If you’re worried about the hours your teen spends updating their Facebook page and checking out their friends’ statuses, you may be fretting over nothing. Two studies, one at the University of New Hampshire and the other at Northwestern University, failed to show a “robust negative relationship between grade point averages and use of Facebook.” But wait, there’s more! An Ohio State University study from last year found the opposite, with students who used Facebook several times a day had a GPA a full letter grade lower than students who did use the service. So which study is correct?
It may be that the answer is both. In internet terms, a year is a long time. Social media use “has evolved so that people dip in and dip out,” said Chuck Martin, the professor whose marketing class conducted the New Hampshire study. “They use it in short spurts. . . They may be using social media 30 seconds at a time, rather than 30 minutes at a time. . . It’s not that they’ve left life and gone online; it’s just become part of their lives, as opposed to living in a virtual world.” It sounds like things have changed in the last year and kids are better at getting their work done while still keeping in touch — and I’m not sure how this is any different from any other innovation that has come along.
I know my teenage niece — who has many hundreds of friends — is getting A’s while still being very active on Facebook. My kids aren’t old enough, yet, to be using the service, but by the time they are, I’m sure they’ll have figured out how to get their work done along with posting that they got their work done.