The Effects of Internet Media in Today's College Students | Teen Ink

The Effects of Internet Media in Today's College Students

December 17, 2011
By Wild_Rebel_Rose DIAMOND, Somerset, Wisconsin
Wild_Rebel_Rose DIAMOND, Somerset, Wisconsin
51 articles 4 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
Be who you are, and say what you feel, becuase those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.
-Dr. Seuss

The college experience for essentially every student in the U.S. has drastically changed in even just the last 20 years, particularly because of the mass utilization of innovative technologies, which has continued to grow rapidly in and outside of our country’s universities. There are multiple technologies that people use in daily life that affect them, but one of these technologies, which prominently and powerfully affects college students today is the Internet, or World Wide Web. Through this medium, we can clearly see that mass media has changed the way college students approach their academic, social and personal goals. This effect of mass media on students can output both negative and positive results within these goals.

According to a recent article published in the Journal of Communication titled “Conceptualizing Mass Media Effect” by W. James Potter, a mass media effect is “a change in an outcome within a person or social entity that is due to mass media influence following exposure to a mass media message or series of messages.” In this article, Potter lists 9 “Definitional Considerations” which apply to the effects of Internet Media. For example, one of these considerations, the “Influence Issue”,
asks the question, “Must the media have a direct influence or can it have an indirect influence?” Answering this question on the topic of Internet use in college, we conceptualize that the answer is yes. For example, if a professor in a class wishes to utilize
online quizzes, projects, or other academic-related expectations throughout their teaching, he or she is expecting the students to use the Internet solely for these purposes. What tends to happen, however, is students get sidetracked by the use of popular
websites. Some of these websites include Social networking/dating sites (Facebook, Twitter, eHarmony), Informational sites (Wikipedia, CNN), and Entertainment Sites (YouTube, Pandora, Netflix).

Before the origination of the Internet, experiences in college were definitely a far cry from the way we approach academics and social groups in universities today. There were no emails, no digital copies, and no online social networking. There were no search engines, so everything had to be researched manually through books and articles. In some ways, this system may have been simpler, but in many ways, the Internet has brought about a positive change. Academic projects and assignments can now be saved online as well as on paper. Communication is much easier and faster than before, and projects
can be turned in anytime from anywhere over the Internet.

The stripped down basics of the Internet came about on October 29th, 1969, when computers at Stanford and UCLA connected for the very first time. These first hosts would one day become what we now know as the Internet. Since that time, the Internet has developed at an unbelievably rapid pace. The first web page was created in the year 1991, and ironically was designed for the sole purpose of introducing the World Wide Web in detail. Since then, sites like Google (launched in 1998), Wikipedia (launched in 2001), Facebook (opened in 2004 to college students), YouTube (launched in 2005), and Twitter (started in 2006) have become prominent icons in the Internet world, and have continued to grow and develop as time has passed.

The question many people ask today is, how essential is the Internet to daily life, particularly in a college setting? Would life be worthless without the Internet? According to a September 2011 article published by TechNewsDaily titled “Without Internet, Life is Unthinkable, College Kids Tell Survey”, written by Leslie Meredith, one-third of college students say yes, without the Internet, life would not be worth living. They consider the Internet to be as essential to daily life as food, water, shelter, and even air. There are even more astonishing statistics on college students and the effects that Internet and other media have on them. “Students Love Technology”, writes Anson Alexander, in his article regarding Reliance on Technology among college students. “3 out of 4 students say they wouldn’t be able to study without technology.” This goes to show how much society as a whole has changed because of these monstrous outcomes created by the very young but very prominent and influential medium that we know as technology. With such huge developments in such little time, who knows what the future holds in the world of technology for upcoming generations in the years to come.

The author's comments:
This article goes in depth on the subject of Internet effects on college students. I wrote this article for a class about Media Effects. We had to write the article to meet the standards of a well-known publisher and submit it. I submitted my article to the New York Times.

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