Information Technology and The Community, 2013 Update

This post updates the original post on this topic that was created in 2011. It looks at the expansion of the knowledge available from the World Internet Project, continues the debate on whether the internet is making us more stupid or violent and concludes with a new interview with Steven Pinker with his argument that the world is becoming a safer place.

The World Internet Project has been  led by Jeff Cole of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School Centre for the Digital Future for the past 14 years and in 2012 produced their fourth report. It is conducted in 37 countries with partner academics conducting the study in their own countries. Jeff Cole makes  a presentation in Sweden on the 2012 report:

The data gathered and made available has expanded in recent years and studies the practices and beliefs of internet users. Internet usage has continued to expand and is now at high levels in most developed countries:

Internet Use

The percentage of women and men using the internet is similar in most countries but there is a significant gap in Italy, Mexico and Spain:


People with lower levels of education are less likely to use the internet:

Education Level

Rates of internet usage are lower for older people:


and for those with lower income levels:

Income level

The internet is used most at work in Spain and least in Poland:

Internet Hours Used at Work

People who do not use the internet mostly do so because they have no interest in it or do not feel it will be useful, or because they do not know how to use it:

Reasons for not going online

Use of the internet for distance learning is still relatively rare:

Distance Learning

The internet has increased the contact that people have with others on their hobbies or recreational pursuits:

Hobbies and Recreational Contact

and it has increased contact between people of similar political views:

Share Political Views

but not between those of similar religious views, who argue that it has caused contact with each other to decline:

Religious Views Contact

Family relationships appear to have been strengthened with more contact between family members being reported:

Family and Friends

and contact with friends seems to be increased too as a result of internet use:

Friends Contact

There are mixed views on whether the internet will give people more power in politics:

Internet can be used as a tool for political power

and finally, non internet users seem more inclined to feel that the government should regulate the internet more:

More government regulation

Canada participated in the study in 2012 and a section of the report details the situation here.  The following infographic (not based on the report) also summarises the Canadian position:


The question of whether the internet makes people stupid continues to be debated without resolution. Nicholas Carr explained his theory that it does:

This video considered the debate on this topic from the point of view of Engineering professors:

Further video on this topic appears in the original blog post which includes content arguing that the internet is not making us stupid.

The debate on video game violence also continued over the past year and Jack Thompson, advocate of those who argue that violent video games incite violence, participated in a debate on the topic on G4TV:

Stanton Samenow appeared on MSNBC and argued that violent video games do not cause people to become more violent:

The debate on violent video games is more fully covered in the original post on this topic.

Finally, Steven Pinker appeared on The Agenda with Steve Paikin and explained his argument that the world has been becoming increasingly safer:

This post has provided detail on the World Internet Project statistics on perceptions of internet usage and its impact on many areas of society, it has updated the discussion on whether the internet is making us more stupid and violent and provided access to an interview with Steven Pinker in which he is questioned on his view that the world is becoming safer.

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