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1997-1998

The Internet Today: Causes and Effects

1996 was the year of Internet. We constantly saw and heard the word "Internet"
everywhere last year. The beginning of the Internet was the computer network
called ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) which started in 1969 and
was supported by the Department of Defense in America since they wanted the
webbed network which cannot be severed easily. At the beginning, ARPA had
been used for the military need; and when it became more commercialized, it
came to be called 'Internet'. Accordingly, you can say that the need of defense
caused Internet to begin. Currently, Internet is now changing the concept of
nation, the means to communicate with people and even your view of life. Then
what should we do to deal with it? Can we be only a fanatic of Internet or be an
anti-Internet? First, I'd like to show the positive effects that Internet has caused;
then, I will move on to the negative side.

Maybe you can come up with many positive effects of Internet. First, you can get
the latest news on the web anytime everywhere. It must be interesting if
students make a good use of the web because what teachers teach you is not
always the latest thing. Even though the teacher say something to students, they
can reply like this; `No, that's not true, Mr. [Blank], I asked Dr. [Know-it-all] at
[Top] University just a few minutes ago on the web, and he said [Blank-sensei is
totally wrong, the correct information is . . .]' You can have an opportunity to
keep in touch with things new and what's happening in the world now. This was
not possible a decade ago.

Second, Internet is changing the concept of organization or system like a


nation, an ethnic group, a company and a network of people. Imagine you are
Japanese living in Sweden.......you can't speak Swedish, you don't have any
Japanese friends living your neighboring city. Maybe you'll become nervous
because you can't get any Japanese news other than the letters from your friends.
You don't have enough money to call Japan since it's too expensive. Once you get
on Internet account, your problem will all be gone! You can chat with your
Japanese friends on the web at a low price and can get any information that you
want. Actually, Chinese people living all over the world are now making a
network which support them each other on the Internet. For them, Internet is a
very practical means to confirm their nationality and unify them as Chinese.
You can be one of them (the Chinese) wherever you are. The borders between
countries are fading by Internet in this way.

In case of company, the differences between the classes are now fading slowly in
Japan. You can say what you want to tell your boss or a company president by
sending E-mail directly. Consequently, the relationship among people in the
company is changing since you don't need someone to communicate with your
superior anymore. The working style is also changing; you don't have to go to the
company everyday because you can do your work at home and send what you've
done by E-mail. You can have more free time and can change your lifestyle as
you like.

Fourth, concerning a network of people, Internet helped to connect and gather


volunteers after the big earthquake had rocked the city of Kobe in 1995. The
homepage made by one of the volunteer posted lots of information such as what
refugees in Kobe need and which shelter needs helpers.

Fifth, Internet is a good means to express you. You can make your homepage
and introduce yourself there. Then some people who saw your homepage would
be interested in you or your information offered on the homepage and would
contact you. It can be someone from unfamiliar country that you've never been to.
Isn't that kind of a great meeting? Maybe you want to found your own company
on the web. It's possible now. Internet is very useful if you have something that
you want to do or express.

Now I'd like to state the negative effects of Internet. First, an infringement of
copyright (or piracy) on the web is one of the most controversial problem that
Internet has caused. It is very hard to protect the copyright since you can get any
information on the web any time. You can draw some pictures offered in
someone's homepage into yours and you can copy everything that is shown on the
web-which you're supposed not to do so.

Second, subversive materials posted on the web is also a big problem. It's
obvious that subversive materials like porno or the picture of a dead body are not
good for you nor for children. It can happen that innocent kids cruising the web to
find a toy company's homepage stumble across the place where many horrible
pictures are posted. Though Singapore's government now started controlling and
policing those obscene material on the web, there is a question to be raised:
doesn't the regulation offend the freedom of speech? The same question has also
been raised from the United States when the obscene pictures on the web were
prosecuted. Then, how should we protect our children from those subversive
materials on Internet? Is there any way to measure the degree of the obscene
materials? To make matters worse, there is currently no universal law that can
supervise those problems. As you know, since Internet is worldwide, all countries
must cooperate to restrict something on the web; otherwise, you can do it in the
country where the law is not enforced.

