Benefits of Being Online - Using the Internet Makes Web Users Happy, Smart and Productive
Who Benefits the Most from the Internet Use
The internet, it turns out, may actually enhance our well being. In a recent study done in the U.K, there appeared to be a link between feeling happier and using the web. A study was done by Michael Wilmott, a social scientist, about the impact technology use had on people’s happiness level. It turned out the searching the world wide web had a positive impact on people’s well being by helping them feel empowered . Generally, the British research study found that people who had access to the internet, felt better overall about their lives, regardless of income. However, there seemed to be greater benefits for, people with lower incomes, women, those living in developing countries, and other fewer advantages. A feeling of more control in their lives and an increased sense of freedom are strong correlations to feeling happier.
Improve Your Memory
There are many many reasons people use the internet. In addition to feeling happier, other benefits are being realized by people using the internet. In a University of Missouri study found many readers had improvements in the memory, emotional response, and increased understanding of data found through searching by inquiring through search engines. Searching, it turns out has greater benefits, than surfing the internet. Searching usually refers to typing a specific query in the search engine. Surfing may be going, for example, to a specific website, and reading over the information at that site. The University of Missouri study, looked at the physical results of participants when they searched for specific information compared to those who went to a news site and surfed various news stories. In the study, they observed heart rate, skin conductivity, and facial muscles to evaluate their emotional reactions to negative news. The results showed that negative news tended to trigger more emotional responses when viewers found the information by searching as opposed to surfing.
Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing (WILB)
Internet Searching Creates Biological and Emotional Response
Kevin Wise, a researcher in this study said “Messages that meet readers' existing informational needs elicit stronger emotional reactions." There is a strong correlation between emotional response and how the reader acquired the information. Searching as opposed to surfing, also helped internet users better understand and retain the information.
Short Breaks Increase Work Productivity
Another benefit derived from being on the internet is that employees who take periodic breaks and use the internet, are more productive at work. In a University of Melbourne study, Dr. Brent Coker, who is part of the Department of Management and Marketing found that visiting Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube makes those employees who visit these sites, more efficient, than the employees who did not. It is known as WILB - Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing. The study found that workers who used the internet less than 20% of their time for fun had a 9% increase in their productivity compared to employees who did not do this. However, people who are addicted to the internet and spent too much time online had a negative effect on work productivity. According to Coker "WILB is not as helpful for this group of people – those who behave with Internet addiction tendencies will have a lower productivity than those without".
Why Workers are 9% More Productive at their Jobs
The Most Popular Leisure Internet Search is for News
It is believed that the short breaks helps the mind to rest for a few minutes and allows the person to gain greater concentration at their job. The study wes done on 300 employees. 70% of these people engaged in leisure internet activities. The most popular internet use was to search for news information and research products. Playing games online ranked 5th and watching YouTube ranked 7th in popular activities.
The Internet Benefits People of All Ages
Many companies have spent millions of dollars on software that stops employees from gaining access to sites like Facebook, online shopping websites, social networking sites and YouTube due to the belief that lost time will cost the company productivity and profits. This study shows, while this can happen to those who are addicted, the internet actually can help productivity with short leisure breaks.
The Future of the Internet
Going on the Web Builds Social and Neural Connections
In a research study done at the University of California, Los Angeles those who searched the internet for one hour per day showed an increase in brain activity. Searching and surfing, reading, researching, and interacting online “may build neural connections and gray matter” according to the researcher of the study, Gary Small, M.D. This may even help protect against dementia.
Using the Web Can Be a Source of Happiness
Many studies have also shown that regularly accessing the internet is associated with stress, anxiety and having an addiction to the internet. Some studies are also show that the web is a source of happiness. In the United Kingdom a study was done analyzing data from 35,000 people around the world who were part of a World Values Survey from 2005-2007. They considered several economic and social factors that influence happiness levels. Gender, income, age, education and income were all considerations. The results showed people actually feel empowered from using the internet. Web users felt a greater sense of freedom, influence and security. People are able to get through the day with a feeling of improved well being. The study showed, it didn’t matter what age the internet users are. People are social beings at any age.
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Women Benefit More Than Men
The researchers were surprised to see that women gained more than men from internet use, since more males dominate the technology industry. The study did not research the reasons this may be. Some theorize that being online helps women communicate with the outside world, enhances communication with friends, and helps them organize their home life.
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Technology moves us ever forward toward a tomorrow that promises even more technology. We spend a great amount of time on the internet. We wonder how did we ever do without our cell phones, ipad, kindles, and the internet. We can become obsessed and even addicted to the world wide web, and our electronic devices. It is reassuring to know that the fun we are having, may actually be good for us. It is a rare thing to be able to enjoy something that is good for us too. Now if only they would tell us the same thing for our favorite foods.
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