A87. Rice, R. E., Sheperd, A., Dutton, W. H. & Katz, J. E. (2007). Social interaction and the Internet: A comparative analysis of surveys in the US and Britain. In A. N. Joinson, K.Y.A. McKenna, T. Postmes, & U. R. Reips (Eds.), Oxford handbook of Internet psychology (pp. 7-30). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

The Internet has been a major social and technical innovation, ranging from household use of the Web for electronic messaging to accessing information and operating one’s financial affairs. This worldwide multi-media computer and transmission network of networks is altering access to important intellectual resoruces and dramatically changing lives and social arrangements in many places around the world.
In the decade since the Internet became available to both public and commercial interests, and was made much more accessible through the Web and browsers, nearly two-thirds of the adult population in the US and over half the adult population in Britain has used the Internet to seek and receive information, and communicate with others both known and unknown (Rice & Katz, 2003). This chapter examines a central question raised by this growth in Internet use: is Internet use associated with increased or decreased social interaction?

First, the chapter 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 learned by: comparing users and nonusers, comparing users with more and less offline interpersonal and mediated social interaction, assessing changes in social networks, and comparing US and British Internet users. Results from analyses of these questions come from national surveys in the US in 1995 and 2000 and Britain in 2003.

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