Study Shows Facebook Users Have Lower GPAs

Using Facebook may not be the best thing for students according to a survey of college students. It seems that those on Facebook tend to have lower grades than those not on the social network.
The survey asked 219 Ohio State students only about Facebook leaving out other social networking sites. The study was comprised of 102 undergraduates and 117 graduates during the summer and fall quarters of 2008. There were 148 Facebook accounts among those in the study.

While the study can not link the use of the social network to dumbing down students it does question how students on the site use their non-classroom time.

Live Science reports:

“I’m just saying that there’s some kind of relationship there, and there’s many third variables that need to be studied,” said Aryn Karpinski, an education researcher at Ohio State University.

Aryn Karpinski, a doctoral student at Ohio State does not use Facebook herself.

The study found that those on Facebook had GPAs in the 3.0 to 3.5 range on average compared to 3.5 to 4.0 averages of non-users. Facebook users tended to study less than the other students by six to ten hours. And who uses Facebook the most in university? More science, technology, engineering, math and business majors are updating their profiles than those in the social sciences and the humanities.

The study showed that those who worked at jobs tended to be on Facebook less than those involved in other extracurricular activities.

Computer World reports:

“There may be other factors involved, such as personality traits, that link Facebook use and lower grades,” she added. “It may be that if it wasn’t for Facebook, some students would still find other ways to avoid studying and would still get lower grades. But perhaps the lower GPAs could actually be because students are spending too much time socializing online.”

More undergrads (85 percent) are on the social network than grad students (52 percent).

Karpinski was bemused that students rose to defend their online activities. She took pains to make sure that the survey did not have a positive nor a negative bias. While Karpinski says her research was not biased she was not surprised at the results. She is quoted by Time.com:

“Maybe [Facebook users] are just prone to distraction. Maybe they are just procrastinators,” Karpinski told TIME.com in a phone interview on Monday.

The research will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association on April 16.

The Canadian Press reports:

Katherine Giroux-Bougard, national chair of the Canadian Federation of Students, said the site has been a great tool in promoting activities on campus, and helps keep students engaged with issues they wouldn’t necessarily hear about elsewhere.

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