In the early days of the Internet, many feared that this new mode of communication would lead to increased social isolation.  Today, multiple online services exist for the sole purpose of promoting and enhancing social interaction. An important issue explored by the Digital Future Project is the effect of Internet use on the frequency of interpersonal contacts.

The 2009 Digital Future survey asked users about the impact of Internet on their contact with a number of key groups: family members; friends; people within one’s profession; and those who share one’s political interests, religious beliefs, or hobbies. An overwhelming proportion of Internet users reported no change or an increase in their contacts with those groups.

Half of the Internet users in our 2009 data said that online communications have increased or greatly increased their contact with friends.  A substantial percent also reported increased/greatly increased contacts with other groups: family members (39%), people who share their hobbies (33 percent), people in their profession (31 percent), people who share their political interests (16 percent), and those who share their religious beliefs (13 percent).

Only a small subset of Internet users (ranging from 4 percent to 7 pecent) said that the Internet has decreased or greatly decreased their contact with key groups in their lives.

How has Internet use affected your contact with the following groups?
(Percentage of Internet users)



For the full report of 2009 findings, visit here.

Visit the Web Insight Archive.