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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 53-56

The role of regular internet usage on social behavior of students

1 Farhangiaan University, Ghaemshahr, Iran
2 Department of Educational Management, Sari Branch, Islamic Azad University, Sari, Iran
3 Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran

Date of Web Publication13-Feb-2017

Correspondence Address:
Mohammad Ali Heidari Gorji
Mazandaran University of Medical Science, Sari
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9962.200094

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Aim: This study was aimed to investigate the role of internet usage on social behavior of the students. Methods: This cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted among 175 university students. The samples were selected randomly from 333 Arabic students and divided into low (<8 h a week) and high (>8 h a week) internet user groups. The data were collected via social behavior and demographic questionnaires. To analyze the data, t-test was used. Results: The findings indicated that social behavior and subscales, i.e. participation, interpersonal interaction, social positive and negative consequences of students are significantly different in low and high internet user groups (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Internet is the strongest communication tool, which affects all aspects of human life. This technology is also related with social behavioral aspects of students who participated in this study. Therefore, in social studies, the effects of internet usage in people's behavior could be considered as an effective variable.

Keywords: Information technology, internet, social behaviors, students

How to cite this article:
Talooki NN, Ataee M, Gorji MA, Aghaei N. The role of regular internet usage on social behavior of students. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2017;33:53-6

How to cite this URL:
Talooki NN, Ataee M, Gorji MA, Aghaei N. The role of regular internet usage on social behavior of students. Indian J Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2017 [cited 2021 Mar 2];33:53-6. Available from: https://www.indjsp.org/text.asp?2017/33/1/53/200094

  Introduction Top

Development of internet has led to different changes in different life aspects like any other technologies and we are inevitable to use it.[1] Many communication theorists believe that internet is an important factor in developing countries.[2] Hence, it has been used as a supplementary source of database for teaching and studying. The university students, instructors, and professors depend largely on databases and information sources of internet. It is impossible to make an educational plan and research without information based on new technologies. Furthermore, the science and technological advances of the late 19th century made using communication technology and information coordination in researches and educational system are inevitable and necessary.[3]

Recent information technology developments considerably affect education, interaction, ways of participation, communication, values, behavior, and functions of people.[4] Young students, in the age of internet, use it as a super information and database in various ways such as access to science, research sources, cultural information, political events, personal uses, and communication with others. Information technology witnessed significant changes in young people's social viewpoints, beliefs, and behavioral tendencies in recent years.[5]

Presently, awareness of the consequences of using technology and preventing its negative aspects is critical.[1] Therefore, considering the significant roles of information technology in societies and its various effects on people's mental and physical aspects, the authors decided to investigate the difference of social behavior in high and low internet users of the Arabic students of Payame Noor University, Iran.

  Methods Top

This study was a cross-sectional study which included all 333 Arabic students of Payame Noor University of Sari City, Iran, during 2012–2013. The sample size was calculated based on the Morgan chart (n = 175) and the students were selected randomly out of total 333 students who were studying Arabic in 2012–2013 session. The samples were divided into two groups of students with high (more than 8 h in a week) and low internet users (more than 8 h a week).

The proposal of the study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Payame Noor University.


The questionnaires included demographic information, i.e., gender, educational level, and average time of internet usage (hours/per week). To assess the social behavior, a questionnaire was designed with 24 items, each item with 6 options, i.e., never, rarely, seldom, sometimes, usually, and often and scored, respectively, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The questionnaire included four subscales:

  1. Participation (q1, q2, q3, q4, q5, and q6)
  2. Interpersonal interaction (q7, q8, q9, q10, q11, and q12)
  3. Social positive (q13, q14, q15, q16, q17, and q18)
  4. Negative consequences (q19, q20, q21, q22, q23, and q14).

High scores implied higher social behavior in positive, personal interaction and participation. The negative consequences scored vice versa. One sample of question was as provided as follows:

In your idea, how much internet helped you to find sound friendships?

Never (1) rarely (2) seldom (3) sometimes (4) often (5) usually (6).

The validity of researcher-made questionnaire was investigated through content and apparent validity. Ten expert professors reviewed and commented on each item of the questionnaire and the Kappa coefficient was calculated. First, the questionnaire administered on 30 students as a pilot sample. The results showed appropriate coefficient for scale and subscales. Regarding the reliability of the questionnaire, Cronbach's alpha was measured and α = 0.81 obtained for total scale implies the high reliability and internal coherence of the questions. Cronbach's alpha were 0.78, 0.83, 0.74, and 0.88 for participation, interpersonal interaction, social positive and negative consequences, respectively.


