Study finds Facebook a detriment to student GPAs

In Campus News, News

Facebook is a common social distraction for many college students.

According to a 2010 study by psychologist Paul A. Kirschnera, the students who are on Facebook while studying or doing homework get 20 percent lower grades than the non-users of Facebook. The GPAs of the Facebook users were an average of 3.06, compared to 3.82 for non-users of Facebook. Kirschnera said there is kind of a relationship between Facebook use and academic performance.

Inside Facebook reports that the 18 to 25 age group comprises 28.1 million Facebook users as of January 2010. It is the largest demographic group within America.

“I check my Facebook page multiple times a day because my Blackberry has the Facebook app,” said Pricilla Dang, a junior business major.

Dang studies five to 10 hours a week, but she admits that Facebook interrupts her when she is trying to concentrate.

“Even though I am not on Facebook 24/7, to a certain extent, I’m always connected to it,” Dang said.

Dang does not think Facebook is the main cause for poor academic performance because there are many other factors that lead to a bad grade. However, she believes it does play a role, as some people use Facebook as an escape from study.

“I used to have Myspace, but I just got tired of it, like upload or comment and everything. I have never tried Facebook,” said Ayris Mauricio, a sophomore biochemistry major.

Mauricio said saving time for studying is one of the reasons why she does not engage in any social networking services.

“I am busy for school and also outside of school. I am trying to concentrate on studying my major, and I am fine without Facebook,” Mauricio said.

Mauricio said Facebook might lessen the ability to study, but lower grades are not necessarily caused by the use of Facebook or other kinds of social networking services.

“I don’t have Facebook, but I get caught up in watching TV, and it’s the same thing with someone spending time (on) their Facebook,” Mauricio said.

Barbara Laguna, a professor of computer science who teaches a computer impact course, warns that Internet and the social networking services can be addictive.

“It’s just like when gamers get on the computer and do network gaming, they can spend days on the computer,” said Laguna. “The same thing happens for the social-networking people. Some people have an addictive type of personality where they end up spending more and more time online.”

According to Laguna, some Internet users can get in and get out from the Internet within 10 to 15 minutes, but others are likely to lose their sense of time and three or four hours can go by fast.

“Many students take their notes on their laptops and many bring their Internet connections,” Laguna said. “They are doing everything but listening. They are doing all the social networking in class that when the first test comes back, they have a very low grade and they’re shocked by it.”

Laguna said some of the professors think they should close down the Internet during class time.  Even though students attend class, if they are on Facebook or instant messaging with their friends, they do not know what has been discussed in class.

“You can’t say if you do Facebook, you are going to get a B or you are going to get an A if you don’t,” Laguna said. “There might be a relation between Facebook use and academic performance, but I don’t think it’s that strong. I think students’ motivation has more to do with their academic performance.”

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  • Josh

    I checked my Facebook 4 or 9 times before I finished reading this article. Then I checked it again another time while I was writing this comment.

  • Jennifer

    It has to do with the type of person the student is. If the student is very focused on having a social life, he/she will seek out social settings (aside from just facebook) that will take time away from studying. The type who have set their minds on getting their degree and producing quality work for class will shy away from excessive socialization if they feel it will impede their success.

    So yes, maybe there is a correlation– but it has to do with the type of person who is making the decision to devote a lot of time to facebook versus studying. The result of the study shows a correlation, not a causation. There may be a causal relationship at work if you dig deeper and study the personalities and motivations of the people used in the study.

  • John

    I dropped Facebook…too many privacy implications, it’s scary what they do with your personal data.

    E-Mail, IM, and (occasionally) Twitter are all I use.

  • Sarah

    Great article! I’m not so sure that Facebook is to blame for lower grades. If there was no Facebook, students would find other ways to distract themselves from studying.

  • GPA Calculator

    If there was no Facebook, students would find other ways to distract themselves from studying.

  • GPA Calculator

    students would find other ways to distract themselves from studying.

  • Tim

    Yeah I try to limit Facebook while working on homework

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