Pew: Technology Hasn’t Made Us Hermits

    November 4, 2009

Good news, people: according to the latest info from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, we’re not turning into a bunch of grouches who want to do little besides stare at computer screens.  As it took statistics dating back to 1985 into account, Pew even found a couple of instances in which technology seems to have made folks more sociable over the years.

An executive summary stated, "Social media activities are associated with several beneficial social activities, including having discussion networks that are more likely to contain people from different backgrounds.  For instance, frequent internet users, and those who maintain a blog are much more likely to confide in someone who is of another race.  Those who share photos online are more likely to report that they discuss important matters with someone who is a member of another political party."

Pew also reported, "Cell phone users, those who use the internet frequently at work, and bloggers are more likely to belong to a local voluntary association, such as a youth group or a charitable organization."

Now, there were some issues.  Pew believes that everyone’s "discussion networks" have decreased in size by about one-third since 1985, and apparently time spent on sites like Facebook and MySpace is sometimes substituted for neighborhood involvement.

Still, the Pew reports seems to provide evidence that technology isn’t to blame for any loss of an "Andy Griffith"-like (or at least "Cosby Show"-esque) world.

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