According to a new study, published on May 12 and commissioned by the former British Computer Society, known as BCS -The Chartered Institute for IT, the ability to use and have access to the internet makes people happier and provides a greater sense of well-being.
The study was conducted by analysing data from the World Values Survey and includes feedback from over 35,000 people worldwide by Trajectory Partnership, a UK-based think tank.
Michael Willmott, a partner at Trajectory Partnerships, author of the research and renowned social scientist for his work in trends in consumer behaviour, concluded, "Our analysis suggests that IT has an enabling and empowering role in people's lives by increasing their sense of freedom and control, which has a positive impact on well-being or happiness."
BCS argues that "there may well be an ‘information dividend' - a personal and social benefit which comes from access to information and IT," compared to the numerous studies talking about the negative impact of web use.
Central to this research is "access"; access provides people globally the ability to jump societal scales. The report looked at the "Effect of IT on Life Satisfaction, Individual Level", "Effect of ICT on Sense of Freedom and Control, Individual Level" and "Effect of IT on Life Satisfaction with various variable/IT interaction terms."
Elizabeth Sparrow, President, BCS, commented, "The relationship between IT and happiness has not been well researched which is why the Institute commissioned this study. If we can enhance the understanding of the relationships in a way that leads to new and improved thinking, strategies or solutions, then we will have helped a little."
BCS asserts that the findings could greatly impact IT policies such as: "IT as a means to better social policy outcomes, re-emphasises the need for broadband roll-out to close the digital divide, and a clearer idea of where digital inclusion/exclusion is most beneficial/harmful."