Ability to focus on studies affected by excessive use of internet, says study

The study said that this effect was magnified by the growing feelings of loneliness that was caused by the use of digital technology

Lack of motivation to engage with studies and increased anxiety about examinations are results in students who utilise digital technology excessively says a new study.

The study that was published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, said that this effect was magnified by the growing feelings of loneliness that was caused by the use of digital technology.

Increased levels of internet addiction

"The results suggest that students with high levels of internet addiction may be particularly at risk from lower motivations to study, and, hence, lower actual academic performance," said study researcher Phil Reed from Swansea University in the UK.

For the findings, 285 university students, enrolled on a range of health-related degree courses, participated in the study. They were assessed for their use of digital technology, their study skills and motivation, anxiety, and loneliness.

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Difficulty in organising learnings

The research found a negative relationship between internet addiction and motivation to study. Students reporting more internet addiction also found it harder to organise their learning productively and were more anxious about their upcoming tests.

The findings also found that internet addiction was associated with loneliness and that this loneliness made study harder. About 25 percent of the students reported that they spent over four hours a day online, with the rest indicating that they spent between one to three hours a day.

The main uses of the internet for the student sample were social networking (40 percent) and information seeking (30 percent), the researchers said. In addition to the links between levels of internet addiction and poor study motivation and ability, internet addiction was found to be associated with increased loneliness.

Loneliness affects ability to study

The results indicated that loneliness, in turn, made studying harder for the students. The study suggests that loneliness plays a large role in positive feelings about academic life in higher education.

According to the researchers, the poorer social interactions that are known to be associated with internet addiction make loneliness worse, and, in turn, impact on motivation to engage in a highly social educational environment such as a university.

(With agency inputs)

Related topics : Education