A large percentage of Americans who use online technology do see its benefits, including doing more in less time, the value of working from anywhere and the sheer excitement of trying new technology, despite the perception that mobile phones and social media are little more than nuisances and are distractions.
A survey that explores the views of Internet users ages 13 to 91, which was conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz, a design-driven research and strategy firm, found nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of respondents feel they are able to do more in less time with their technology.
Forty-five percent said they have more time for their family and friends because technology enables them to do work from anywhere, with 55 percent admitting they would rather work remotely than in the office. Seventy-two percent said they are excited to try new technology.
However, these services also exact a personal toll in the form of increased stress, struggles to learn new technology and conflicts in separating careers from personal lives. Sixteen percent said their personal lives have suffered because of technology in their work lives, and one-fifth (20 percent) said they frequently resent having to work at home because of what technology makes possible.
One-quarter of survey respondents said they struggle to figure out new technology, while 31 percent said technology has made it harder to separate their work and personal lives; 26 percent said they are stressed because technology has made them always on call for work.
Survey results also indicated a rift between Millenials and non-Millenials on several issues involving the consequences of using technology, as evidenced by the finding that larger percentages of Millennials than non-Millennials report personal problems that result from using technology.
One-quarter of Millennials said being accessible through a mobile device has made their lives more stressful, compared to 20 percent of non-Millennials, and 19 percent of Millennials who are employed said their personal lives have suffered because of the technology in their work lives, compared to 15 percent of non-Millennials.
"Millennials may embrace technology more enthusiastically than non-Millennials, but larger percentages of them also recognize that using technology comes with consequences," Greg Bovitz, president of Bovitz and a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future, said in a statement.
Among the differences reported in the positive effects of technology: 85 percent of Millennials said they are excited to try new technology, compared to 64 percent of non-Millennials, and more than half (52 percent) of Millennials said they have more time for family and friends because technology enables them to do work from anywhere, compared to 42 percent of non-Millennials.
"Every development in communication from the printing press to the personal computer has produced new social effects," Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future, said in a statement. "Now, as interactive mobile technology increasingly becomes a 24/7 experience, we find users recognize they are reaping new types of benefits from technology–along with negative effects at home and work."