Third, you have to be concerned about the crime on the web. Because you can
offer some information anonymously on Internet, some people can also trespass
upon your privacy through Internet by spreading some information that you want
to private. Furthermore, a crime on the web can sometimes be very serious. If you
are a computer specialist, you could steal a secret information like the military
secrets of another country. It actually happened a few years ago: a guy from
Brazil stole through Internet military secrets from the Department of Defense in
U.S.A.

Fourth, as some people say, the Internet is a box of waste since most of the
information which is offered on the web is junk. All you do on the web is just
wasting your time. In addition, E-mails sometimes bother people; you can't write
back to a hundred mails! Some mails may even have nothing to do with you.
Dealing with E-mail could waste a lot of your time.

As I said earlier, Internet, which was first created for military use, causes both
positive and negative effects today. Nevertheless, you just can't complain all the
time about the negative effects of Internet. You know that it's too late to stop the
expanding of Internet. You won't be able to live without it. What is now
demanded for us is to deal with both positive and negative side of Internet--and,
hopefully, to change its negative effects for the better.

by Rumiko Nomura
The Effect of Internet Usage on
Educational Performance
• Abstract
• Introduction
• Motivation
• Research Method
• Results
• References

Honours Research

Welcome to my research website! This website is dedicated to my Computer Science Honours


research into the effects of Internet usage on educational performance.

Researcher: Yestin Johnson (johnsony@cs.wits.ac.za)


Supervisors: Scott Hazelhurst and Ian Sanders.
Institution: School of Computer Science, University of the Witwatersrand.

Posted by Yestin Johnson (28th August 2009).

Research Abstract

This research aims to determine the effect of Internet usage on the academic performance of
university students. Previous studies have been done on this topic, most using self-reported
data. This research makes use of hard data collected from the University of the Witwatersrand
proxy logs and academic marks system in 2007. The research question identified is what effect
Internet usage has on academic performance. It is believed that some relationship does exist
between Internet use and academic performance. Available data is analysed, and a database
constructed. The data is then analysed more fully and statistical techniques are performed. It
was found that high Internet usage among university students is related to lower academic
results. However, it was not possible to prove any casual link between Internet use and
academic performance. This result is similar to that of previous research in this field.

Updated by Yestin Johnson (23rd November 2009). Top


Introduction

The advent of the Internet has changed society in many ways. For example: how we
communicate; how research is performed; how people keep up-to-date on current events; and
how teenagers spend a lot of their time. Many opinions exist on the positive and negative
effects that are associated with Internet use, these opinions have existed since society first
begun using the Internet. An issue that has always been of importance in society is that of
educational performance. That is, how students perform academically in schools and colleges,
and what factors influence this performance. The Internet has changed many aspects of
everyday life, and of importance to us is how the Internet has changed how students perform
research and how they spend their free time.

This research aims to determine if a relationship exists between academic performance and
Internet usage. It is believed that high Internet use does have a negative effect on academic
performance. This problem has been addressed in previous studies however the results are
somewhat inconclusive. Some found that Internet use has a positive effect on academic
performance, while others found that there was no effect, or even a negative effect. Most
previous studies make use of self-reported data, which can often have inconsistent results
across different samples, especially if the sample is not general enough.

Updated by Yestin Johnson (23rd November 2009). Top

Motivation

This area of Computer Science education has already received some attention, but as it is
difficult to collect hard data, most Internet usage data is self-reported. The research proposed
here aims to more clearly quantify the point at which Internet usage stops being beneficial.
This will be done by filling in some of the gaps left by previous research. This information can
be useful for a variety of reasons. With the Internet being as prevalent as it is today, and
Internet access being available to all students at most universities, it is important to know
whether Internet access is actually benefiting the students using it. It would be possible to
limit a students use of the Internet at university based on the data found in the research. If it
is found that students stop benefiting from the Internet for academic purposes after one hour a
day, then the university could limit a students usage to one hour a day. This may be a bit
harsh, but the findings of the research could be used as justification, and students notified of
this. If the students know the facts, they are more likely to use their time on the Internet more
productively. Even simply notifying students using the Internet of the results, would make some
difference in how they use the Internet.

The goal is to help the students do as well as they can, without providing them a means to
waste precious study and research time on other activities. This motivates why the proposed
research hypothesis is important and worth investigating. This research also is necessary to
address some short comings of previous studies. The main areas where this research is different
to others is that hard data will be used, from a sample of over 2,000 students, with data from
20 academic courses. Other studies in this area have used self-reported data, much smaller
sample sized, and have generally only focused on the effect across a few university courses.

