To some parents, Facebook may pose a huge problem, cutting into their child’s study time and maybe even causing addiction. An article from Money Watch may help change our perception of Facebook and its affect on student life, however:
Can hanging out on Facebook keep college students from dropping out?
That’s the conclusion you could draw from a new study which found that college freshmen who spent more time on Facebook were more likely to return for their sophomore year.
Not everyone may agree on this but it’s hard to deny the possible impact of Facebook on a student’s lifestyle and attitude towards college education.
Money Watch explains how the studies were conducted and the ensuing results.
The study, which was conducted at Abilene Christian University, tracked 375 freshmen for nine months to see if their Facebook activity had any impact on their success in school.
So what did the researchers find? Students, who survived their freshmen year, had more Facebook friends — about 27 more on average — and they also had about 59 more wall posts than the freshmen who dropped out.
There are a number of ways that Facebook can help students cope with school. Not only are students brought together through the social networking site, but it can also serve as a platform for meetings and communication with classmates and even professors. Keep up with the latest assignments, form relationships with colleagues, or simply spend some time off your studies to relax, these are just some of the possible benefits of Facebook.
Explaining the results
Money Watch goes on to mention that:
The study, which was published in the latest issue of the Journal of College Student Retention, included this observation.
Rather than being an escape from reality, social media may mirror real life.
More actively connected students on Facebook were most likely also connectors in the real word.
In an interview in Wired, Jason Morris, one of the study’s authors and the director of higher education at Abilene Christian, had this to say about the findings.
The study was able to show that these students who are more active on Facebook are also out there getting involved, making new friends and taking part of activities that the university provides for them.
It’s important to remember, however, that Facebook usage isn’t necessarily an accurate barometer for college success. There are a lot of ways that Facebook usage can work against students. Still, this is some interesting news that is worth your thoughts.
Eszter Hargittai, an associate professor of communication studies and sociology at Northwestern University, says studies making cause-and-effect claims about Facebook and student performance may fail to take into account another factor: socioeconomic background.
Students with better-educated parents are both more likely to use Facebook and more likely to perform better academically, she says.
Due to the many benefits Facebook can offer to students, those who think that combining Facebook and academics is a disaster should think twice.
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