. Obviously correlation!=causation, but still interesting+significant

    1 vote