May 26, 2010

Does the Internet make us happier?

A new study of mental health from Britain suggests that rather than making us more stressed and anxious as has previously been thought, spending time online makes us happier.

Researchers found a link between Internet access and well-being. And some people benefit more than others from being connected to the information superhighway, including women.

The study author says that, "Put simply, people with IT access are more satisfied with life even when taking account of income. Our analysis suggests that it has an enabling and empowering role in people's lives, by increasing their sense of freedom and control, which has a positive impact on well-being or happiness."

Click here to read the full article.

I think it's safe to say that most people reading this blog would agree with that analysis. What do you think? Does the Internet make you happier? In what way? And can you get too much of a good thing? Please leave your thoughts in the Comments section. I'd love to hear your opinions, especially if you disagree with the study's conclusions.

p.s. I was looking for a photo that illustrated the concept of happiness, and found this one of me with my niece a few years back. Really it's a cheap attempt to put up another photo of my adorable niece, since it has nothing to do with the Internet. But we do look happy.

8 comments:

Cate said...

You do look quite happy!

Honestly, I don't think I could be a stay at home mom without the internet. Being at home with a small child all day can become so isolating. It's wonderful to know that there's an online community that I can access with a few keystrokes. Without the internet, I'm sure I would join mother's groups or something like that (and would still like to do that in the future!), but I still think the internet makes me happier.

Not to mention all the information I have access to online.

Hiptobeme said...

With working and family, sometimes the interenet isthe only way I can stay in touch with acquaintances. I love seeing what people are up to and sharing what my family is doing with photos and social networking. A few people I would never be able to connect with at all if it weren't for the internet, so this does make me happy. As long as the internet does not replace real human contact, I beleive it is a positive evolution. I was never the joiner type, so mommy groups were not going to happen for me. I will join an online group and share my ideas though!

Selina said...

I totally agree the internet makes us happier. Since becoming a part of this crazy crafty bloggy community I know I'm happier! Where I live there isn't many craft groups that have women my age, they are of the older more traditional crafty variety and I had no outlet to share my craft. Blogging, and hence the internet, has helped me connect to others my own age with the same interest as me and I love it. I have even managed to stumble upon some crafty bloggers my age who do live nearby and would never have found them without this medium. I agree with Hiptobeme in that as long as it doesn't replace all human contact it can only be a good thing.

Betsy Talbot said...

I can't even imagine trying to take this trip around the world without the internet. Not only from the perspective of ease in planning, but to connect with like-minded souls. It is very hard to find someone with the same goal living on your street. I'm betting that's true for a lot of interests.

The internet just makes your neighborhood a little bit bigger.

(and your niece is adorable)

Marie-Josée said...

The internet contributes significantly to my happiness. I have found like-minded people via blogs like yours and my life is really enriched by reading other people's experiences and thoughts, and by having the opportunity to comment and share as well. I also appreciate rapid access to all kinds of information, like movie listings etc... everything is just a click away. I too agree with Hiptobeme, as long as the internet does not replace real human contact, it is such a positive medium.

tammy said...

I relate being online to work, so I'm afraid my opinion differs a bit from the comments so far. The second I walk in my office and flip open my laptop I can feel my heart racing a bit. I realize this is not a good reaction and have taken steps to alleviate the stress caused by opening my email. I've learned to be grateful for the emails in my box because many of them mean opportunities for work. I've also stopped responding to every single email and that has helped alleviate some stress. I am grateful for my laptop, grateful for the internet (I did my job B.I. (Before Internet) and I know that being connected has made my work easier. I just still associate being online to work, not pleasure.
Hmmmm- maybe I need to learn to play games online!
;-) Though provoking post Ms Angela!

Magdalena said...

Sometimes the internet is stressful for me, since some people (youknow who you are) use it to "say" things they would never say in person. I've learned to be judicious about who I let into my virtual life. I can deal with some people face to face much better than by email. Facebook and blogging have expanded my circle of like-minded people, and given me a voice when I was silenced. It also lets me see the opinion and work of theres with whom I may disagree in an arm's length, respectful way. The internet, on the other hand, is causing what I see as some major communication problems in organizations that used to rely solely on face to face talk (i.e. my church) and overreliance on this folding silver magic box can be very isolating.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to go the other way and say I would love a world without the internet. The internet has wholly, in my opinion, ruined the magic of living. Just the fact that anyone can keep up with anything creeps me out, and I feel it also makes us less happy as a whole. In the short term it may make us happy, or so we think, but I feel it's a terrible thing in the long term. Yet I'm still here, using it.

I have a short example. I went on foreign exchange when I was 16, to Taiwan, and before I went I was so excited that I looked up everything I could about Taiwan and learned a ton about it. I was having a blast looking things up and reading, but the instant gratification in hindsight was terrible. For one thing, it ruined the magic of the unknown. And another thing, if I didn't have the internet maybe I would have gone to the library and actually read books about Taiwan, and asked people if they knew anyone from Taiwan. Wouldn't that, in the long run, have been more rewarding? I think so.