A new study has found that all students, regardless of intellectual ability, had lower exam scores the more they used the internet for non-academic purposes such as reading the news, sending emails and posting Facebook updates.

"Students of all intellectual abilities should be responsible for not letting themselves be distracted by use of the internet," explained Susan Ravizza, associate professor of psychology at Michigan State University (MSU).

Ravizza and her colleagues studied non-academic internet use in an introductory psychology class at MSU with 500 students.

The findings also showed that students discounted the effects of internet use on academic performance, reinforcing past findings that students have poor awareness of how their smartphones and laptops affect learning.

"This might be because internet use is a different type of multitasking, in that it can be so engaging," Ravizza added.

Although it is nearly impossible to attempt to ban smartphones or other electronic devices from lecture halls, an awareness drive can help students lower their use of internet for non-academic purpose.

The study appeared online in the journal Computers and Education.


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