Grades go down as time on Facebook goes up

April 14, 2009 at 10:21 pm 1 comment

Kids: Hit the school books, and get off Facebook.

Aryn Karpinski is a doctoral candidate at Ohio State University and her research on the relationship between academic achievement and social networking websites is garnering lots of headlines. TechNews World summarizes some of the main findings of Karpinski’s paper, “A Description of Facebook Use and Academic Performance Among Undergraduate and Graduate Students“:

  • Facebook users in Karpinski’s study average grade point averages of 3.0-3.5. Non-Facebook users: 3.5.-4.0.
  • Facebook users averaged 1-5 hours a week studying; non-users, 11-15 hours per week.
  • Seventy-nine percent of those who said they used the social networking site said it did not impact their grades or study habits.
  • Eighty-five percent of undergrads in the survey said they had a Facebook page; 52 percent of the graduate students had accounts.
  • The group most likely to use Facebook: Those majoring in science, technology, math, engineering and business.

With any kind of statistical survey that finds its way in the popular press, it is important to remember that correlation does not imply causation.

Kudos to Aryn for her work! (I love seeing graduate students make a name for themselves with their research.)

play, think…
J.R. Atwood


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Sherman Quan  |  April 14, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    This study has definitely captured the attention of many people. However, I’m curious where the money to conduct this study came from and whether it could have been used to actually make a difference on this topic? I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist (or PhD student in this case) to make the correlation that those who are more “social” and so use tools like Facebook or MySpace get lower grades than those who are not as social and spend the majority of their time studying. In my opinion, this research could have made an impact by perhaps looking at how we could utilize tools such as Facebook to make learning more interactive and actually improve student grades. But I guess that may not have been as interesting a story…

    This is a common problem at many Universities where research answers a defined question but the research doesn’t actually improve anything. Going a step further, does the research lead to work that will create jobs for people during this time of economic downturn?

    Okay, we used surveys to determine we MIGHT have a relationship between Facebook use and lower grades. Now what?


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Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

Play is the beginning of knowledge.

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