Virtual Gender Roles: Is Gender a Better Predictor of Internet Use than Sex?
Abstract: Researchers across disciplines seek to discover common themes, extraordinary patterns, causal relationships, and ultimately any evidence that will give insight into how the Internet is changing the world. While many researchers are searching for answers, their findings paint a conflicting picture. In one important study, scholars (Jackson, Kolenic III, Fitzgerald, Harold, & VonEye, 2008) found that there is no “gender” difference in overall use of the Internet, rather that men and women use the Internet equally but for different reasons. An underlying glitch in the study of Internet use is the fact that scholars use the terms sex and gender interchangeably. Because Internet usage is a specific human behavior gender should play a more essential role than sex in predicting that behavior. With this in mind, this study provides support for the idea that gender (i.e., a person’s psychological identity) is a better predictor of Internet use than sex.