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SOC 481

Society and Social Problems of India


 

Project Report
on
Effects of Use of Computer on
Students of IIT Kanpur
 
 
 
Submitted By‐ 
Pratik Vimal(Y6339) 
Vibhav Agarwal(Y8558) 
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
We are thankful to all the students of IIT Kanpur who have filled our survey. We are also
thankful to some of our batch mates for helping us design the survey.

Our deepest thanks to Professor Arun Kumar Sharma, guide of the project for guiding us
throughout the project. He has taken pain to go through the project and suggest necessary
correction as and when needed.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In this study we are interested in finding out the effects of use of computers and laptops on the
students of IIT Kanpur. It is also aimed at differentiating between the positive and negative
effects of computers and laptops.

INTRODUCTION
Computers are ubiquitous. Their impact on 21st century is enormous. They have introduced a
concept of “instant getification” which means virtually getting anything they desire at the touch
of a mouse click. As computers have become less expensive they have been purchased by more
and more students. Because of this, many students begin to use computers at an early age. Even
if computers are not available in their home, students almost certainly will begin to come into
contact with computers in schools and colleges. They use learning programs, which either teach
or reinforce basic skills in math, language, reading, and other subjects. Other software allows
children to draw pictures or create visual works of art and self-expression. Increasing numbers of
children are using computers to create multimedia presentations and even web sites that include
pictures, text, audio, and videos.

As use of computers is promoted in colleges, and because computers are so ubiquitous, students
have a great deal of exposure to them. Not everyone, however, is comfortable with the use of
computers by youngsters. There is an ongoing debate about ill-effects of computers which have
called for a halt to the use of computers. They cite poor academic performance, costs as well as
possible health effect that using computers may have on students. Many students are believed to
suffer from “computer addiction” and the worst part is that they are not even aware of that. The
true impact that computer use has on students is uncertain. Even though there is not enough
information to state authoritatively that computers have any negative effects on students, the
possible adverse effects that have been cited are serious enough to warrant consideration.
So here we are focusing on student community of IIT Kanpur only and trying to Fig out the
psychological and related effects of computer use on students.

OBJECTIVES
We kept the following objectives in mind while working on the project. We mainly focused on
psychological effects of computer use. Working on pathological effect would have required
tremendously more efforts and time was a big constraint here
1. Seeking a correlation between number of hours of computer use and academic
performance
2. To differentiate between positive and negative effects of computer
3. To derive a relationship between hours of computer use and attitude towards social life(
including number of friends, interactions among wing-mates etc)
4. To Fig out the degree of computer addiction and henceforth to check if it’s a social
problem

RELEVANCE TO THE SOCIETY


1. We can differentiate between the positive and negative effects of computer on students
2. Filtering out the negative effects will considerably reduce the efforts to eliminate them
3. We can be sure of degree of computer addiction among students and hence can decide if
it’s a social problem
4. It will also help institute authorities in reviewing their decision of LAN BAN and thus
will be instrumental in deciding continuance of it

SAMPLE DESIGN
Since our problem is confined to the student community of IIT Kanpur, our sample size was all
hostels of campus and covering students of all degrees and years. Keeping the fact in mind that
both students are male and themselves undergraduate so collecting data from boy’s hostel and
undergraduate students will be easy therefore special emphasis was laid in collecting data from
girl’s hostel and postgraduate students.

DATA COLLECTION
The data was collected through an exhaustive online survey conducted over a span of three
weeks. The aim of the survey was to get an idea of the student’s behavior towards the use of
computers and their effects. It involved the comparison of effect on the students belonging to
different sex, CPI range, degree etc. It contained the following type of questions:

Multiple choice questions with one answer: 19

Text based questions: 2

Multiple choice questions with multiple answer: 1

Preference Order based question: 1

Total number of responses to the survey was 907 out of which 23 were found to be bogus or fake
entries after close examination. Finally we got 884 valid surveys which were later analyzed and
compared to study the different aspects of computer use on student’s behavior and academics.

The following three questions were added to the questionnaire later on*:

1. How many hours per week do you spend on gaming?


2. Year
3. Rank Gaming in terms of your preference while using computer

*Hence in these cases number of responses could be a bit less as compared to 884.

