Social media has several effects on academic work — some more positive than others. But what is social networking’s overall impact on college students’ performance?
According to data gathered from several sources byOnlineEducation.net, Facebook and Twitter are used to great benefit— sometimes. Students welcome online engagement and resources; around 75% of student respondents said they’d like to do some online collaboration for class, in fact.
Also, social media may have a positive impact on students’ sense of themselves in the community. Social media-using students were twice as likely as other students to feel well-liked by their peers and to participate in extracurricular activities. And 20% more of Facebook-using students (as compared to students who didn’t use Facebook) said they felt connected to their school and community.
However, negative effects abound. Students who use Facebook and hit the books simultaneously found their multitasking led to 20% lower grades than those of their more focused peers. Facebook-using students also made less money during school from part-time work, putting in around five hours per week as opposed to 16 hours per week for a typical, unplugged counterpart.
Not only do grades and finances suffer, but students might actually end up feeling more depressed or lonely. Almost half of students believe they are sadder than their friends on Facebook, and 25% of college students have shown signs of severe depression in their status updates at one time or another.
In a word, the results are inconclusive. But with around 96% of all college students on Facebook, only the most dedicated academics would consider giving up social media for a slightly better GPA.
In the comments, we’d like to know what impact social media had or has on your academic work. And if your college career pre-dates social media, how do you think college is better or worse because of Facebook?