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Does Facebook Lead to Bad Grades?

Spending too much time on Facebook may help a college student's social life but it may not be so great for their grades, according to a new study presented today.

Aryn Karpinski of Ohio State University surveyed 219 Ohio State students in 2008, including 102 undergraduates and 117 graduate students. At the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association in San Diego this week, Karpinski reported that 148 of the students said they had an account with the popular social networking website. Eighty-five percent of the undergrads had accounts and 52 percent of the grad students had accounts.

Students who spent more time working at paid jobs were less likely to use Facebook, while those who were involved in extracurricular activities at school were more likely, the survey showed. So were younger and full-time students. Science, technology, engineering, math and business majors were more likely to use Facebook than students majoring in the humanities and social sciences, the survey found.

Among those with Facebook accounts, nearly 65 percent said they used their accounts one or more times a day. Eighty percent belonged to a Facebook group and nearly 86 percent used a variety of Facebook applications, such as "poking" their friends and uploading pictures.

The students themselves--surprise, surprise--did not think Facebook interfered with their studies. Seventy-nine percent of Facebook users said it did not have an impact on their academic performance.

But when the researchers questioned the students on other aspects of their life, they found that Facebook users only spent one to five hours a week studying while non-users spent at least 11 to 15 hours studying each week. Most importantly, Facebook users had grade-point averages between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0.

Now, Karpinski says that the results don't necessarily mean that Facebook use leads to lower grades. It could be that people who tend to be drawn to the site would would find other ways to avoid studying if Facebook wasn't around and their grades would suffer anyway.

But it is possible that spending too much time socializing on Facebook time is distracting them from their studies and hurting their academic performance, she says.

What about you? Do you think Facebook is getting in the way of your studies or your kids' studies?

By Rob Stein  |  April 16, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Family Health , General Health , Teens  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: What's Really Good for Your Heart?
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If you spend lots of time socializing instead of studying, period, your grades will suffer.

People will always find ways to idle away their hours; Facebook's just the latest gadget to do that with. If it wasn't there, something else would be. (My mother almost flunked out of her first semester of college because she really, really liked playing Bridge with her friends; this was in the mid-1960's.)

Posted by: | April 16, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

It kinds of calls into question all those campaign staffers who get real jobs in administrations that win elections and then complain that Facebook is blocked and that they can't "work" without it!

Imagine how much larger their winning margins might have been without Facebook.

Posted by: RedBird27 | April 16, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the investigation, the factors distracting fulfilled its mission. The ex in the use of facebook and twitter has generated ill students, state educational institutions should take the situation seriously and take on this.
Thank you
Herbal Remedies

Posted by: HerbalRemedies | April 20, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

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