How much time do you spend on the Internet every day? An hour? Less? If so, great for you! For the rest of us Internet addicts, there’s a little bit of bad news: The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, or more briefly the Monbusho or MEXT, and the National Institute for Educational Policy, or NIER, have released their results of a study into the impact of Internet use on scholastic performance. The results were not particularly surprising, unfortunately.

If you’re thinking all your hours spent looking at doge memes (“Wow! Such tests! Much knowledge! So smarts!”) and pictures of Taiwanese McDonald’s employees were hurting your grades, well, unfortunately, there’s a very good chance that you’re right!

On December 25, MEXT and pals released the results of their “Study of National Scholastic Ability and the State of Studying,” which included a few sections comparing the Internet usage habits of students and their test score results.

The students were given tests covering both mathematics and Japanese language skills (including kanji reading ability, grammar, and knowledge of kotowaza, or proverbs, among other topics), separated into two types of tests: A and B. A-type tests were designed to ascertain students’ knowledge of the subject while B tests were meant to look at students’ practical use of the subject. As you might expect, scores on the A tests were generally higher than those of the B tests.


The study also looked at students’ study habits and instruction at school, including questions about Internet usage. The Yomiuri Shimbun presented one interesting set of results from the study: It seems that Internet usage correlates to lower grades. Sixth grade students who used the Internet for four or more hours a day got an average of 68 percent on the Math A test. Students who used it between three and four hours had an average of 70 percent, students who used it for two to three hours had an average of 73 percent, students spending one to two hours online per day ended up with an average of 76.4 percent, and students who used the net less than an hour a day got an average of 79.5 percent on the test. Interestingly, students who said that they didn’t use the Internet at all on a daily basis got, on average, a test score of 77.4 percent.

As the Monbusho pointed out, it seems that using the Internet in excess has a negative impact on students’ studies, though using it an appropriate amount can be helpful.

Unfortunately, the study only compared Internet usage in elementary students against their scores on the Math A test, so we don’t know if Internet usage might have improved their language skills. However, the study also looked at middle school students, and found similar results for Internet usage and the Japanese Language A test. Surprisingly, middle school students had significantly lower test scores for the Math A and Math B tests overall: Students who used the Internet less than an hour a day had an average of 68.6 percent on the Math A test and 47.3 percent on the Math B test.


The study also looked at video game usage and found similar results for sixth graders on the Math A test.

Those playing video games four or more hours a day got an average of 67.8 percent on the test. Those playing between three and four hours a day had an average of 71.8 percent, those who gamed two to three hours a day earned an average of 74.9 percent, students playing one to two hours a day had an average of 78.1 percent, and kids playing less than an hour a day got an average of 79.9 percent on the test. Students who didn’t play any video games on a daily basis got an average of 80.0 percent on the test. So, we guess a bit of gaming won’t help your grades at all–but it won’t hurt them much either.


This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to any of us who’ve spent a whole night gaming only to realize, as the sun rose, that there was a test that day. Still, who cares about one bombed test after a night fragging your friends!?

In the end, we suppose the moral of the story is: If you want to get good grades, you need to stop screwing around and spend more times studying.

That’s a horrible moral, isn’t it?

Sources: Yomiuri Shimbun, NIER
Images: Wikipedia (1, 2, 3, 4)