IT and Activity Displacement: Behavioral Evidence from the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS)

  • John P. RobinsonEmail author
  • Steven Martin


In order to track social change during a period of the rapid advances brought about by new information technologies (IT), a targeted module of IT-relevant and Internet questions was added to the 2000, 2002 and 2004 samples of the General Social Survey (GSS). The general issue inherent in and guiding the questions asked (as well as the analyses conducted) is whether IT functions to displace or expand various daily activities. In general, Internet use was not correlated with lower use of other personal communications or mass communications media—nor with lower levels of other social activities like church attendance or arts participation. In many cases the Internet was associated with increased use of other media or activities. Respondents who spend the most time on the Internet did report fewer social visits by relatives and neighbors, and perhaps less frequent sexual intercourse, but more visits with friends, compared to those who spent no time on the Internet.


Internet use Time use Methodology Social life Mass Media Use 



Grateful acknowledgment is given to the National Science Foundation, Office of Science and Technology, for support through grants NSF01523184, NSF0086143, and SBR-9602058 and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Working Families Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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