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Internet Addiction Reduces Study Skills in College Students, Ups Loneliness


New research shows that students who use digital technology excessively are less motivated to study and are more anxious about tests.

This effect was made worse by the increased feelings of loneliness that the use of digital technology produced, according to researchers at Swansea University in the U.K. and the University of Milan in Italy.

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

The study discovered a negative relationship between internet addiction and the motivation to study. Students reporting more internet addiction also found it harder to organize their learning productively, and were more anxious about their upcoming tests, the researchers found.

“These 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 Professor Phil Reed of Swansea University.

About 25 percent of the students reported they spent more than 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 were social networking (40 percent) and information seeking (30 percent).

“Internet addiction has been shown to impair a range of abilities, such as impulse control, planning, and sensitivity to rewards,” said Professor Roberto Truzoli of the University of Milan. “A lack of ability in these areas could well make study harder.”

The study also found that internet addiction was found to be associated with increased loneliness. Loneliness, in turn, made studying harder for the students, the researchers said.

The study suggests that loneliness plays a large role in positive feelings about academic life in higher education, the researchers continued. The poorer social interactions that are known to be associated with internet addiction make loneliness worse, and, in turn, impact on a student’s motivation to engage in a highly social educational environment, such as a university.

“Before we continue down a route of increasing digitization of our academic environments, we have to pause to consider if this is actually going to bring about the results we want,” Reed said. “This strategy might offer some opportunities, but it also contains risks that have not yet been fully assessed.”

The study was published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning.

Source: Swansea University

Internet Addiction Reduces Study Skills in College Students, Ups Loneliness

Janice Wood

Janice Wood is a long-time writer and editor who began working at a daily newspaper before graduating from college. She has worked at a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, covering everything from aviation to finance to healthcare.

APA Reference
Wood, J. (2020). Internet Addiction Reduces Study Skills in College Students, Ups Loneliness. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 31 Jan 2020 (Originally: 31 Jan 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 31 Jan 2020
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