Operations, Information & Technology

Too Much Screen Time?

Research suggests that spending time on the internet outside of work can have negative effects on personal life.

November 15, 2002

| by Stanford GSB Staff

Almost one-third of an average adult American’s day is spent with electronic devices — TV,radio, telephone, computer — that did not exist a century ago, says Norman Nie, a Stanford political scientist who studies the impact of information technology on society. Nie, who holds a courtesy appointment at Stanford GSB, finds that in some cases, spending time on the internet can have negative effects on personal life.

In research partly funded by the school’s Center for Electronic Business and Commerce, Nie and doctoral student Sunshine Hillygus report:”Internet use at home has a strong negative impact on time spent with friends and family as well as time spent on social activities, while Internet use at work has no such effect. Similarly, internet use during weekend days is more strongly related to decreased time with friends and family and on social activities than Internet use during weekdays.”

Their report is one of the research articles in a new interdisciplinary online journal, IT & Society, launched in August by the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society and the University of Maryland’s Survey Research Center. Nie, who directs the Stanford institute, said the goal is to encourage scholars of different disciplines to share their research.

Future issues will deal with psychology, sociology, and economics. According to Nie, subjects may include the future of the workplace as society becomes saturated with broadband technology, enabling more people to work at home, and how the phenomenon of oppression has been altered by access to information technology.

Nie will teach a course on Internet technology and marketing at the Business School during winter quarter.

For media inquiries, visit the Newsroom.

Explore More