Recent studies show, conducted by the Ohio State University, that while Facebook does create bond, cement friendship, and foster a sense of community, wherein peers can easily comment or react to a post with just a click of a button, or that thumbs-up like sign, college students who use Facebook are the ones who’s more likely spending more time online to see what’s up or new in their friends’ walls, rather than actually studying.
Although there had been claims from the students that the social networking site doesn’t interfere with their getting good grades, the study insists that there’s a certain disconnect with such suppositions despite the study’s finding that they had lower grades and spent less time studying.
The typical Facebook users had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0, meaning that users spend one to five hours studying, compared to the hours spent by non-users which average to about 11 to 15 hours per week. This, the conductors of the study observed, was both interesting and alarming.
But while the study doesn’t necessarily suggest that the use of Facebook does lead to lower grades, it has been proven time and time again that it is a great source of distraction, especially in classes where faculty members allow their students to bring laptops. Teachers say that the extent of a student’s Facebook use can be a determinant of how well or how bad a student’s standing in class is, that is, that lower GPAs could actually be because students are spending too much time socializing online.
But Facebook’s popularity, said the researchers, isn’t going away anytime soon. This is because it provides instant access to connect, to share. But this assertion is null and void, argues the researches in Ohio State, since their studies indicate that younger and full-time students were more likely to use Facebook users, the ones with more free time in their hands.
Science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and business majors, they also found out were more likely to use facebook than were students majoring in the humanities and social sciences, and this is because STEM majors spend more time on the Internet than other regular students so they are most likely to use Facebook. Consequently, there were no differences in Facebook use between different members of racial and ethnic groups that were part of the study or between men and women.
In general, the findings showed that 79 percent of Facebook users claimed that it did not have an adverse effect on their academic performance. The survey maintained its fluidity, that academics were a priority to them, and that they do not really use Facebook frequently enough to notice any long-term impact on their grades.
But what was more amazing in their findings was that there was a significant link between lower grades and Facebook use even in graduate students. The researchers said that graduate students generally have GPAs above 3.5, so the fact that even they had lower grades when they used Facebook, and spent less time studying, could be an important ground in the research to finally prove that Facebook use and low grades are ultimately interrelated.