How the internet has affected teens abilities to do online research work


94% of Teens’ research by using popular search engines. They also use online encyclopedias. But using smartphones distract them the most.

In this age of technology, the dependency on the internet has increased for everything including research. Teenagers have access to multitudes of research material online for their studies, and they do not shy away from using them. This article focuses on how teens do research online.

How teenagers do research online depends on a number of factors. We have to focus on the methods, tools, time management, search engines, online behavior, sites, and many other features.

Teens these days live in a world where everything is available online. They are more dependent on online sources for study and research than previous generations. Online research has its positive and negative sides.

So it is more crucial now to know how teenagers use the internet to do research.

How Online Researches Help Students

In one study done by the Pew Research center, it is found that online research mostly has a positive impact on kids. The research takes into account the opinion and observations of teachers.

According to their opinion, online research has enabled students to access multiple sources for their work.

76% of teachers have agreed that by using the internet for research, students have the possibility of coming across more information. Online research also plays a role in increasing the self-sufficiency of students as researchers. They tend to use different online encyclopedias like Britannica, Bartleby, and Plex.

Students are more interested in doing research online than using traditional methods like books.

The online sector is easier to access. People can find a lot of information in one place. There are opportunities for visual and verbal interaction. Some hyperlinks can be accessed to understand a subject better.

Overall, online research enables a more helpful experience of study. Internet research has been most beneficial to students in remote or rural areas. They rarely have access to a large number of traditional research items and tutors. So they reap great benefits from studying online where there are huge sources available.

Changing Nature Of Online Research

The nature of research has changed because of the internet and has given rise to some problems

The most pressing issue is the validity of the information found. The overexposure to the internet has diminished students’ ability to concentration and long attention spans.

The overexposure to the internet and online tools has reduced the activity time of the students and pushed them to procrastinate. Keeping up with many online tools resulting in students losing focus on one thing and getting distracted from the main task at hand.

Students are getting distracted from the real world through technology. This might have underlying issues such as the technological incapacity of adults, problems in society, and their surroundings.

Some teachers have pointed out that the internet has played a role in reducing the ability of critical thinking in students. Plagiarism is also a big problem. Students often do not dig deep into the materials they are researching. The quality assertion is also a problem in online research.

The Most Used Websites By Teens

The website that students use most for research is without a doubt Google. 94% of the students use this search engine. The next most used website is Wikipedia, it is used by 75% of students. The other popular websites or search engines are YouTube, Cliffsnotes,, SparkNotes, etc.

News portals are also accessed by students for research. New York Times, CNN, and other popular news sites are visited for research purposes.

The other most used items for study are PDFs or electronic textbooks.

Articles are also studied through websites such as EBSCO, JSTOR, and Grolier. The three sources of least accessed are library, textbooks, and study specialized search engines such as Sweet Search, respectively.

Having access to websites is an important factor during online research. The websites that have free access are visited the most. Some article sites have paid subscriptions. It is seen that students use those sites the least unless the subscription is paid for by the school.

The Most Popular Tools Used By Teens

The most used tools to surf the internet are computers and mobile phones. This goes for teens as well. Research for the study is done while studying.

During their study time, the students who have access to personal computers are inclined to use that more for online research.

For teens who do not have a personal computer works on mobile phones. Even though it may create more distractions during their study than personal computers as it is easier to access social media through your smartphones. With just a few swipes you can hop on and scroll through different social media platforms.

Spending too much time can cause Smartphone addiction which can bedangerous.

How To Guide Teens To Better Use The Internet

It is the responsibility of the teachers, adults, and the schools to guide the students to use the internet better.

Most schools don’t have the tools and software to deal with the increasing demand for technology by students. The teachers have a hard time monitoring what their students do with computers and mobile phones during class.

Students don’t always know how to assess the quality or truthfulness of the information found online. Teachers should guide them to differentiate good information from bad ones. They should teach students to determine the accuracy, importance, and relevance of a source.

A common complaint about using online research is the reduction in critical thinking capabilities. Teachers should guide their students on understanding the materials before using them. Critically assessing a material can help improve analytical thinking abilities over time and this digital literacy needs to start from schools.

Teachers need to improve their ability to work with online sources. Most young teachers are confident about their online research skills. The senior teachers expect students to use traditional methods more.

Final Thoughts

Online research has changed the traditional ideas about the term research. It has become much easier to do any research work on the internet than before. Teachers these days need to be more knowledgable and capable to deal with the changing nature of the study.

Teachers and schools should accommodate advanced software and tools to guide the students. It is also important instead of blaming the teens for the change in their studying behavior encourage them to see things more critically and help them to gain knowledge from the new technology.