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The Internet is your friend

"The Social Net", a feature article in Science News this week, surveys the results of various research studies on how Internet usage affects the social interactions of its users. There's little consensus, but several studies yield some results that make sense — the Internet just makes it easier for a person to do what he or she wants to do anyway.

The article describes the results of one study, conducted by Carnegie Mellon University psychologist Richard Kraut, as follows:

Given long-term Internet access, adults and teens who had extraverted personalities showed most of the gains in social life, community involvement, and personal well-being. Introverts gravitated away from social contacts and felt more alone after 2 to 3 years online.

"You're more likely to use the Internet to expand your social world if you're already a social person, but not if you're introverted," Kraut asserts.

That is, the Internet itself is neither social or antisocial — people are. The Internet just a tool.

That's not news to anyone who actually uses it, is it?

May 8, 2002 2:22 PM

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