Facebook usage linked to student grades

A New Zealand study has found most students check Facebook each day, and there could be a link to academic performance.

Ninety-three per cent of high school and university students check Facebook at least once a day, according to a study by University of Canterbury psychology masters student Milesa Cepe, with high school students spending more time on the social network.

Fifty-six per cent of high school students spent at least 15 minutes to an hour on Facebook within any given session, while 54 per cent of university students spent five to 15 minutes online.

Cepe said the difference may be due to high school students having less academic pressure and having more time to spend on Facebook.

It appears there could also be a link between how many times people log on and academic performance.

For high school students, the more they checked Facebook the lower their grades were.

"Almost 40 per cent of high school students who checked Facebook 21 to 31 times a day, or more, either had low grades or failed, whereas 49 per cent of students who checked Facebook up to just four times a day had grades that were merit and above."

However, Cepe said checking Facebook more often does not necessarily mean it was the reason why the students achieved or not achieved.

"The students may already be struggling academically and Facebook is used as a tool to relieve academic stress," she said.

Sixty per cent of students who had high Facebook usage (21 to 31 plus times a day) also achieved merit and above.

Other factors such as parenting and social background might also be a factor in Facebook use, she said.

She also said Facebook could be a positive thing for students to engage with.

"Facebook groups can be used to connect class mates together for study, it can allow people to share ideas for assignments and it can provide social support for students who are too shy to talk to a classmate in person."

Cepe surveyed 106 high school students and their parents, and 211 university students and their parents.

- Newstalk ZB with nzherald.co.nz

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