A new study has found that the Internet can be a distraction for many people, particularly those who work from home.
The study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health and published in the journal Preventive Medicine, surveyed 1,086 people who were part of the Study for Us, an online survey of nearly 10,000 people.
The survey found that while a majority of respondents said they were satisfied with the way the Internet was used by their colleagues, a majority said that the online services provided by their employers could be problematic, especially for those who are online at home.
Overall, 43 percent of respondents had used the Internet to a great extent, with 41 percent saying they used the service to a fair degree.
About 25 percent said they used it at a moderate to poor degree, with 10 percent saying it was “poorly used.”
And nearly two-thirds said they had used it less than they used their job or personal computer.
But it wasn’t just about the quality of the service.
Respondents also reported that some online services offered by their employer could be too complicated for people who don’t have the skills to navigate the site.
For example, respondents were less likely to use LinkedIn if they weren’t sure how to navigate it and they also were less satisfied with Facebook if they felt it didn’t offer them the same type of personalized service as their colleagues.
“People are going to use services that they find to be difficult, and the service that they do find difficult will not be the service people want to use,” said the study’s lead author, Mark Calkins, MD, a professor of health communication at the University of Utah.
“That may lead to a lot of frustration.”
And there’s also a cost.
The researchers found that about half of the people surveyed said that they had paid for their own subscriptions to some of the online content they used.
But that was just one of the costs they identified, which included the cost of hosting, paying for bandwidth, and using additional bandwidth for email.
In addition, the researchers found the use of mobile devices in office environments increased the likelihood that people would use services to which they didn’t have an appropriate level of experience, such as social networking and email.
The results of the study, Calkin said, suggest that the time spent on the Internet is “not only a distraction, it’s a barrier.”
“The Internet is a very large and growing portion of our lives, and it is a significant challenge for many of us,” he said.
The full study can be read here.
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