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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Social media distracts

Could you give up Facebook for a week?

“”Yeah, I probably should actually,”” said Casey McCormick, an elementary education junior, laughing. “”It’s distracting with school and stuff, especially being a junior and getting into my major, it’s a lot more work.””

Hwan Cho, a pre-business sophomore, was not so quick to agree.

“”No, probably not, to tell you the truth. It’s a pretty big part of my life right now and it keeps me up to date with everything I need to know,”” he said.

The saturation of Facebook on campuses prompted Eric Darr, provost of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania, to place a blackout on social media last month. Students and faculty could not access Facebook, Twitter or instant messaging on campus for a week.

Fast Company magazine reported Sept. 27 that, according to Darr about 68 percent of students found the experience positive and enlightening, while the remaining responses were negative. The university found that 15 percent of students were using some form of social media between 11 and 20 hours a day.

When do these users find time to study? They often don’t. A 2009 study conducted at Ohio State University found that Facebook users spent less time studying than non-users, one to five hours per week compared to 11 to 15 hours per week.

This had an effect on their grades: study participants who used Facebook had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5. Non-users had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0.

Other studies find generally positive effects of Facebook use. Wired blog Epicenter reported Aug. 18 that a study recently published in the Journal of College Student Retention found that freshmen who were active Facebook users were more likely to continue with college than non-users. The study was conducted at Abilene Christian University.

It concluded that instead of replacing their social lives, Facebook was a reflection of them.

The study’s conclusion mirrors how McCormick and Cho have used Facebook for non-social purposes.

“”For my sorority actually, we’re having a benefit concert and I’m one of the chairs in charge of it,”” McCormick said. “”So people like sponsorships have contacted me about that through Facebook because they may not have my email or something. They’ll find me and contact me through that, so that’s helpful.””

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