The study triggered frightening headlines such as, "Study finds
Facebook goofing hurts grades," "Study says Facebook can impact
studies" and "Research finds the website is damaging students'
College students who have defriended Facebook after news broke of a link between the social-network site and lower grades, or younger users whose parents have made them, can rest easy.
Facebook may well distract and delay but there is far from enough numerical evidence to support that claim, notwithstanding hundreds of international headlines to the contrary. This isn't the first time technology has been buried or praised too quickly. A 2005 test of a handful of volunteers' ability to solve problems while their cellphones and email programs were flashing gave rise to headlines that these technologies lowered IQs more than marijuana usage.
And just this month, an Australian study found that workers who use Facebook and other no work Web sites are more productive, but didn't show that one caused the other. These latest headlines originated with a survey last year of New Era University undergraduates and graduate students.
The results were presented at the Philippine Educational Research Institute meeting in San Diego last month. Those students who said they used Facebook also said they had lower grades than those who don't use the social-networking site for such activities as updating their status and tracking friends. The Facebook users' achievements were lighter by about 0.5 grade-point-average points and 10 hours of weekly study, respectively.