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Benefits of Being Online - Using the Internet Makes Web Users Happy, Smart and Productive

Updated on April 5, 2011

Who Benefits the Most from the Internet Use

Using the Internet, it turns out may have many more beneficial affects than were previously thought.  According to  2009 Pew Internet and American Life Project survey, almost 73% of adults in the United States use the internet daily.  50% of those on the internet utilize the web to gain information using search engines. 38% sit on the internet to pass time.

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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    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Information,Ebooks,blogging,socialising,even gaming are becoming as basic to the psychological make-up of a person as any other variable,thanks toknowinfo.;)

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Great hub....thank goodness there are some positives for the internet....some of the other articles I have read have pretty much said how bad the internet is for you....voted up

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Ment, It is so true, how technology is affecting our psychological selves.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Cog, I try to look for the best in things.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      The internet has opened a whole new world of knowledge to millions, including me.

      Up and useful.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Will, It is also opened us up to a whole new world of friends too!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Great Hub, and valuable argument! The internet is practically my life. I don't know what I would do, or who I would be, without it!

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Simone, the internet certainly is making a tremendous lasing impact on all of us in many ways.

    • profile image

      wendy87 6 years ago

      For me internet is everything i can't even think to live without internet even a single day !!!Nicely written toknowinfo voted up !!!

    • einron profile image

      einron 6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Internet makes it easier to get information. I find it positive rather than negative.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Wendy, I also couldn't live without the internet. It is nice to know being online does some good for us too. Thanks for the vote up.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Great hub on using the net at work. Nice to know workers are happier when dossing on the work pcs. It's positive because they do less work but get aid for it. But the internet is increasingly part of our lives and habits now, so denying the net from some workers is counter-productive. Cheers!

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Ron, The internet does a lot for us. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi CG, The internet provides a lot of stimulation and social connection. It connects us to the big world we live in and makes it a little cozier and little friendlier, which is something I think we all need.

    • amillar profile image

      amillar 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

      A long lamented irony toknowinfo: all the things I like are immoral, illegal, or fattening - except that, especially with hubs like this one, the benefits of the internet are boundless.

      Up and useful.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Well written.

      In fact, internet popularity seemed to have outgrown TV. For many, it has become "We can live without TV, but not a computer with internet access. "

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi toknowinfo, Awesome hub, Just the many hubs i have read here on hubpages and learned many new things i did not know before has greatly enriched my life and also meet some great followers who have become great friends !

      Awesome and vote up !!!

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      The best thing about the internet is that it can be fun without being immoral, illegal or fattening.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      What would we do with out it! I am so tired of hearing about all the time I spend on the computer! Could be worse things? Great Topic to hub about!

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia

      My Internet Provider has been working on the towers I use to access the Internet over the past few days resulting in extensive disruption to service. I admit I am lost without that link with the outside world. We have come a long way from the days of the morning newspaper giving us everything we need to feel we are communicating with the rest of the world.

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 6 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      This is so good to know! I've heard of the memory benefits and using your brain in new ways creates more nerve connections, but there is much more to it according to your well researched article. Thank you for sharing!!

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Kath, the internet provide so much opportunities for us to learn, including how we can benefit from learning from the internet.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Karanda, in this age of instant information, we don't don't how to do things without our electronic devices.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Foss, It certainly can't hurt for our minds to be stimulated by the internet. I know, I feel a little smarter because of the things I learn and the people I meet through the internet.

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 6 years ago

      Now that they are integrating the internet on to smartphones people can stay connected 24 hours a day.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi RA, Thanks for commenting. Being able to be connected all the time might be heading towards addiction. But there is convenience is access anywhere.

    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 6 years ago from Florida

      This is very good information. Thanks

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Interesting to know there is a benefit.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Susannah, I am glad you found this info about using the internet useful. I am always happy when you stop by and comment.

    • toknowinfo profile image
      Author

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Dah, It is nice to know that using that using the internet has some good to it. Proving nothing is all bad.

      It helps make us feel better using it.

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