Internet Usage and Educational Outcomes Among 15-Year Old Australian Students
Children in rich countries are using the Internet for social networking and gaming at very high rates, particularly in Australia. This study addresses whether these activities affect educational achievement in mathematics, reading, and science using the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s 2012 Program for International Student Assessment data set. The results suggest that using online social networks reduces academic achievement. Conversely, playing online games increases scores. It is argued that although both activities are associated with a high opportunity cost of study, video games potentially allow students to apply and sharpen skills learned in school. Skipping school, failing an academic year in the past, and being indigenous are also important predictors of underachievement. It is suggested that monitoring, counseling, and tutoring students who are at risk of failure may useful.