DATA ANALYSIS
The breakup of students can be studied under the following four categories. They are as follows:

1. Degree
2. Department
3. Hostel
4. Year

Degree

Btech 425 48%


dual degree 165 19%
Mba 19 2%
Mtech 154 17%
MSc integrated(5 year) 99 11%
MSc 2 year 13 1%
PhD 9 1%

Department

AE 55 6% ECO 20 2%
BSBE 33 4% MSC 1 0%
CE 115 13% MTH 42 5%
CHE 80 9% PHY 29 3%
CSE 114 13% MDes 1 0%
EE 157 18% EEM 1 0%
IME 27 3% LT 0 0%
MME 86 10% MS 2 0%
ME 99 11% NET 1 0%
CHM 21 2%

Hostel

1 155 18%
2 138 16%
3 123 14%
4 60 7%
5 92 10%
6 6 1%
7 47 5%
8 45 5%
9 92 10%
10 84 10%
GH1 39 4%
SBRA 3 0%

Year

1st 206 23%


2nd 288 33%
3rd 161 18%
4th 154 17%
5th 67 8%

Number of Students vs Hours of Computer 
Use

46 0 to 1
117
78 1 to 2
2 to 3
105 85
3 to 4
4 to 6
112
164 6 to 8
8 to 10
177 more than 10

Fig 1. Number of Students in different category of Computer Use


The variation in average CPI as compared to different degrees being offered for the students who
filled the survey is given by the graph below:

Average CPI vs Degree
10 8.68
9 7.73 8.11 8.09
7.57 7.56 7.46
8 7.15
7
Average CPI

6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Total btech dual msc 5 year msc 2 year mba mtech phd
Degree

Fig 2. Average CPI vs. Degree

BTech: Avg. CPI increases initially, then decreases till 2 to 3 hours of computer use, then
continuously increases till 8 to 10 hours of computer use and finally decreases in the more than
10 hours of use category.

btech
8.4 8.14
8.2 7.94
8 7.78
7.8 7.61 7.66
Avg. CPI

7.6 7.44
7.26 7.32
7.4
7.2
7
6.8
0 to 1 1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 4 4 to 6 6 to 8 8 to 10 more than 
10
Hours of Computer Use

Fig3. Average CPI of BTech vs Hours of Computer Use

M.Tech: Avg. CPI decreases continuously till 6 to 8 hours of computer use and then increases
and remains almost constant.
mtech
9.5 9.25
9
9
8.23
Avg. CPI

8.5 8.21
8 7.97 7.86
8

7.5

7
1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 4 4 to 6 6 to 8 8 to 10 more than 
10
Hours of Computer Use

Fig4.Average CPI of mtech vs Hours of Computer Use

MSC 5 Year: Avg. CPI is fluctuating in this case over the entire category of computer use.

msc 5 year
9 8.17
7.16 7.08 7.41
8 6.66 6.99
6.56
7
6
Avg. CPI

5
4
3
2
1
0
1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 4 4 to 6 6 to 8 8 to 10 more than 
10
Hours of Computer Use

Fig5. Average CPI of msc 5 year vs Hours of Computer Use

Dual Degree: Avg. CPI first increases till 4 to 6 hours of computer use and then decreases in
the category 6 to 8 hours of computer use and again increases finally.
dual degree
9 7.87
7.6 7.47 7.48
8 6.73 6.81
6.55
7
6
Avg. CPI

5
4
3
2
1
0
1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 4 4 to 6 6 to 8 8 to 10 more than 
10
Hours of Computer Use

Fig6. Average CPI of Dual Degree vs Hours of Computer Use

For other degrees it is difficult to find out a trend as many categories of computer use had zero
candidates.

To gain insight into the possible reasons for the trends that we have observed above, we also plot
the percentage of students who use computer for academic purposes for more than 18 hours per
week, watch tv series or movies for more than 18 hours per week and do gaming for more than
12 hours per week. We found out that the percentage is increasing with increase in daily uses of
computer.

Avg. CPI vs Hours of computer use
7.9 7.78 7.82
7.8 7.72
7.67
7.7 7.59
7.6 7.52
Avg. CPI

7.5
7.4 7.31
7.26
7.3
7.2
7.1
7
6.9
0 to 1 1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 4 4 to 6 6 to 8 8 to 10 more than 
10
Hours of computer use

Fig7. Average CPI vs Hours of Computer Use


Above is the graph for variation in Average CPI (Total and Degree Wise) with No. of Hours of
computer use.

