POLL: Fewer Say Internet Is “Good For Society”

CNET reports:

According to a Pew Research Center survey published on Monday, the majority of US adults surveyed in January said the internet is mostly a good thing for them personally and for society as a whole. But the number has declined since the Center started asking the questions in early 2014.

An overwhelming majority of US adults still said the internet is good for them, dropping from 90 percent in 2014 to 88 percent in 2018. When asked if it has been mostly good for society, however, the percentage dropped from 76 to 70. The greatest decline was among older Americans, who slid from 78 to 64 percent between 2014 to 2018.

More from Pew Research:

This shift in opinion regarding the ultimate social impact of the internet is particularly stark among older Americans, despite the fact that older adults have been especially rapid adopters of consumer technologies such as social media and smartphones in recent years.

Today 64% of online adults ages 65 and older say the internet has been a mostly good thing for society. That represents a 14-point decline from the 78% who said this in 2014. The attitudes of younger adults have remained more consistent over that time: 74% of internet users ages 18 to 29 say the internet has been mostly good for society, comparable to the 79% who said so in 2014.

As was true in our 2014 survey, college graduates are more likely than those with lower levels of educational attainment to say the internet has had a positive impact on society (and less likely to say it has had a negative impact).

Among online adults with a college degree, 81% say the impact of the internet on society has been mostly good and just 7% say it has been mostly bad. By contrast, 65% of those with a high school diploma or less say the internet has had a mostly good impact on society, and 17% say its impact has been mostly bad.