By Meenu Johnkutty ‘21
While logging onto Facebook during a study session might be one of your guilty pleasures, new research has shown that the link between social media use and academic performance may be more complicated than what comes to mind. Studies conducted on the relationship between academic performance and social media use often report contradictory results, with some stating that social media use is positive and others deeming it distracting.
Researchers led by Dr. Markus Appel from the Julius Maximilians University in Bavaria, Germany, conducted meta analyses on 59 studies that looked into the link between social media use and academic performance. They then drew conclusions based on the results of these studies.
The researchers’ first conclusion was that those students who used social media to communicate about school-related topics reported higher academic performance; this result was expected. Secondly, the researchers found that many studies had found that students who used Instagram and other forms of social media while doing homework or studying did slightly worse in their academics than students who did not. Further analysis showed that many studies suggested that students whose use of social media can be categorized as “intense” (i.e. posting photos, commenting) reported slightly lower grades. Lastly, the researchers discovered that those students who did use social media did not spend less time studying and did not report poorer grades.
The four conclusions that the researchers compiled from current studies allowed them to conclude that using social media does not significantly affect academic performance. Nonetheless, the researchers did advise that parents consistently monitor their children’s social media use and advocated an open-minded perspective that would facilitate open communication between parents and their children.
- C. Marker, et. al., Active on Facebook and failing at school? Meta-analytic findings on the relationship between online social networking activities and academic achievement. Springer Link 30, 1-27 (2017). doi: 10.1007/s10648-017-9430-6.
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