From above data (Fig7) it is clear that more use of computers not necessarily means that average
CPI will be less. When the hours of computer use are as low as 0-1 hours, the average CPI is
higher as it maybe the case that students are spending more time on academics. Also when
students are spending more than 10 hours on computers daily their average CPI is rising so we
can conclude that they are using computers for academic purposes. One interesting trend is that
as hours of computer use is increasing till 3-4 hours of use average CPI is decreasing. So we can
say that this increased hours of computer purpose is mainly for non-academic purpose which
may include gaming, movies etc. After 3-4 hours average CPI is gradually increasing. Thus this
increase in hours of computer use can be attributed to academic purposes.

We can support our conclusion from the fig8 below which is depicting % of students using
computer for more than 18 hours of academic purposes weekly. We can see that this percentage
is nearly constant and as low as 6% till 3-4 hours of computer use. After that this % is increasing
rapidly. Thus we can justify that initial increase in hours of computer usage is due to non-
academic purposes but later it was because of increase in academic activities.

computer use for academic purposes for 
more than 18 hours per week
40 35.9
35 29.52
27.44
30
% of students

25
20 14.69
15
8.23
10 6.25
5 0 0
0
0 to 1 1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 4 4 to 6 6 to 8 8 to 10 more than 
10
Hours of Computer Use

Fig8. % of students using computer for academic purposes for more than 18 hours per week vs Hours of Computer
Use
% of students gaming for more than 12 hours 
per week
30
25.45
25
% of students

20
14.29
15

10
5.56
3.61
5 2.13 1.92
0 0
0
0 to 1 1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 4 5 to 6 6 to 8 8 to 10 more than 
10
Hours of Computer Use

Fig 9. % of students gaming for more than 12 hours per week vs Hours of Computer Use

% of students watching tv series or movies for 
more than 18 hours per week
50 44.44
45
40
% of students

35
30 24.76
25
20 12.8
15 8.47
10 2.33 2.68
5 0 0
0
0 to 1 1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 4 4 to 6 6 to 8 8 to 10 more than 
10
Hours of Computer Use

Fig 10. % of students watching TV Series or Movies for more than 18 hours per week vs Hours of Computer Use
From the fig9 and fig10 an interesting fact can be seen. As the hours of computer usage increases
students indulge more in gaming and watching movies and TV series. Earlier we observed that
with increase in hours of computer usage % of students using it for academic purposes also
increases and thus average CPI is increasing. Thus both the things are happening simultaneously.
The only plausible explanation is that such students strike a balance between computer usage for
academic and non-academic purposes such that their academics don’t suffer and hence have
higher average CPI. Also both the researcher from their personal experience approves the
existence of such persons. They both have friends and wing-mates that falls in this category.

The next fig11 explains the % of students not involved in extra-curricular activities versus hours
of computer use. In the above Fig we see that % of students who are not involved in any extra-
curricular activities is nearly around 25% for most of the cases but it increases sharply for
students using computer for more 8 hours. We can say from the above data that number of hours
of computer doesn’t have direct co-relation with % of students not involvement in any extra-
curricular activities as long as the number of hours of computer use is below a threshold( in this
case it is around 8 hours). As soon as it overshoots that threshold the number of students
participating in extra-curricular activities decline sharply. This is not a surprise as students invest
more time in computers so they have less time for such activities. The abnormality in case of 1-2
hours of computer use can be attributed to bogus entries and is not relevant.

no involvment in extra‐currics vs hours of 
comp use
% of persons with no involvement in extra‐currics

45.00%

40.00%
39.32%
35.00%

30.00%
29.92% 30.48%
25.00% 28.24% 28.57%
24.29% 25%
20.00%
19.57%
15.00%

10.00%

5.00%

0.00%
0 to 1 1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 4 4 to 6
6 to 8 8 to 10 more 
than 10
hours of computer use

Fig11. % of students not involved in extra-curricular activities vs hours of computer use


Computer Use and Addiction

In the next part of data analysis we try to derive a relationship between level of computer
addiction to average CPI, social attitude (number of friends), hours of computer usage and
attendance in class.

