Young people's use and experience of the Internet during the COVID-19 lockdown: Well-being and social support
Keywords:COVID-19, lockdown, Internet use, social support, loneliness, well-being, excessive online use
No studies we are aware of have explored youth’s experiences of the association between their Internet use and well-being during the COVID-19 lockdown. To fill this void, we used survey data of a representative sample (N = 734) of young Norwegians (16–26 years) collected a few weeks into the lockdown in May 2020. Findings show a substantial increase in use of several Internet activities—in particular, video calls and streaming services. Snapchat and Messenger were the most important services to keep in touch with friends. Online social support significantly predicts higher well-being, while heavy Internet use during a regular lockdown day significantly predicts low well-being, particularly among the older females. Analysis of free text responses shows that excessive Internet use during lockdown has led to poor well-being among many, both mentally (38 percent) and physically (17 percent). Many describe purposeless online scrolling or interactions as problematic. We conclude that future research on online well-being should focus more on perceived level of meaningful online activity.
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