Social interaction and the Internet

Ronald E. Rice, Adrian Shepherd, William H. Dutton and James E. Katz

in Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199561803
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743771 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Social interaction and the Internet

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  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology


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This article examines a central question raised by the growth in Internet use: is Internet use associated with increased or decreased social interaction? First, it reviews relevant prior literature and research on the digital divide in general and the relationships of Internet use with social interaction. This overview grounds four research questions, namely what can be learnt by: comparing users and non-users; comparing users with more and less offline interpersonal and mediated social interaction; assessing changes in social networks; and comparing US and British Internet users. It then identifies possible answers to these questions based on results from national surveys in the USA in 1995 and 2000 and Britain in 2003.

Keywords: Internet use; digital divide; social networks

Article.  11733 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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