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Computers, Phones, and the InternetDomesticating Information Technology$
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Robert Kraut, Malcolm Brynin, and Sara Kiesler

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195312805

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195312805.001.0001

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The Internet and Social Interaction

The Internet and Social Interaction

A Meta-analysis and Critique of Studies, 1995–2003

(p.251) 17 The Internet and Social Interaction
Computers, Phones, and the Internet

Irina Shklovski

Sara Kiesler

Robert Kraut

Oxford University Press

One of the central questions animating much social-science research on the social impact of new technology is the specific effect it has on social relationships. This chapter provides a quantitative literature review, a meta-analysis, of 16 empirical studies investigating the association of Internet use with measures of social activity. Collectively, the data show little influence of Internet use on social activities. Effect sizes were generally small and inconsistent. However, research methods make a difference in the conclusions one draws. The results depend both on the type of social relationship analysed (family versus friend) and the type of research method deployed (cross-sectional versus panel surveys). For instance, studies using panels indicate that Internet use increases social interaction with friends more than interaction in other types of relationships.

Keywords:   social activity, social relationships, social impact, new technology, Internet use

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