|Harmful internet usePart II: Impact on culture and society|
It is increasingly recognised that the internet, in spite of all its benefits to society, can also be correlated with significant harmful effects on individuals and society. Some of these harmful aspects have been studied extensively, particularly harm to privacy, harm associated with security and cybercrime, and harm resulting from digital divides. This study covers less studied but equally important effects: harm associated with the quality of social structures and institutions.In Part II of this study, following a review of facts and statistics relating to internet use in the European Union, eight significant harmful social and cultural effects associated with internet use were identified, and a review was performed of theoretical and empirical literature concerning these aspects. The harmful effects that were reviewed are: internet addiction, harm to cognitive development, information overload, harmful effects on knowledge and belief, harm to public/private boundaries, harm to social relationships, harm to communities and harms to democracy and democratic citizenship. This review is followed by policy options for preventing and mitigating these harmful aspects.