Web Insight: is the world a better place because of new communications technologies?
Over the last few decades, the world has witnessed the advent of a host of new communication technologies, including the internet, mobile phones, and tablets. All new technologies bring change, some of it welcome, and some not. The changes wrought are typically received differently by different generations.
In the Center’s Digital Future Survey, we asked respondents of different ages what overall effect they thought new communications technologies such as the internet, mobile phones, and tablets have had on the world? Have they made the world a better place, a worse place, or neither better nor worse?
In 2018, of those under age 18, 61% said that new communications technologies such as the internet, mobile phones, and tablets have made the world a better place. For those aged 18-34 and 35-54, 48% gave that response. For those aged 55-64, 65-74, and 75 and over, only 41%, 40%, and 43% respectively said that these technologies have made the world better.
Conversely, 25% of those aged 75 and above and 33% of those aged 65-74 said that these technologies had made the world a worse place. That answer was given by 24% of those aged 55-64, 21% of those in the 35-54-year-old category, and 22% of those aged 18-34. Only 10% of those under age 18 said that these new communication technologies have made the world a worse place.
Overall, younger people tend to be more bullish on the effects of new communication technology. But younger people, of course, have less experience with other communication environments. And the youngest have nothing at all to compare to a world filled with the internet, smart phones, and tablets.
See all Web Insights.
November 4, 2019