A new study has revealed that the negative relationship between Facebook use and kids? bad grades has little to do with Facebook.
Researcher Reynol Junco of Iowa State University found that while freshman struggle to balance their use, social media is less of a problem for upper classmen and the difference relates to self-regulation.
The study found that for freshmen, all Facebook use had a negative impact on their grades, for sophomores and juniors, only time spent using Facebook while doing schoolwork hurt their GPA and for seniors, there was no relationship between the two.
It would be easy to conclude that simply spending less time on Facebook would improve a student's GPA, but Junco cautions against rushing to that conclusion. Certain tasks on Facebook, such as sharing links and checking in with friends, were positively linked to GPA and in previous research, Junco found that tasks, such as creating or RSVP'ing to an event, were positively linked to student engagement.
Junco said that it's not just the way students are accessing the site, but the way in which they're using the site that has an effect on academic outcomes. Students use social media to make friends and create the support network they need and if they're committed to their social circles, then they're also committed to their institution, and that's a major part of academic success.
Junco added that the negative relationship between Facebook use and GPA is reflective of a broader issue, one that all students must confront when they go to college, that is, self-regulation and in that regard, Facebook use is no different than any other distraction for students.
The study is published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.