The Effect of Social Networking on Academic Achievement

The Effect of Social Networking on Academic Achievement

“Time spent on OSN [online social networking] is shown to negatively impact academic performance” (2122).

Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. The amount of time that students spend social networking has become a concern for parents, teachers, and even for students themselves. In their paper, “Effect of online social networking on student academic performance,” Jomon Aliyas Paul et al. explain that, in particular, students’ time spent on online social networking (OSN) both in and out of the classroom negatively effects their academic performance. The authors begin their paper with a walk through a typical undergraduate classroom, where at least half of the students have laptops out and most of the students have smart phones by their side. While these students claim to be taking notes, one could observe that they are often online, and are very often on Facebook. The authors explain that this kind of behavior is not only distracting for the offenders—noting that they tend to ask more questions about things the professor has covered earlier—but it is also distracting to other students in class. The readers are asked to think about several questions, namely whether technology should be allowed in classrooms if it is not an essential part of the lesson (2117).

The authors note from other studies that academic performance is a result of attention span (referred to as attention deficit in the paper), time management skills, student characteristics (age, gender, marital status, work requirements), academic competence, and time spent on OSN (2118). In order to better understand the components of OSN that impact academic performance, the authors include three variables in the OSN category of their study: students’ attitudes toward using OSN, behavioral control over using OSN, and components such as peer pressure, social expectations, etc. To achieve the most accurate results, the authors use structural equation modeling to model the relationships between sets of variables (2118).

The Findings:

“As time spent on social networking site increases, the academic performance of the students is seen to deteriorate” (2122).

  • The lower a student’s attention span, the more time spent on OSN  (2123)
  • Academic competence is negatively correlated with decreased attention span (2123)
  • Academic competence is positively correlated with time management and student characteristics (age, gender, marital status, number of children, etc.), both having a positive effect on academic performance
  • Students surveyed (340) do not believe that online social networking is a good study tool and do not plan to use OSN as a study tool (2123)
  • Students surveyed tend not to believe that OSN will help their academic performance (2123)

“Students place a higher value on the technologies their instructors use effectively in the classroom” (2124).

For the authors, the goal is to help inform students about the detrimental effects that online social networking can have on their academic performance and also to help inform instructors who are contemplating using OSN as part of their curricula. To answer the question of whether teaching faculty should implement OSN into their lesson planning, the authors reply:

“Given the lack of credible evidence that students are willing to use OSN for academic purposes and the existence of credible evidence that increasing amount of time spent on OSN negatively effects academic performance, faculty attempts to include OSN are rationally unfounded” (2124).

Paper Title: “Effect of online social networking on student academic performance”

Authors:  Jomon Aliyas Paul, Hope M. Baker, and Justin Daniel Cochran

Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA 30144, United States

Full Paper

Published: Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 28, Issue 6, November 2012, Pages 2117-2127