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Logo for Re-Connect: Developing Healthy Internet Use Behaviours

The Re-Connect project is concerned with supporting students in developing awareness of their internet use and its affects. This project was developed in response to research conducted within MTU which linked reduced wellbeing and academic performance to the difficulties caused by problematic internet use.

Current Project News


Re-Connect workshops for students are currently being rolled out by our first group of trainers from the departments of:

  • Computer Science
  • Accounting and Information Systems
  • Management and Enterprise
  • Marketing and International Business
  • Organisation and Professional
  • Sport Leisure and Childhood Study

To date, the workshop has received excellent feedback from both staff and students alike with feedback from staff almost identical to that from students. Staff reported enjoying ‘The interaction within the group.’, ‘Excellent and engaging facilitation’ as well as ‘engaging with my peers and connecting about shared concerns’.

Both workshops give participants an opportunity to reflect on and discuss their internet use with their peers. The discussion is always part of the magic of the workshop.


Why not become a Re-Connect trainer?

Register now for the next Re-Connect Train-the Trainer Workshop which is taking place from 11:00-13:00 on Monday, 9th January 2023!

What is the aim of this project?

The goal of this project is to support students to develop healthy internet use behaviours so having benchmarked their behaviour on the perceived norm, this project aims to introduce students to a new norm based on healthy internet usage.

Why is this project important?

In 769 responses to psychometric tests in an MTU student survey 

  • 50% of students rate themselves as smartphone addicted,
  • 16% of students rate themselves as social media addicted,
  • 55% of students rate loneliness as a problem while 100% say they are struggling (research has shown loneliness/lack of connection is linked to problematic internet use)

Internet use is central to education however excessive use of the internet for distraction can be problematic and negatively affect student’s academic performance and wellbeing.

Research on Wi-Fi internet behaviour in MTU over an academic year has identified that the users behaviour can be classified as focused distraction activity, e.g, there is four times more activity on social media than education. Problematic internet use has negative effects on student academic performance and wellbeing. In an MTU staff member’s PhD, novel research assessed student’s actual internet behaviour, students’ own assessment of their behaviour and students’ feelings about their internet behaviour. The findings highlight student concern about the effect of their internet use.

How will this project be delivered?

Workshops will be developed to raise awareness by highlighting the current pattern of student behaviour, the benefits of healthy internet use and the risks to wellbeing and academic performance of problematic internet use. This training will incorporate proven behavioural change techniques from cyberpsychology research, BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits programme, reflective activity from Gibbs and other models.

The design team for the workshops will include psychologists who research in cyberpsychology, students and established and experienced coaches from within MTU.

The workshops will:

  • Enlighten: – Use novel techniques such as video interviews with peers to highlight current internet behaviour and the potential effects of the behaviours; both positive and negative. A mirror of students’ internet behaviour presented to them in a new light will offer a new perspective.
  • Influence: – Create a discussion and time for reflection, on students’ own internet behaviour? How does it affect them? Would they like to change their behaviours? In what way?
  • Inculcate: – Develop an action plan, consider potential new behaviours, coach on alternatives. Healthy internet use is time spent on using the internet with a purpose, introduce practises to support healthy internet use.

What were the main project outputs?

Two Re-Connect workshops have been developed:

  • One for students
  • One to ‘train the trainer’

These workshops were developed to align with the government strategy for healthy campuses.

Who are the project team?

Oonagh O'Brien 

Oonagh O’Brien


Computer Science

MTU Cork Campuses

Email: oonagh.obrien@mtu.ie



 Catherine Murphy

Catherine Murphy

Senior Lecturer & Placement Manager Accounting & Information Systems

MTU Cork Campuses        

Email: catherine.murphy@mtu.ie

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