Essays /

Impact Of The Internet In Our Essay

Essay preview

Available online at

Computers in Human Behavior
Computers in Human Behavior 24 (2008) 2005–2013

Impact of the Internet on our lives: Male and female personal perspectives Ann Colley *, John Maltby
School of Psychology, University of Leicester, Henry Wellcome Building, Lancaster Road, Leicester LE1 9HN, UK Available online 30 October 2007

Abstract Gender differences in Internet access and usage have been found in a number of previous investigations. The study reported here extends this work by providing an analysis of the impact of the Internet on men’s and women’s lives. A content analysis of 200 postings from men and 200 from women, on the topic of ‘‘Has the Internet changed your life’’ invited by a news website, was undertaken then examined for gender differences. Results showed more women’s postings mentioned having made new friends or having met their partner, renewing old friendships, accessing information and advice, studying online, and shopping and booking travel online, while more men’s postings mentioned that the Internet had helped or given them a career, positive socio-political effects, and negative aspects of the technology. The results are interpreted as supporting the view that the Internet represents an extension of broader social roles and interests in the ‘‘offline’’ world. Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: Internet; Gender; Gender roles; Gender differences

1. Introduction ‘‘The Internet is my job, my high street, my supermarket and my international social playground’’ (Female participant 63). Usage of the Internet continues to increase worldwide. In the UK 57% of households now have access, in comparison to 46% four years ago (National Statistics, 2006). The *

Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 (0) 116 229 7188; fax: +44 (0) 116 229 7196. E-mail address: [email protected] (A. Colley).

0747-5632/$ - see front matter Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2007.09.002


A. Colley, J. Maltby / Computers in Human Behavior 24 (2008) 2005–2013

Digital Future Project in the US has found that 78.6% of Americans went online in 2005, with an accompanying increase in the amount of time spent per week on the Internet (Centre for the Digital Future, 2005). A number of factors have been found to relate to access and use, including socioeconomic variables, demographic variables, and education (e.g. Bimber, 2000; Wasserman & Richmond-Abbott, 2005). One significant area of research over the last decade has investigated the impact of the Internet upon different social groups and inevitably work on gender differences has been at the forefront, with concerns about the presence and impact of a ‘‘gender gap’’ in Internet access and usage. A number of investigators (e.g. Sherman et al., 2000) have investigated this gender gap in Internet use. Bimber (2000) found gaps in both access and use among US adults, and concluded that, while access differences can be accounted for by socioeconomic and other factors that affect women and men differentially, the gap in use was due at least in part to gender-specific factors such as the male stereotype of computers, cultural associations between gender and technology and gendered cognitive and communication preferences. However, there is growing evidence that the gender gap in access is closing or has closed with more women coming online, and that the gap in use of the Internet is still present but may also be closing (e.g. Cummings & Kraut, 2002; Ono & Zavodny, 2003; Wasserman & Richmond-Abbott, 2005). There continues to be a gender gap in usage in the UK: the latest figures from adults in a nationally representative sample of UK households show that 40% of women had never used the Internet in comparison with 30% of men, and 55% of women had used the Internet within the 3 months prior to the survey in comparison with 65% of men (National Statistics, 2006). In addition, there are further gaps in the frequency and nature of use that appear to remain (Odell, Korgen, Schumacher, & Delucchi, 2000; Ono & Zavodny, 2003; Wasserman & Richmond-Abbott, 2005). One of the issues that was highlighted early on in investigations of the gender gap, concerns the negative effect of the link between the Internet and computer technology. This area grew from work on gender differences in computer attitudes and use more generally, which showed more negative computer attitudes (Durndell & Thomson, 1997; Whitley, 1997), lower female self-confidence and higher computer anxiety among females (McIlroy, Bunting, Tierney, & Gordon, 2001; Todman, 2000). The possibility raised in the literature was that girls and women were being discouraged from using the Internet because of its delivery via a computer interface, and because of the association of the kinds of operations required to interact with it with traditional masculine technology. Indeed, computer attitudes and Internet attitudes have been found to be linked (Liaw, 2002; Schumacher & Morahan-Martin, 2001), and experience using the Internet has been found to predict both (Liaw, 2002). Durndell and Haag (2002) found higher computer self-efficacy, more positive Internet attitudes, longer Internet use and lower computer anxiety among male than female students, and gender was independently linked to Internet experience. Similarly, Joiner et al. (2005) found that a significant relationship between gender and use of the Internet remained, after controlling for Internet identification and Internet anxiety. This may be due to a number of other factors, and Joiner et al. suggest that self-efficacy and expectancy of success may be fruitful areas to pursue. In addition, it seems that there are differential effects of experience upon anxiety in using the technology among men and women: Broos (2005) found that experience decreased anxiety among men but had little effect for women. Alongside investigations of the gender gap in use of the Internet, there is a growing body of re...

