Study Finds No Link Between Social-Networking Sites and Academic Performance

Spend as much time on Facebook as you want—it won’t affect your GPA, a new study says.

Researchers at Northwestern University found no connection between time spent on social-networking sites and academic performance. The study, the results of which appear in the latest issue of Information, Communication & Society, included responses from approximately 1,000 first-year students at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Sites such as Facebook and MySpace had no effect on grades, despite how often students used them or how many they used.

Eszter Hargittai, associate professor of communication studies and sociology at Northwestern, suggests that the benefits of social-networking sites may cancel out the distractions they pose.

“You could go on there and waste your time,” she said. “On the other hand, you can connect with your classmates, get information about homework assignments, get to know people better, and feel more comfortable engaging with them on academic matters.”

A past study at Ohio State University suggested that students on Facebook earn lower GPA’s than nonusers. However, the scholar who did that research later said that she lacked enough data to determine whether that conclusion was true.

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