Facebook Users Score Lower Grades, Study Suggests

Dennis Faas's picture

How much of your time does Facebook consume?

According to a recent study, most college students that use Facebook also admitted to lower grade point averages than those who said they did not have an account on the popular social networking site.

It's pretty obvious that most 9-to-5 employers feel Facebook wastes time, decreases productivity, and generally hurts the work ethic of employees. Thus, it's not particularly surprising that this recent Ohio State University study found that of those student participants who used Facebook, grade-point averages (GPA) hovered around 3.0 to 3.5 -- significantly lower than the group who said they didn't touch the time-consuming gossip gallery, ranking between 3.5 and an impressive 4.0 GPA.

Five Hours per Week Studying -- the Rest on Facebook?

A total of 219 students took part in the study, which was recently presented at a major conference on the topic. Although neither the experiment nor its presentation can definitively link Facebook to poor grades, it certainly is highly suggestive.

Those who used Facebook admitted they studied only about five hours per week, or roughly one hour per class for most undergraduates. On the other hand, non-users insisted they spent about 11 hours, more than double the time, on their homework.

The problem is, it's difficult to determine if Facebook users are quasi-determined in their school work prior to signing up for an account, or as a result of all their time online. The graduate students who compiled the research, including Aryn Karpinski and Adam Duberstein, say they can't draw specific conclusions from their study.

"It cannot be stated... Facebook use causes a student to study less," they admitted. However, Karpinski went on to say that, "they're related somehow, and we need to look into it further." (Source: usatoday.com)

Does Facebook Help or Hinder Academic Work?

79 per cent of users in the study say that Facebook doesn't have an impact on their grades, and some even suggest that Facebook can help by getting students to communicate with one another quickly and easily. (Source: computerworld.com)

From personal experience, most of graduate students I know admit that Facebook is a time-consuming problem. The more serious doctoral students have told me they've discontinued their accounts entirely in order to make progress on their dissertations, while others make sure to avoid logging in while working on an important assignment.

But, are Facebook users bad students to begin with or does the site prevent students from greater academic achievements? Seems like it might just be a case of 'a little from column A, a little from column B.'

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