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How Does Facebook Affect Students?

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How Does Facebook Affect Students?

Ziyad Sultan

Middle Tennessee State University


The purpose of this review is to observe the effect of Facebook on students. Facebook becomes an important part of everyday life for many people at any age. It keeps them connected to friends and family, but it also influences students in interesting ways. Although usage of Facebook has been blamed for everything from shorter attention spans to increase stress and obesity, in this review we found that social media site like Facebook actually has a positive effect on psychological well-being. Initially, this paper will provide information about how Facebook affects the daily activities of students and how student/faculty relationships affected by interaction on Facebook and is Facebook a blessing or a curse for students. This paper will also discuss about how Facebook or any other social network can be a used for academic purposes.

How does Facebook Affect Students?

Since the creation of Facebook in February 2004was greatly appreciated by the young generation all over the world, utilizing it effectively should be a matter of concern for all students. Facebook is a freely accessed social network site where one can create a profile using any valid email account. Facebook allows a user to display personal information, upload pictures, access other users' profiles, accumulate online friends, and interact with those friends through messages, gifts, and other applications. Along with other online sites such as Myspace and Friendster, Facebook is also designed to connect people; however, Facebook is generally considered the leading social networking site used by college students (Educause, 2008; Golder et al., 2007; Stutzman, 2006). An EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research ( ECAR ) study of 36,950 students from 126 universities in the United States and one Canadian university reveals that of the 90% of students who used social networking sites, 97% of them use Facebook. This 97% reported activity on the site daily (Smith et al., 2010). There are several controversies about Facebook activity.

Some believe that Facebook can positively influence a college student's life. Students can use Facebook to contact other students concerning course assignments and group projects. In addition, teachers can contact their students regarding useful links and he/she can share video related to course materials. On the other hand, critics are concerned about the possible negative effects of Facebook use. Researchers found that students spent a lot of time on Facebook. In one study, it was found that they were spending an average of over one hour and forty minutes a day on Facebook (junco, 2011). Students may post inappropriate pictures of themselves on their Facebook profile which may put at risk future employment, should their profile data be mined by a potential employer. Moreover, inappropriate pictures are not accepted by some societies and cultures, and this may offend the students belonging to that society.

This review will provide the information about how Facebook affects the daily activities of students, how student/faculty relationships are affected by interaction on Facebook and how Facebook or any other social network can be used for academic purposes. Is Facebook a blessing or a curse for students?

Overview of Facebook

Every person who has internet connection either on the cellophane or on the computer can open a Facebook account. Individuals who want to use Facebook have to register online using a valid email address. Once an individual has joined Facebook, he or she can update the elements of Facebook with information ,such as, gender of the user, hometown, high school, residence, major field of study, personal interests, and self-descriptive information. All users can upload their profile pictures on the Facebook page. In addition, they can create an album where they can put any event pictures. (Lewis et al., 2008)

After the profile is completed, they can find anyone and search for any other user's profile. By using the message option, they can make contact with another user. Facebook also has a chat option like any other messenger software. A Facebook user can chat with another user who already added to the friendlist. For every Facebook user there is a wall function somewhat like a notice board where photographs, video clips, music, and any short message can be posted (West et al., 2009). Day by day, Facebook is adding applications and the user can play a variety of games using their Facebook account. Today individuals are spending more and more time on Facebook (junco, 2011).

Relationship between multiple indices of Facebook

Since almost all the college students use Facebook, researchers are concerned about the relationship between Facebook activity and overall GPA. Reyno Junco, a researcher from Department of Academic Development and Counseling of Lock Haven University was working to find the relationship between Facebook activities and grades, and time spent preparing for class (Junco, 2012). The research was conducted in a 4-year, public, primarily residential institution in the northeastern United State. One thousand eight hundred thirty nine (1839) students participated to complete the overall survey. The survey questions included their Faceboook activity, average time spent daily, time spent yesterday, how often they login, how many times they checked Facebook, and how many hours they spent in a typical 7-day week. To compare their Facebook activity with their GPA, the researcher collected all the participants' academic results from the university administration office. The scenario of Facebook activities was shown in the figure 1. The findings of the research show that, the Facebook time was negatively predictive of overall GPA. A large amount of time spent on Facebook seems to result in less time on academic work. This would certainly negatively influence academic success. In this study, it was also found that frequency of checking Facebook has negative prediction of overall GPA (Junco, 2012).

Figure 1. Frequency of participating in Facebook activities. Copied from (Junco, 2012)

Kalpidou, et al., (2011) shows the relationship between Facebook use and attitudes relating to self-esteem and college adjustment. This study was conducted among 70 undergraduate



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