Addiction to Computer
33

262
244 Yes
No
Maybe
Don't Know

345

Fig 12. No. of Students Addicted or Not Addicted to Computer

Fig 12 shows the number of students addicted or not addicted to computer. We see that, a
whopping, 57.23% students said that they are either addicted or maybe addicted to computer.
Out of those who said either yes/maybe/don’t know on being asked whether they are addicted to
computer, 61.18% students said that they have never tried to get rid or find about this addiction.

In their response to another question “Does it happen that you use computer/laptop till late night
and are not able to wake up in the morning for class even if you wanted to attend it?” 39%
students said that they miss the classes due to late night uses of computer.

73% of the students feel that LAN ban in the campus did not have any effect on their schedule of
computer use.
In the Fig 13 we can see that as students uses computer for more hours they get more addicted to
computers. Thus a student who uses computer for more than 10 hours has a greater probability of
getting addict than the one who uses it only for an hour a day which is not a surprise.

% of comp addict vs hours of comp use
70.00% 58.97%
% of computer addict

60.00%
46.67%
50.00%
34.75%
40.00%
25.89% 24.29%
30.00%
20.00% 10.59%
6.41%
10.00% 2.17%
0.00%
0 to 1 1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 4 4 to 6 6 to 8 8 to 10 more than 
10
hours of computer use

Fig13. % of students who agreed to computer addiction versus hours of computer use

200
180
160
140
No of students

120
100
80 Maybe
60 No
40 Yes
20
0
1 2 3 to 4 5 to 6 more than  None
6
No of friends

Fig14. Number of students versus number of friends they have for the three different responses to the question of
computer addiction

For the three different responses of the question “Do you think you are addicted to computers”
we plotted (Fig 14) the number of students against the number of friends they have. As expected
students who are not addicted to computers have much more no of friends than the students who
are addicted and who are not sure of it. In all the option numbers of students who are not
addicted to computers is more.

avg CPI vs Answer to addiction to 
computer
7.75
7.8
7.7
7.56
7.6 7.5
Avg CPI

7.5 7.41
7.4
7.3
7.2
Don't Know Maybe No Yes
Answer

Fig15. Average CPI of students plotted against the level of acceptance for addiction of computer

We can clearly see that the students who are not addicted to computer have a greater average CPI
than the students who are addicted to computer. Also average CPI is more than the students who
are not sure of their addiction to computer. The student whose response is “maybe” is just on the
border line of addiction.

% of classes attented versus level of computer 
addiction
60%

50%

40%

30% Maybe
20% Yes 
10% No

0%
None upto 5% 5‐10% 10‐20% 20‐40% 40‐60% 60‐75% 75‐85% 85‐95% more 
than 
95%

Fig16 % of students versus % of classes attended for 3 different level of computer addiction
From the above Fig 16 we can clearly figure out that out of total students who attend more than
95% of classes majority of them are not addicted to computer. Also majority of students who
attend at the most 10% classes are addicted to computer

Preference for Different Kinds of Internet Sites

From Fig 17 it is evident that very few students visit educational sites as their 1st preference
(10%) while the combined weight of chatting messenger, social networking and gaming as the 1st
preference comprises nearly 45% of the student population. The percentage of students checking
mails and visiting other sites as their 1st preference amounts gain to 45%.

Unlike above when we see the data for 5th or last preference for different kinds of sites, gaming
tops the chart with whopping 44% of students preferring it as their last choice. There is very
drastic change in the % of students preferring chatting messenger, social networking and
checking mails as their last preference .Whereas % of students preferring educational sites and
others as their last preference remains almost constant.

1st Preference for Different Kinds of Sites

Chatting Messenger & Social 
17% Networking
Checking Mails
34%
11% Educational Sites

Gaming
10%

Others
28%

Fig 17. %Distribution of 1st Preference for Different Kinds of Sites


5th Preference for Different Kinds of Sites

Chatting Messenger & Social 
13% Networking
24%
6% Checking Mails

Educational Sites
13%

Gaming

Others
44%

Fig 18 . % Distribution of 5th Preference for Different Kinds of Sites

We calculated the weighted average preference for different kinds of sites. The results are given
in Fig 19 which clearly tells us that the most preferred kinds of sites in the increasing to
decreasing order are given by :

Average Preference for Different Kinds of 
Sites
4 3.71
3.5 3.08 3.25
Average Preference

3
2.45 2.28
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
Chatting  Checking Mails Educational Sites Gaming Others
Messenger & 
Social 
Networking
Different Kinds of Sites

Fig 19. Average Preference for Different Kinds of Sites


1. Checking Mails
2. Chatting Messenger & Social Networking
3. Educational sites
4. Others
5. Gaming

We analyze the trends in the CPI variation for different kinds of sites for different preferences.

