With High New Media Literacy, Can We Prevent Problematic Internet Use? -- A Case Study of Chinese College Students





problematic Internet use, critical prosuming, new media literacy


Problematic Internet use (PIU) can lead to dysfunction and undesired consequences, especially in adolescents and youths. Studies have shown that personal emotional characteristics and relationships with others are associated with PIU. We pursue the neglected question of whether there is a correlation between personal ability, such as new media literacy (NML), and PIU. Chinese university students’ PIU has received insufficient scholarly attention, and its relationship with NML is unclear. Therefore, we examined the correlation between PIU and NML in 462 Chinese university students. The results showed that PIU was widespread in varying degrees, and the NML score was 4.23 out of 5. Personal NML was positively correlated with PIU, especially the critical prosuming dimension. Gender influenced neither PIU nor new media literacy. Students’ residence was only positively associated with NML, not PIU. Gender and place of residence did not moderate the correlation between NML and PIU, and place of residence also did not moderate the correlation between gender and PIU. These findings provide insight into the relationship between humans and the Internet and have practical implications regarding preventive interventions for emerging adults.

Author Biographies

Sisi Long, Jinan University

Lecturer, School of Journalism and Communication, Jinan University, with research interests in media literacy and public communication.

Ting Zhu, Jinan University

Master of School of Journalism and Communication, Jinan University

Xizi Chen, Jinan University

Xizi Chen (Corresponding Author) is a lecturer in the School of Journalism and Communication at Jinan University, Guangzhou, China. She is a visiting scholar at the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California (2021-2022). Her research interests center on International Sinology, comic cultures, anime, arcade games, and short-video platforms and industries, as well as the construction of China’s image in pop culture.


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