THE I-SLACKER GENERATION; Students' Internet 'Research' Pure Fun

Article excerpt

Byline: BRENDAN HUGHES

STUDENTS will insist that having access to the internet is vital for research and study at university.

If you don't have a laptop under your arm with an easy-access internet connection, you will fail your degree - or so the story goes.

But new figures suggest our scholars are spending most of their online time chatting on Facebook and watching videos on YouTube.

Internet studying and research tools such as academic journals fail to feature in the top 10 most viewed websites on campus.

Social networking site Facebook is the most popular internet destination for university web surfers.

Streaming radio stations over the internet came in second, pushing search giant Google into third place.

The most used online study tool was encyclopedia Wikipedia in 11th place - a site that is notorious for its inaccuracies.

The internet usage figures come from a freedom of information request to Swansea University.

All other Welsh universities were unable to collect the same data when asked by the Wales on Sunday.

The data therefore gives a unique indication of how students are spending their time while using the internet.

Professor Duncan Bloy, a lecturer at Cardiff University's Journalism School, says the impact of 21st century technologies on campus life is all too visible. …