It’s good for you. No, it’s bad for you. It’s great! No, it’s awful.
It seems like every week there’s a new study about whether or not the sky is falling because of Facebook and other Web sites of its ilk. Now the University of New Hampshire offers new research that falls squarely in the sky-is-not-falling category, at least not when it comes to the impact of social media on students’ grades.
A survey of 1,127 University of New Hampshire students pursuing various majors found no link between how much time they spend Facebooking, tweeting, and YouTubing and how well they do in college.
The breakdown: 63 percent of heavy social-media users got high grades, compared with 65 percent of light users. The findings held up for academic slouches, too. Thirty-seven percent of heavy users got lower grades, compared with 35 percent of light users.
The university’s message: “Parents worried that their college students are spending too much time on Facebook and other social-networking sites and not enough time hitting the books can breathe a sigh of relief.”
In April, a researcher at Ohio State University found that students who use Facebook reported earning lower grade-point averages than nonusers of the social-networking service. Then again, the researcher said in an interview with The Chronicle that she didn’t have enough data to determine whether Facebook use causes students to do poorly.
What research can prove is that when those students get married there’s a good chance Facebook might help cause their divorce. At least that’s the story until next month, when someone else is bound to tell us how Facebook is saving relationships.
Oh wait, someone already did.