The internet / grade connection is real
Everyone knows teenagers spend a lot of time on the internet and most of that time is less than productive. AND it’s not hard to guess wasting time online isn’t good for the GPA. It’s not even a surprise that boys and girls engage in different online activities. But Taiwanese researchers Su-Yen Chen and Yang-Chih Fu wanted to know if different online activities effect boys’ and girls’ grade point averages differently.
In their 2009 study “Internet Use and Academic Achievement: Differences in Early Adolescence,” Su-Yen Chen and Yang-Chih Fu analyzed Taiwanese eighth graders’ internet usage. Unsurprisingly, girls spent more time socializing online, and boys spent more time gaming. This difference is also encouraged in Taiwan by internet cafes focused on online gaming and mostly frequented by young men.
Researchers then examined the correlation between certain activities (gaming, socializing, and searching for information) and the entrance exam scores. They found that gaming was associated with lower boys’ scores, and that socializing was associated with lower girls’ scores. However, gaming didn’t seem to negatively impact the girls’ scores, and socializing didn’t seem to hurt the boys’ scores. Searching for information was associated with higher test scores in both genders.
What can we learn from these results?
In spite of the gender generalizations made by this study, the most helpful take-away seems to be that internet activities effect different people differently. Online shopping might teach valuable lessons about marketing and business to one person but might just be a waste of time and money to another person. Short periods of gaming could help one person unwind and practice self-discipline (ie learning to turn the game off when appropriate) or be a dangerous addictive distraction to someone else.
Teenagers need to learn how to use the internet responsibly. Clean Router can provide limits that can help that learning process (click here
for more information). But parents also need to help teenagers develop self-awareness and self-discipline. Teenagers have to know when to work, when to play, and simply when enough is enough. These principles apply “in real life” as well, of course. But the addictive nature of technology necessitates a deeper recognition of growing dependency. It’s too easy to sit down and let hours fly by while one is clicking away. By helping teenagers learn these skills, parents are preparing their children to be responsible, independent adults.
That’s just good parenting.