Study on Social Impacts of ICT in Europe published by the European Commission

The European Commission (EC) has published the results of a in-depth study on the social impacts of ICT, based on available research evidence from Europe and beyond. empirica's focus in the project was on exploring the impacts of the Internet, mobile telephony and other ICTs on sociability within community and family. empirica also authored a report on differences in social impacts of ICT between Europe and selected non-European countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, USA).

In recent years, ICT has permeated throughout the EU society and economy, to an extent which nobody would have expected only a short time ago. Many observers believe that the fast spread of computer networks, mobile telephony and other ICT is having far-reaching, partly even transformative, implications for European society. Unfortunately, much of what has been said about ICT’s social impacts has not been based on scientific insight but on guesswork, hype and ‘common sense’. It is for this reason that the study on the ‘Social Impacts of ICT’, commissioned by the European Commission, DG Information Society & Media, explored the available empirical evidence about developments in some of the most relevant domains in Europe, and beyond. As there are considerable differences in the extent to which ICT is utilized in different domains, seven such domains have been studied separately in this project:

  • Participation and Policy Making
  • Education
  • Work
  • Consumption
  • Health
  • Community and Family
  • Creation and Distributed Innovation. 

Given strong differences are to be expected in the situation between Europe and those other parts of the world in which uptake of ICT is widespread (for example, North America, Japan and the fast developing countries of South-East Asia), the latter were dealt with explicitly in a separate piece of research.

Full version of the report (589 pages):

The Executive Summary (45 pages):

Chapter on Impacts of ICT in the area "Community and Family" (88 pages):

Chapter on Social Impacts of ICT: Comparison between Europe and other parts of the world (61 pages):

Download here (PDF, 5 MB)