As indicated by Barraket in this volume, the rapid growth of information and communication technologies (ICTs), notably the rise of the Internet, has led to major societal changes. Castells (2001) notes the significance of the Internet by referring to it as 'the fabric of our lives' (p. 1). Digital inclusion has almost become a prerequisite for social inclusion in contemporary society (Ferlander, 2003). Studies by Wellman and Haythornwaite (2002) show that the Internet is increasingly becoming an integral part of people's everyday life. In Sweden, the country within which the study described later was located, more than two-thirds of the households (68 per cent) have access to the Internet at home (MMS, 2003). For this simple reason alone, it is thus important to investigate the impacts of the growth of ICTs.