Use of social media sites linked to lower GPA

Can you picture yourself sitting in class listening intently as your professor, possibly one of the brightest minds in their chosen field, passes on their knowledge to you with all the enthusiasm in the world? Probably not, because chances are you’re too engrossed in either your own or your neighbor's computer screen.

In a matter of two or three years, social media has become the single largest distraction for both students and working adults alike.

We all fall prey to the allure of networking sites, with their incredible capacity for allowing us to keep tabs on old friends, new friends or people we would like to get to know better.

The problem is that these websites distract us from accomplishing anything productive.  If only I had a nickel for every time I heard a classmate say that they were planning on writing that essay, or studying for that test, but something popped up on their Facebook newsfeed and before they knew it, their whole evening was wasted.

Yes, social media sites can be entertaining, but they also have the potential to do great things. The problem is that most social media users don’t use networking sites for the purposes that they were created for.

Social media was picked up by various businesses with the intent to share information more easily with potential clients and customers. The trouble is that once users sign on to social media sites, more often than not the related searches and queries are not related to business.

According to blogger Jeff Bullas, Facebook users spend approximately 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. Youtube users spend an average of 2.9 billion hours per month on that site and there are an average of 190 million Tweets per day occurring on Twitter.

A study at Ohio State University found that college students who use Facebook get lower grades and spend less time studying. Aryn Karpinski, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in education at Ohio State University said that lower GPAs could actually be a result of students spending too much time socializing online.

The study found that on average, Facebook users had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0. Non-users also spent an average of 11 to 15 hours studying per week, while those who used Facebook spent one to five hours per week studying.

Ironically, more than 75 percent of Facebook users participating in the study said that social networking did not interfere with their studies.

While Karpinski acknowledges that there may be other variables at play in this scenario, she does emphasize that there is a relationship between lower grades and social media.

“There’s a disconnect between students’ claim that Facebook use doesn’t impact their studies and our finding showing they had lower grades and spent less time studying,” Karpinski said.

Researchers for this study surveyed 219 students at Ohio State University, including 102 undergraduate students and 117 graduate students.


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