Posted by Yestin Johnson (28th August 2009). Top

Research Method

The goal of this research is to answer the question of what relationship exists between Internet
use and academic performance. It is believed that such a relationship does exist. This will be
done by using Internet usage data and academic results from a number of students who were in
second year in 2007 at the University of the Witwatersrand. A basic comparison of the data is
made, to acquire some preliminary results. Following this, more formal statistical methods are
used to properly determine the relationship between Internet usage and academic
performance.
Research Question: What relationship exists between Internet use and academic performance?

The research question identifies the sole question to be answered by this research. In order to
answer the research question the following procedure has been identified.

1. Analyse the raw data and construct a simple database of the relevant information.
2. Perform basic comparisons of the data in the database and plot preliminary graphs.
3. Analyse the graphs and available data.
The tasks presented above are dealt with in order, as all steps rely on data or methods derived
in previous tasks. There are some problem areas that need to be addressed, specifically how to
quantify students’ Internet usage and how to best compare this with the student’s academic
results.

Updated by Yestin Johnson (23rd November 2009). Top

Results

This section discusses the results of this research. The first part of the research method with
results is that of the initial analysis of the draw data. Graphs were produced from this data,
they can be seen below. They show students' Internet usage versus their academic
performance. From these graphs it can be seen that not much relationship exists in general
between Internet use and academic performance. Correlations were used to verify this fact,
the correlation values of each graph can also be seen below. These very low correlations show
that there is a very small, possibly negligible relationship between Internet use and academic
performance. Further analysis of the data showed that the Internet usage data is not linear, or
normally distributed. The correlation statistical measure works best for linear data sets, hence
the correlation values found may be misleading.

Graph Correlation

Results versus Data Downloaded -0.098

Residence - Results versus Data Downloaded -0.110

Non-Residence - Results versus Data Downloaded -0.100

After this, the averages of the top and bottom groups of students were calculated and
compared. The averages can be seen in the table below. They show that high Internet use is
somehow related with a lower academic performance. And that higher academic performance
is related with a lower Internet usage level. However, it is not possible to say that higher
Internet use caused the students to have lower academic performances. The data below is
based on the full sample of students, however the residence students, and non-residence
student samples separately yield similar results.

Average

All students (academic performance) 52.44%

All students (data usage) 476.38 MB

Top 100 students by academic performance 250.69 MB

Bottom 100 students by academic performance 899.40 MB

Top 100 students by data usage 48.04%

Bottom 100 students by data usage 53.49%

Next, t-tests were performed on the data. Comparing the Internet use of the students with an
average of below 40%, to those with over 60%. The t-test is used to determine what the chance
is that the results in the sets occurred by chance. The results of students within the lowest 40%
of data usage was also compared to those students in the highest 40% of data usage. These test
results show that it is very unlikely that the results occurred by chance. The results can be
seen in the table below. The values shown are again based on the full sample.

t-value

Academic Performance 0.0043

Data Usage 0.0006

Finally, the same analysis was done on two courses within the sample. All students enrolled in
a mathematics course were analysed, as well as those enrolled in the economics course. The
data is presented in the tables below. It should be noted that on average these results conform
with the results of the full sample. However, it is interesting to see that there was much higher
data usage by students in the mathematics course, and that in this case a higher Internet use is
actually related to a higher academic performance. Overall, we can say that there is a
relationship between Internet use and academic performance. However it is not possible to
quantify this relationship in more detail with further analysis.

Correlation t-value Average (%) Average (MB)

Maths sample -0.13 0.09 56.34% 597.69 MB

Economics sample -0.11 0.23 44.36% 763.76 MB

Full sample -0.10 0.01 52.44% 476.38 MB

Average (Maths) Average (Economics)


Top 25 students by academic performance 286.26 MB 229.41 MB
Bottom 25 students by academic performance 3066.55 MB 306.04 MB
Top 25 students by data usage 56.84% 39.56%
Bottom 25 students by data usage 54.96% 42.52%
Updated by Yestin Johnson (23rd November 2009). Top

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Retrieved 11 August 2009, from http://pitt.edu/˜ksy/apa.html

Updated by Yestin Johnson (23rd November 2009). Top