VICTORIA (CUP) ? It takes little more than a glance at the computer screens on any campus to see that Facebook is a frequent distraction for students, both out of class and in.
And while it may seem like a harmless pastime, a recent study by Ohio State University education doctoral student Aryn Karpinski found that students who use Facebook spend less time studying and have lower grade point averages than those who avoid the social networking website.
Chelsea Rushton, a 22-year-old writing student at the University of Victoria, ended a year-long hiatus from Facebook last March. She says her membership on the site made no difference to her study habits.
?I need a certain amount of nothing time between working to rest my brain,? Rushton said. ?Even without Facebook, I’m still on the Internet, surfing blogs, photo sites, or whatever.?
Three-quarters of the Facebook users in Karpinski’s sample also claimed their use of the site didn’t interfere with their studies, though her research showed otherwise. But this doesn’t guarantee a causal relationship.
?We can’t say that use of Facebook leads to lower grades and less studying?but we did find a relationship there,? Karpinski said in a media release. ?There may be other factors involved, such as personality traits, that link Facebook use and lower grades.?
Typically, Facebook users in her study had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0. And users said they averaged one to five hours a week studying, while non-users studied 11 to 15 hours per week.
Additionally, she found that students who spent more time working at paid jobs were less likely to use Facebook, while students who were more involved in extracurricular activities at school were more likely to use Facebook.
For Rushton, her use of Facebook is best correlated with her general happiness.
?I feel way better as a person when I’m not part of the site,? she said. ?It’s so much drama. That’s why people love it. But It’s obscuring our reality.?
While she says she would communicate with people less when she wasn’t a member, she didn’t think it was a bad thing.
?I did a lot more projects?not school work, but just other useful things,? she said. ?Anybody who wanted to contact me could still contact me; it wasn’t much of an inconvenience that way.?
The reason she went back?
?I needed to find someone, and it was the easiest way. So, I’m back in that world again.?