To analyze the data, statistical descriptive and t-tests were used via SPSS 18 software (Released 2009. PASW Statistics for Windows, Version 18.0. Chicago: SPSS Inc). The confidence level considered as 95% and p value below 0.05 was considered as significant, df = 174 was compared to critical table t, which is 1.96.

  Results Top

The results showed that 57% of the study samples were male and rest were female. Of 175 students, 81% were students in B.A. level and 19% were M.A. students. Fifty percent of the students used internet <8 hours, 27% used internet between 10 and 20 hours, 7% used it between 20–30 hours, and 16% used internet for unlimited hours during last week.

The results indicated that the average score of social behavior was 92.97 ± 22/11, people's participation was 22.55, interpersonal interaction was 23.17, positive social consequences was 24.77, and negative social consequences was 22.37. The statistical test of Smirnov normality test showed that the study variations, social behavior, participation of people, interpersonal interaction, positive social consequences, and negative social consequences follow one normal distribution.

The results of t-test comparison of two groups revealed the following results [Table 1]:
Table 1: Independent t-test to compare social behavior and subscales of students in two groups according to internet usage

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  1. Social behavior with 14.52 ± 5.90 mean and SD was significant in 0.05 level, and degree of freedom df = 174; therefore, two groups were significantly different in social behavior (P < 0.05)
  2. The table shows that the mean difference and SD of participation were 3.68 ± 2.41 and degree of freedom, df = 174; therefore, two groups were significantly different in participation (P < 0.05), [Table 1]
  3. From the aspect of the study of internet effects on interpersonal interactions, the results show that the mean and SD of interpersonal interactions were 3.26 ± 0.46, so with 95% certainty, interpersonal interactions of groups with high and low internet usage were significantly different in interpersonal interactions (P < 0.05)
  4. From the perspective of the study of internet effect on positive social consequences, the results show that mean and SD of positive social consequences were 6.15 ± 1.41, so with 95% certainty, the groups were significantly different in positive social consequences (P < 0.05)
  5. In the study of internet influence on negative social consequences, the results show that the average and SD of negative social consequences were − 7.3 ± 1.53, so with 95% certainty, the groups were significantly different in negative social consequences (P < 0.05).

  Discussion Top

The results of this study indicated that using internet could affect the social behavior and social behavioral aspects which is similar to findings reported by Hosseinzadeh et al. (2009), Mohseni et al. (2005), Bastani and Zaman (2012), Ohadi (2003), and Sarokhani (2007).[6],[7],[8],[9],[10]

According to the results of Hosinzadeh et al. 2011), since internet can make a link between different cultures, beliefs, experiences, and different geographical places, it is effective on interpersonal interactions, especially among adolescents. Using electronic media such as internet creates capabilities in young people, makes them able to communicate confidently, and gets much attention in the people of a society. It is also efficient in promoting the young people's social dignity. Teachers and students have relatively same viewpoint about the importance and necessity of using the modern technologies in teaching, studying, and learning in educational and scientific sites.[6]

A study by Mohseni et al. showed that there was a meaningful and contrastive relationship between the time of using internet during a day and the users' social seclusion. In addition, social uses of internet decrease social seclusion.[7] In another study, Bastani and Zaman reported no effect of using internet and satellite programs on social behavior of young people in Isfahan even they believed that internet had positive effects on their behavior to their friends.[8]

On the other hand, Ohadi (2003) reports that internet had bad and negative effects on peoples' social skills in a way that they feel lack of real social relations, abnormalities in social skills, physical abnormalities, failure in education, financial and economic problems, unemployment, and loosing social relation.[9]

Similar to our findings, Sarokhani's et al. also showed that there is a significant relationship between internet general territory and forms of social reactions such as social and cultural services, deputation and organization, changes and reforms, social education, and understanding religious values, so it is recommended to observe peoples real behavior in their life setting.[10]

This study results indicated negative consequences of heavy internet users. A study by Shields and Kane 2005 suggested that there is a positive relation between social depression and seclusion and the hours or duration of using internet in young and adolescent users.[11] Internet usage may affect the quality of behavior with parents.[12] Electronic education affects students' cognitive, mental, social, and moral development.[13]

Although internet has positive consequences also, for example, the results of study conducted by July highlighted that internet is one of the helpful and useful tools of information technology and promotes skills and capabilities of students who insist on studies and professional lives.[14] In some studies, internet has a positive relation with student's creativity, research activities, performance, and attitude towards learning in universities.[15],[16],[17],[18]

On the other hand, there is a negative relationship between internet addiction and performance of students.[19]

  Conclusion Top

Internet is one of the most dominant new communication technologies that has affected all aspects of human life. It is involved with many positive and negative consequents, which can promote or destroy human life economically, culturally, and politically.