Read more


+44 -5632 /1/hi/talking_point/default.stm), /j.chb.2007.09.002 /locate/comphumbeh 0 0.78 01 05 0747 1 1.5 10 10.0 10.1016 108 11 110 111 116 12 12.0 12.5 1200 121 123 13 14 14.97 15 159 16 167 17 174 177 18 19 19.5 1977 1984 1987 1990s 1992 1993 1997 2 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.5 20 20.0 20.5 200 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 21 21.0 22 22.5 221 229 231 24 24th 25 25.0 25.5 252 27 270 28 283 295 3 3.0 3.5 30 30.5 31 31.0 33 34 343 35 352 36.0 363 371 378 379 39 395 4 4.0 4.40 4.48 4.63 4.98 40 415 44 45 46 48 4th 5 5.0 5.18 5.20 5.50 5.60 521 530 535 549 55 57 593 596 6 6.0 6.5 60 623 63 630 65 683 691 7 7.0 7.05 7.5 7188 7196 725 734 78.6 8 8.07 8.5 8.53 8.70 81 84 85 855 86 862 868 876 885 893 894 895 899 9 9.5 92 938 95 957 9hn abbott abil abl abstract access access/mobility accompani accord account acquaint acquisit acquisition/research across activ adapt addict addit address adolesc adult advantag advic age age/sex/location ago agreement al alon alongsid also altern although ambigu american among amount amplific analysi angel anglo anglo-american ann annenberg anonym anoth answer anxieti [email protected] appear applic apprais appreci approach approxim area arena argu around aspect assist associ assum assur attent attitud attract attribut august author avail awar affect b background bad balanc bank base bbc becom behavior behaviour benefit bias bimber biometr birchmeier bodi boneva book bring broad broader broo brosnan brought brows build bunt c came campbel canada cannot career case categor categori caus center centr chan chang characterist chat cheap cheng chi cite citizen civic clear close code cognit cohen cohort cole collect colleg colley come communal communic comparison composit comput computer-medi computer-rel concern conclud conclus consequ consider contact content context continu contrast contributor control confidenc correl correspond could countri cours crook crucial cue cultur cum current cyberdemocraci cyberpsycholog cyberspac d data date decad decreas deliveri delucchi demand democraci democrat demograph depress deriv despit detail develop development dichotomi diekman differ digit disadvantag discount discourag discuss dishonest dispar display distinct distribut divers divis differ differenti doi domest download drawn due durat durndel duffield e e-mail e.g eag earli easi easili east eck ed educ electron elsevi emphas empir employ empow enact end engag enhanc enjoy entertain entrant equal erlbaum ervin establish et etc europ european even everyday evid examin exampl exist expand expect experi explain exploit explor express extend extens extern effect efficaci efficienc face face-to-fac facil facilit factor famili fax fear featur femal feminin final fischer focus forefront forgotten form forum found four free freedom frequenc frequent friend friends/family friendship frohlich front fruit fuller function futur g gain game gap gardner gave gavin gender gender-rel gender-specific general get girl given global gone good gordon greater grew group grow grown guag h haag heard help henri herring herring/ejc.txt hesit high higher highlight hillsdal hobbi homant home honest household howev human hunt ict identific idiot illeg illustr impact import includ incom increas inde independ individu industri inevit inextric inform instant insult interact interest interfac intern internet internet-assist interperson interpret introduc introduct investig invit influenc iron issu item j jackson job john joiner journal jr juli k kappa keyword kind knowledg koch korgen kraan kraut l lack lancast landi larg largest last late latest le1 least leicest length less level liar liaw lie life like lim limit lin line link list literatur littl live london loneli long longer los lower ltd m mad made mahwah mail mainland major make male maltbi mani martin masculin master materi matter may mccown mcgert mcilroy mean measur media mediat medic meet member men mention messag met meta meta-analysi method methodolog might mix monitor month morahan morahan-martin motiv movi music n n.s name nation natur navig necessari need negat network never nevertheless new news, nj nobodi note notion null number o observ obtain occup occur octob odel old older on-lin one onlin ono open oper opportun order orient origin other outcom overal offlin p page part particip particular partner partner/spouse path pattern peopl per perceiv percept perform peril period permit person perspect phish pictur place play playground point polit popul pornographi posit possibl post potenti power pp practic predict prefer presenc present previous prior problem process produc project prolifer promis prompt proport prospect provid profil profitabl pseudonym psycholog purchas purpos pursu qualiti quarter quota r radio rais random rang rather read readili real reason recent reduc reduct refer regard relat relationship relev reliabl remain remaind renew report repres requir research reserv residu respect respond rest result reveal review reward reflect richmond richmond-abbott right road role room sampl say schmidt schmitt school schumach scienc scientist scope search second section see seek seem select self self-assur self-confid self-express self-efficaci self-report separ sever sex share sherman shop show shuster signific similar simon simpli sinc singh site situat slight social societi socio socio-cultur socio-polit socioeconom sourc spam specialist specific spent sphere spirit spontan spous spread squar statist stereotyp still stori street stronger student studi subject submit substanti success sudden suggest suitabl supermarket support survey surfing systemat tabl taiwanes take task task-ori taunter technolog tel tendenc teo test theori therapeut therapeutic/medical therefor third thomson three thus tierney time titl todman togeth tong took tool top topic total tour toward town toy trade tradit trait travel tsai turkl two twosampl type uk unambigu uncensor uncov undergradu underpin understand undertaken unhelp univers upon us usag usc use user v v2 valu vari variabl variat versa versus via vice vice-versa view virus visit vs w wasserman way web websit week weiser wellcom went wherea whether whitley whitti wide widespread within without women wood work world worldwid worth would y year year-old yield york younger z zavodni ó figure find finding flexibl