Saturday, May 9, 2009

New study finds no relationship between amount of time spent on Facebook and grades

Last month, we reported on a study that found a correlation between the amount of time students spend on Facebook and their grades.  Although the researcher denied a causal connection, that qualifier was often lost in some of the reporting at the time.

Now comes a new study, involving a larger group of students, that finds no causal link between the two. As this new report states:

'I suspect that basic Facebook use -- what these studies measure -- simply doesn’t have generalizable consequences for grades,' said Hargittai, whose research explores the social and policy implications of the Web. The doubt cast on the use of social networking sites vis-à-vis students, the study suggests, is reminiscent of suspicions cast on earlier new media, including TV and motion pictures, and their effect on children.

'The Internet and social networking sites in particular can be used in any number of ways, some of which may be beneficial to the user and others less so. More important than whether people use these sites is what they do on them,' said Hargittai. 'Cultivating relationships, for example, can lead to positive outcomes.'

That is not to say that extraordinary Facebook use can never have deleterious effects on academic performance.

'If somebody’s spending an inordinate amount of time on Facebook at the expense of studying, his or her academic performance may suffer, just as it might from spending an excessive time on any activity,' Hargittai said. 'We need more research with more nuanced data to better understand how social networking site usage may relate to academic performance.'

Read the full story here.

I am the scholarship dude.


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