Gongbang, the Virtual Study Partner

Gongbang is a new trend of study through the Internet that provides a virtual study partner so that students don't feel alone.
Gongbang, the Virtual Study Partner
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 12 March, 2023

Perhaps you’ve never heard of the Gongbang phenomenon before, but it’s gaining more and more strength in the academic world. It’s a way to feel accompanied by other students through the Internet and leave aside that loneliness that can be overwhelming in many cases. This is what Gongbang, also known as the virtual study partner, is all about.

This trend started in South Korea and is understood as “study with me”, to which we add, “wherever you are”.

Watching others while studying

This trend consists of watching other people while they’re studying. It can be through different live platforms, such as Tiktok, Twitch, Youtube, Microsoft Teams group rooms, Discord, or any other. Students do it while studying silently and making their own outlines. They usually put up a computer screen or other device that’s visible to show the remaining study time.

Many young people, who also study from home, can see each other at home and, in a way, feel accompanied. Some may leave comments or questions that the live student answers during breaks or at the end of the study. However, most often, there are no interactions with the people watching.

There are live programs that can last up to 10 hours, because it’s not cut even if the student takes some time to eat or rest. Although, lately, it’s more common to see a countdown to keep things from going so long. Therefore, virtual classmates can see the remaining time and are motivated also to follow that predetermined study time.

A student looking at laptop screen while studying.
Gongbang arose when students had to isolate themselves or reduce social contact due to the pandemic suffered as a result of Covid-19. This confinement created anxiety, fear, and insecurity, and libraries weren’t available.

What does Gongbang offer students

You may think that the Gongbang doesn’t offer anything to students and that it’s actually a problem rather than a motivation. For example, libraries are full of young people who study alone but feel that they’re accompanied by others. However, with the Gongbang, even if you don’t know the other person, you can feel even closer to them than when you’re in a library.

Because of all this, and even though students are once again able to study together physically with other people, having a virtual study partner can have many benefits for students. Some of these are the following:

  • Feeling accompanied during study time
  • Getting to know other people more easily, even if it’s online
  • Reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Learn from others and improve the way they study
  • Decrease insecurity toward learning
  • Increase motivation
  • Improve willpower

What are the negative aspects of having a virtual study partner?

There’s nothing negative about following this trend when it comes to studying, as long as the children never leave aside their other activities. In other words, as long as they continue with their usual life and, above all, they don’t compare themselves with other people in terms of achieving goals. It’s essential that they understand that everyone has their own pace and that what matters is improving oneself, not others.

A student in a library, studying with a virtual study partner.
For those who are more introverted, Gongbang is a good way to study and feel accompanied. 

Is it a good idea for your children?

If Gongbang is a good idea for your children, it will depend on the circumstances, how the children are, and whether it can be a distraction or a help. Normally, for those who are more introverted, it can be a good way for them to feel accompanied, but not invaded. For example, they can record themselves and have others accompany them, or they can be the observers.

Either way, the fact that other people are doing the same thing at the same moment can make them feel that they too can overcome the laziness that sometimes appears. Students’ minds sometimes wander or think that other young people are having fun while they have to read or do exercises.

This way, children will be able to see that there are more people studying just like them. Gongbang, the virtual study buddy, can be a good idea, but only if the circumstances are right.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Varios autores (2016) Ayuda a tus hijos con las técnicas de estudio (Aprendizaje y desarrollo) Editorial: DK

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.