Shima Sum, Mark. R. Mathews, Mohsen Pourghasem & Ian Hughes
(University of Sydney)
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Although it is increasingly obvious that the Internet is changing human life; the details of this change are not yet clear. A major debate in current literature involves the capacity of the Internet to enhance social capital and wellbeing in old age. In this regard, the present study attempts to investigate the relationships between Internet use and older people’s social capital and wellbeing. An online survey was conducted at the University of Sydney. 222 seniors responded to the survey. The measures used included a wide range of instruments related to the Internet use, social capital and wellbeing. Respondents used the Internet for various purposes, including seeking information, entertainment, commerce, communication, and finding new people. The main findings of the study were that the relationships between Internet use, social capital and wellbeing is a complex construct and the Internet has different effects on social capital and wellbeing resulting from different use of this technology. The study results revealed that the Internet is a 2-edged sword with the ability to both harm and help. According to the findings of this study, using the Internet can be helpful for older adults if they are aware how they use it.
This article originally appeared in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.