Does the Internet Help or Hurt Homework?

According to a Pew Internet and American Life survey, most teenagers say the Internet’s ability to help with schoolwork is one of its best features.  78% of online teens say the Internet helps them to do schoolwork, and 47% say it helps a lot.  Parents agree; 87% say the Internet helps children with their schoolwork.  This is one of the main reasons many families sign up for Internet access.

For instantaneous help, many students turn to instant messaging systems and email to contact peers and teachers. Some teachers even offer office hours using an online screen name for those too lazy to walk to their office. And that is exactly the premise behind the Internet- quick and efficient communication.  Most schools are turning to the Internet as a way to disseminate information about the school, specific classes, and activities. No longer is class sign-up done with pencil and paper but rather all colleges have an online database to perform the function.

The ease of gathering information on the Internet also has a downside.  The ease of researching and using the Internet for homework makes it easy to cheat.  While the Internet makes research and learning easier than ever, some students abuse the power. Copying and pasting is one of the most common ways students cheat followed by looking up answers to math problems and reading online book summaries instead of reading the novel.

Some websites are designed for the sole purpose of facilitating cheating and plagiarizing.  These sites allow students to buy and sell essays.  There are other websites designed to assist students in producing original work; however, even these sites can be abused.

So does the Internet help or hurt homework? Considering teenagers are lazy, the Internet very likely hurts homework habits. Even if one tab is opened to a research project, the other is probably open to Facebook. It is not hard to figure out which tab is getting more focus.


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