A98. Katz, J. E. & Rice, R. E. (2009). Falling into the Net: Main Street America playing games and making friends online. Communications of the ACM, 52(9), 1-2. 

This paper reviews the findings of 2007 US national survey of the general population to identify how the Internet is affecting the lives of ordinary people.  A nationally representative random survey of 1404 people finds that, on balance, there is almost no evidence to support the harsh contentions that the Internet is harmful or breeds sad, lonely people as has been asserted.  Neither is there evidence to indicate that the Internet is male-dominated.  Rather, the survey findings indicate that millions of people find community on line, and many new friendships have been made.  In fact, a significant fraction of those friendships have extended from the virtual to the face-to-face world.  About 5 percent engage in online multiplayer games while 20 percent feel they belong to an online community (with little difference in either between men and women). So rather than people "dropping out" of ordinary life to become hermits, data show that the Internet is a pro-social medium, resource and network that brings people together. 

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