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Impact of Social Media on Studying

By Josie Hanna
On September 15, 2017

How many times have you had a literal mountain of homework to do and instead found yourself scrolling through Instagram, retweeting the latest Taylor Swift meme, or even creeping on your Grandmother’s Facebook?

     Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. 

    As college students, we get stereotyped as people who party all night and sleep all day and for most of us, that is the furthest thing from the truth. So why is it that we still procrastinate on that mountain of work? For me it’s social media. Even as I am writing this I find myself drawn to flip back to Instagram to check for new posts, or even Snapchat just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this problem, or who has heard from multiple people that social media has an impact on studying. However, the real question is, how much of an impact does it actually have?

    For each person it’s different, but said it best in their article titled “Multitasking, Social Media, and Distraction.” I don’t know about you, but that pretty much sums up my life as a student. Did you know that 99 percent of college students have a Facebook account, and that half of them report logging on every day? In the 18-29 year-old age group, YouTube has a larger reach than any cable network, and two-thirds of students will admit to using social media while studying or in class. Admittedly, 75 percent of internet users are on social media, and I fall into all of these statistics.

    In a research study conducted by a graduate student at Johnson & Wales University in 2011, 57 percent of the students surveyed admitted that social media made them less productive. This same study also found that those students who used social media while studying, had lower grade point averages. That’s right, a link between social media use and our grades has been found! Other studies have found similar links between the use of social media during studying and class time with lower grades and less information retained by the student.

    Forbes has even gone as far as to say that social media is now affecting our mental health. They cite six different ways in which social media affects us including: it’s addictive, triggers more sadness than well-being, leads to jealousy, makes us compare our lives to others, gives us a false sense of friendship, and it deludes us into thinking that it will help. 

    I have never read so much into my mindless Instagram scroll or Snapchat selfie’s until now. Other online sources have gone on to say that “social media is killing student success” or that, “social media is taking priority over sleep and school.” I personally find this to be an extreme way of viewing the situation, but it is now undeniable for me to see the correlation between my own social media use and grades/retention.

    When all facts are considered, it is hard to deny that some links exists between the use of social media and negative impacts on studying. Now I will make more of a conscious effort to refrain from picking up the phone every time I get the urge or get stuck on my homework. We all just need to remember that if we resist the urge to check social media, the benefits of higher grades, retaining more information, and the study for our materials, will pay off in the long term. For now I will do my homework and post about it later.

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