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Comunicar Journal 68: Networks, social movements and their myths in a hyperconnected world (Vol. 29 - 2021)

The effects of children’s Internet use: A Chinese longitudinal study


Lin Ye

Xiaolin Xia

Peiye Jiang

Ting Jiang

Yangyang Liu


In this study, we investigate the mediating effects of children’s Internet use on the relationship between family socioeconomic status and their academic achievement, and whether the mediating effects vary across different academic subjects. We used the data from the China Family Panel Studies on the socioeconomic status of children's families, children’s Internet use, and their academic performance. In the 2014 sample, there were 2,686 participants (females=1,272). In 2016, there were 2,330 participants (females=1,069), and in 2018, there were 2,485 participants (females=1,151). The socioeconomic status and the Internet use were measured by a questionnaire. Standardized tests measured the academic performance. Our findings showed that family socioeconomic status was positively related to math performance, but not significantly related to Chinese performance. The results also indicated that Internet use did not significantly mediate the relationship between family socioeconomic status in 2014 and math performance in 2016, while the frequency of Internet use to study in 2016 partly mediated the relationship between family socioeconomic status in 2016 and math performance in 2018. Our findings suggest that Internet use can only mediate the relationship between family socioeconomic status and math performance and the mediating effects become stronger over time.


Socioeconomic status, Internet, academic achievement, children, math, language

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