Internet use and well-being: A survey and a theoretical framework
Fulvio Castellacci Photo: UiO
How does Internet use affect well-being? This paper presents a survey of the literature investigating this question, and it develops a framework to analyze both positive effects and potential risks.
We point out four distinct channels through which Internet can shape well-being: it changes time use patterns, creates new activities, facilitates access to information, and acts as powerful communication tool. We show how these four channels impact well-being in distinct domains of life.
A central point emerging from the literature review is that the effects of Internet on well-being are mediated by a set of personal characteristics that are specific to each individual: psychological functioning, capabilities, and framing conditions (culture and beliefs). Hence, it is the interaction between human beings’ activities in distinct domains of life and their own personal characteristics that explains why the use of Internet has stronger positive effects for some individuals and social groups than others.