Chatting Messenger & Social Networking: Average CPI is highest for 3rd preference and low
for 1st as well as 5th preference. Those who tally neglect socializing and those who indulge in
socializing a lot are worse off than those who maintain a balance between studies and
socialization.

Checking Mails: Average CPI is considerably high for 1st preference but decreases for
subsequent preferences. The possible reason for this could be that those who perform better in
academics are much more organized as compared to those who are not and keep a track of
different opportunities regularly and give importance to reading mails.

Educational Sites: CPI high for 1st and 2nd preferences and decreases for subsequent
preferences. It means that those who prefer educational sites over other kinds of sites have higher
CPI.

7.9

7.8

7.7 Chatting Messenger & Social 
Networking
7.6
Average CPI

Checking Mails
7.5
Educational Sites
7.4

7.3 Gaming

7.2
Others
7.1
1st  2nd  3rd  4th  5th 
Preferences

Fig 20. Average CPI for different preferences for different kind of sites

Gaming: Decreases from 1st to 3rd preference and then again increase till 5th preference. This
might be the due the case, that those who do gaming, their minds become sharp and if they strike
a good balance between studies and gaming then they perform well. Also the average CPI being
highest for the 5th preference is expected as those who spend less time on gaming perform better
in academics

Others: Highest for 1st preference and almost similar for other preferences. Students who prefer
other kinds of sites like news, blogs etc. have better CPI.

CONCLUSIONS
We now here conclude the results derived from data analysis. Firstly we analyzed data of hours
of use of computers against different parameters like average CPI, weekly no of hours spent on
movies and TV series, weekly number of hours spent on gaming and weekly number of hours
spent on academic purposes.

From the data we obtained we can conclude that increased hours of computer use doesn’t
necessarily mean that a student’s CPI would decrease. As the hours of computer usage increases
hours devoted for academic purpose also increases. However it also results in increase in number
of hours spent in gaming and watching movies and TV series. On the contrary if the hours spent
on gaming and movies are way more than hours spent on academic purposes then it leads to
degradation in academic performance.

Secondly we analyzed level of computer addiction against the parameters like hours of computer
use, % of class attendance, social attitude(number of friends) and average CPI. We can conclude
that students who are addicted to computers have a higher probability to show the following
traits-

1) On an average they use computer for more number of hours


2) They generally attend lesser classes as compared to students who are not addicted. That
maybe because they prefer to stay at room and use computer
3) Their average CPI is expected to be lower as compared to students who are not addicted
to computer
4) They supposedly have smaller social circle with none or very less friends as they prefer
to spend more time on computer than socializing with people

Thirdly we analyzed student’s preference for various activities while browsing internet. We
plotted data for first preference and fifth preference and then calculated weighted average for
these sites. We can say that students prefer visiting social networking sites as compared to
educational sites and others. After studying the preferences we can say that those who are more
involved in gaming and socializing are more prone to poor academic performance. Those who
strike a good balance between academics and other activities have a higher CPI. However those
who remain involved only in studies and don’t socialize or mix-up with other students sometimes
are not able to perform very well.
From the above conclusions we can easily say that computer addiction do have negative effects
on overall development of students. So it does have an objective reality to be called as a social
problem but currently only 30% students think they are addicted to computer and very few of
them are taking steps to get rid of it. Clearly students are not aware of its harm. This issue does
have a subjective reality too as administration of IIT Kanpur recognized its potential to harm
students personality and thus took a step in this direction by declaring LAN BAN but majority of
students reject that LAN BAN hasn’t reduced their hours of computer use. So the step in itself is
insufficient. Thus computer addiction is a social problem in IIT Kanpur which must be dealt with
utmost concern and thoughtful measures should be taken in this direction rather than just by
applying LAN BAN in hurry.

REFERENCES
1. “Computers - Possible Negative Effects Of Computer Use, Possible Positive Effects Of
Computer Use, Developmentally Appropriate Uses Of Computers” Child Development
Reference - Vol2
2. Ofer Malamud Cristian Pop-Eleches  The effect of home computer use on children’s
outcomes

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