The Effects of Internet Use on Students' GPA
Pauline Ferzetti, Tim Jaap, Teckla King, Erin Tench, & Jen L.Thomas
This paper is based on a project from an undergraduate Media Effects course.
Dr. S. Shyam Sundar
The advent of the internet has led to the rapid growth of the variety
- and amount - of information that is now available. While online technology
has benefited a great number of people, it is also felt that the internet
might replace other activities that could be more beneficial or productive.
In other words, it could serve as a distractor, lending credence to the
statement that "time spent doing one thing cannot be spent doing
another." This study specifically examines the amount of internet
usage and its effects on college students' GPAs.
Based on Distraction theory, it was hypothesized that the amount of time
spent on the internet would be negatively related to a student's GPA.
One hundred and twenty respondents were selected using a systematic random
sample. Each respondent was given a survey which had items pertaining
to amount and type of internet usage, as well as questions related to
academic performance (GPA) and some demographics.
An analysis of the data indicate that there is no correlation between
the independent and dependent variables. Specifically, amount of time
spent on the internet does not have any effect on GPA. Since the internet
probably combines characteristics of both television and newspapers, the
correlation between amount of time spent on television and newspapers
and GPA were also examined. The results indicate that the more time spent
watching television, the lower the GPA. However, increased newspaper usage
resulted in a higher GPA.
While the results indicate the lack of a relationship between overall
internet usage and GPAs, it is interesting to note that some of the traditional
media such as print and television (whose properties are characteristic
of the internet as well) have a significant effect on academic performance.
This is of enormous educational significance, particularly to practitioners
of online learning methods. It suggests that the more TV-like aspect of
this new medium might hinder academic performance whereas the more newspaper-like
attributes of the internet may indeed serve to enhance college students'