Internet usage of Korean and American students: A uses and gratifications approach

Inkon Park


The uses and gratifications approach is a traditional research perspective that looks at how individuals use particular media segments/contents to meet their social and psychological needs. The present study examined gratifications sought via the Internet by Korean and American university students in the United States. The use of this new communication technology as compared to traditional media usage was also examined. An E-mail survey was conducted and collected from 377 Korean and American university students. Factor analysis revealed seven measurements of gratifications dimensions for American students: social communication, information-surveillance, pastime-escape, download entertainment, personal communication, research, and transaction. For Korean students, six measurements of gratifications dimensions were found: pastime-escape, download entertainment, information seeking, social and personal communication, surveillance, and research. Independent-samples t tests indicated that the use of the Internet gratification dimensions vary across specific demographics. Data results also showed that the Internet is perceived as having advantages over traditional media, and the technology is considered a replacement, not a complement stage. College students' Internet dependency was also examined with gratifications dimensions. It was examined to see how Internet dependent and non-dependent groups were associated with gratifications-sought and their effect on Internet use. How the Korean and American groups show the differences between Internet dependents and non-dependents was also studied. The results showed that more dependent students use the Internet as a ritualistic tool, rather than an instrumental one.