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Media Influence

7) The effect of computers

Computers are a huge part of modern society and we are spending more and more time on them, but are they harmful


One of the biggest problems with computers is they can be addicitive. Giles (2003) suggests that heavy internet users show signs of addiction. However, although some may be ‘Internet dependent’ with more than 38 hours online a week (Young 1998) this does not apply to all and does not focus on what this time is spent on, for example, you could be spending a lot of that time revising or learning, which would be a good use of the time.

Other effects of computers 

Subrahmanyam et al (2001) said there are a number of other effects:

Displacement of other activities – research shows computer use lowers television use, but has not properly studied its effect on other activities.

Cognitive skills Some psychologists believe computer use may develop computer literacy skills, and some studies, for example Cole 1996, show correlations with improved visual attention skills and academic performance.  However, these findings been unreliable we can only prove this as a correlational relationship.

Social relationships McKenna and Bargh (1998) found socially anxious and lonely people find better relationships through the Internet, suggesting the internet can have positives as a befriending tool. However, Kraut et al (1998) found a link between the amount of time spent online and declines in social and psychological well-being.


About Sam Cook

A blog set up to help A Level students revise Sociology


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