The use of the internet and social media has become a matter of intense public debate. As with any new communication technology in human history, concerns on possible negative consequences have become abundant. Today, a large body of empirical research on different topics regarding the ramifications of internet use is available. However, diverging research results are common. It is difficult to get an overview beyond cherry picking the studies and results that fit one’s agenda. Complicating things, media-related research questions are addressed by different disciplines: psychology, communication science, education, sociology, computer science, medicine, just to name a few.
To provide a clearer picture on relationships between internet use on the one hand and psychological variables on the other, we examined several research questions with the help of meta-analyses. Meta-analyses are a statistical means to summarize previous findings and to quantify them. This allows an easier interpretation and evaluation of a certain relationship. Meta-analyses further allow to investigate boundary conditions. Is there a link between social media use and narcissism and if so – does this link vary for the social media platforms used (Twitter vs. Facebook) or the world region where studies were conducted?
With this project we address researchers, journalists, and everyone interested in the correlates and effects of internet use. We hope that our project will help to bridge internet related concerns and questions with rigorous academic research.
This project is funded by the German Research Fund (DFG).