Based on the results of this study, internet has positive and negative effects on young students. Therefore, it is suggested to future researchers to explore the differences in individual's perceptions of online relationships compared with face-to-face relationships and similar questions could give good information in noncollege aged, ethnically diverse populations with gender equally distributed across the sample.

There are some limitations in the present study such as the lack of control on the variables such as economical level, educational level, discipline, subjects, and limited range of research communities.

This study included only 175 Arabic subject students in one university; therefore, generalizing these results to other disciplines and geographical area is difficult. There was no readily available standard tool to assess the social behavior of students; the researcher made questionnaire is not high qualified as much as former frequently used scales. Another point was the data collection method, which was self-report, the authors suggest to future researchers to include other methods such as an interview.


This study is the result of a research project. We thank and appreciate the deputy management of the Department of Education of Research and Technology of Payame Noor University and other coworkers who helped us to conduct this study and the student's research group who intimately cooperated with us to fill the questionnaires.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Omidvar A, Saremi AA. Internet Addiction. Tehran: Tamrin Publications; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 1
Sarokhani B. Communication Sociology. Tehran: Human Sciences and Cultural Studies Research Center; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 2
Tagva MR. The study of the level of using informative networks in Iran by university faculty members. Tehran Manage Stud Q J 2006;11:42-56.  Back to cited text no. 3
Torabi AA. Social changes, development and futures. Tehran: Foroozesh Publications; 2005.  Back to cited text no. 4
Rastehgarpour H. The strategies of ICT technology development. Tehran: Foroozesh Publications; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 5
Hosinzadeh B, Fallah V, Sadegi J, Janbazi Z. The effect of electronic learning media on improving young people's social behavior from the view point of computer science students and teachers. J Youth Soc Stud 2011;2:4.  Back to cited text no. 6
Mohseni M, Doran B, Sohrabi MH. The study of internet effects on the user's social isolation (among Tehran coffee nets). Ir Soc J 2008;7:4.  Back to cited text no. 7
Bastani S, Zaman L. The effect of using the internet and satellites on youth's social behaviour. A comparison of the users and non-users in Isfahan. Ir Soc J 2012;4:1.  Back to cited text no. 8
Ohadi J. Media and Modernity. Tehran: Tehransorosh Publications; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 9
Sarokhani B, Tosli GA, Arabinejad A. The effect of Cyberspaces on young female university students' social activities emphasizing on internet. J Soc Sci 2007;2:1.  Back to cited text no. 10
Shields N, Kane J. Social and psychological correlates of internet use among college students. Cyberpsychology 2011;5:1.  Back to cited text no. 11
Sajadiyan E, Nadi MA. The relation between depression and social isolation of internet young and adolescent users with usual time of daily internet using. J Behav Sci 2009;4:2.  Back to cited text no. 12
Fallah V, Hosanzadeh B, Eslami B. The effect of electronic education on PNU university students' personality dimension growth. Inf Technol Soc Behav 2012;2:3.  Back to cited text no. 13
Sampath Kumar BT, Manjunath G. Internet use and its impact on the academic performance of university teachers and researchers: A comparative study. Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning 2013;3:219-38.  Back to cited text no. 14
Turner R. Effects of internet usage on academic performance in a university setting: Evidence from Portugal. Second Annual Carnegie Mellon- Portugal Program Conference, Gulbenkian, Lisbon; 2010.  Back to cited text no. 15
Reiko A, Takahira M, Sakamoto A. Effects of the Internet Use on Elementary School Students of Attitude Toward Learning. World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications; 2004.  Back to cited text no. 16
Yang FY, Tsai CC. Investigating university student preferences and beliefs about learning in the web-based context. Comput Educ 2008;50:1284-303.  Back to cited text no. 17
Nwezeh CM. The impact of internet use on teaching, learning and research activities in Nigeria universities: A case study of Obafemi Awolowo University. Electron Libr 2010;5:28.  Back to cited text no. 18
Danaeimogadam D, Khosravi F, Afshar E. Effect of internet addiction on school students' studies. Human Information Interaction 2010;95:11-22.  Back to cited text no. 19


  [Table 1]


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