CONTEMPORARY EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY
e-ISSN: 1309-517X
Impacts of digital connectivity on Thailand’s Generation Z undergraduates’ social skills and emotional intelligence

Narinthon Imjai 1, Somnuk Aujirapongpan 2 * , Jaturon Jutidharabongse 1, Berto Usman 3

CONT ED TECHNOLOGY, Volume 16, Issue 1, Article No: ep487

https://doi.org/10.30935/cedtech/14043

Submitted: 06 September 2023, Published Online: 01 January 2024

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Abstract

Notwithstanding the pervasive utilization of digital technology in social and educational realms, an in-depth understanding and exploration of the interrelationships amongst digital connectivity, social skills, and emotional intelligence, particularly within Generation Z demographic–known for their heavy reliance on digital platforms–remains elusive. This study endeavors to address this gap. Applying structural equation modeling, it examined the interrelationships between digital connectivity, social skills, and emotional intelligence, surveying a sample of 518 Generation Z students (comprising 77.61% females, 20.64% males, and 1.74% non-binary) across various academic years and disciplines at a university located in Southern Thailand. PLS-SEM software was employed to evaluate the structural model and substantiate the research hypotheses. Our findings suggest that digital connectivity did not detrimentally impact social skills. However, it negatively influenced emotional intelligence among Generation Z students, observable both at the operational level and in terms of fostering the capacity to regulate one’s own and others’ emotional states. Despite this, social skills proved to significantly enhance emotional intelligence. The same consistent pattern of a positive and significant influence is observed when testing the indirect effect of digital connectivity on emotional intelligence through social skills. Furthermore, it was found that robust and effective digital connectivity could potentially bolster understanding and management of emotions in the digital age, much like well-developed social skills. Hence, this study provides substantial insights into the nuanced impacts of digital connectivity on the social and emotional development of Generation Z students.

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