Gadgets make the world a happier place, says report

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Technology makes people happy, and women benefit even more than men, according to a global study from the British Computer Society.

"Put simply, people with IT access are more satisfied with life even when taking account of income," said the study’s author, social scientist Michael Willmott.

"Our analysis suggests that IT has an enabling and empowering role in people’s lives by increasing their sense of freedom and control, which has a positive impact on well-being or happiness."

Called ‘The Information Dividend: Can IT make you happier?’ the report is based on an analysis of the World Values Survey, and contains responses from more than 35,000 people around the world.

It concludes that women, those on lower incomes and those with fewer educational qualifications benefit most from access to and use of IT.  It also found that women in developing nations benefit even more than those in the developed world.

The reason women benefit most, suggest the authors, may be that they have a more central role in family life. Technology makes it easier to juggle their various responsibilities.

"The Information Society, as we see it, should be a place where information technology is used to improve life satisfaction and support our individual and collective goals, not to erode or undermine them," said  Elizabeth Sparrow, president of the BCS.

"The IT profession should be here to serve that purpose."