According to some estimates, over 300 million new people around the world signed up for the Internet in 2020, and there has been a 13 percent increase in the number of social media users. According to CTIA, a US wireless industry trade group, data traffic was up 20 percent last year. And that is when we weren’t going anywhere. According to a research firm, Leichtman Research Group, the mean self-reported time spent online at home in 2020 is 5.3 hours per day vs 3.7 hours per day in 2019.
Call me crazy, but one long-term side-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we have turned to the Internet for the community, and that is not entirely a good thing. Whether it is treating stock markets as a game or crazy conspiracies becoming acceptable, we don’t quite know the unintended consequences of the mass shift to the Internet as a replacement for physical relationships.