The internet has been hailed as a revolutionary tool for bringing people together, sharing knowledge and engaging audiences. However, there have also been claims the internet has become addictive, increased social isolation and helped to spread hate. We wanted to find out whether connected technologies are overall beneficial or detrimental to our well-being?
Our research – in France, Germany and UK – combined a traditional online survey with passive tracking data of the respondents’ internet usage. In the questionnaire – based on the World Happiness Report of the UN – every participant was asked to auto-evaluate his state of happiness. Simultaneously, the internet usage of those participants was tracked using a software on their PC and mobile devices.
By combining the results from the surveys with the passive data, we were able to answer questions such as “which websites do unhappy people visit”, “how much time do happy people spend on the internet”, etc.
The outcome of this research points out the differences in online behavior of happy and unhappy people. Happy people use the internet as a means of performing real life tasks: traveling, refurbishing their home or taking care of their children. The research revealed a different story for unhappy people; not only are unhappy people overall 20 % more online, the purpose of their usage differs too. They use the internet as an end in itself; they spend significantly more time on social networks, on streaming and adult websites and are much more likely to feel trapped by the internet.
Would you like to learn more about our findings? Then take a look at the complete study here.