Social Media Affects Grades

Student Engaged in Social Networking

Student Engaged in Social Networking

By Joaquin Lomeli Jr

Some students would rather Facebook then do their homework. It’s affecting their grades in addition to their face-to-face communication skills.

According to a 2011 study of the effects of social media on college students, done by Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, researchers found 80 percent of participants in the study utilized social networks while working on homework, seeing a negative effect in efficiency and grades. Some student spent six-to-eight hours per day on social media, such as Facebook, while completing their homework. The increased distraction was found to be detrimental to students’ school performance.

“I usually switch back and forth from my homework to Facebook,” said College of Southern Nevada student Fred Lomeli. “I spend about 15 to 20 minutes on Facebook before I decide to switch back to my homework. It usually takes me a couple hours to finish the assignment because I’m constantly getting easily distracted.”

Airi Rivera, another CSN student, said she thinks social media is a huge distraction. In addition to her favorite sites, she spends four-to-six hours each day watching television. She wants to do anything besides her homework.

Social media not only effects college students academically but research shows that the more time students spend on social sites, the less time they spend socializing in person. This inhibits their communication skills particularly face-to-face communication.

“I feel that there are a lot of awkward pauses when I speak to someone in person,” said George Corona, CSN student. “It’s much easier to have a conversation online with someone because I can gather my thoughts together before I write.”

There are some benefits to scripting conversations before sending them, though computer-mediated communications sometimes changes the meaning of the message.

According to April Hebert, communications professor at CSN, communicating online does have its drawbacks. She states that not being able to see an individual’s facial expression or gestures can lead to misunderstandings. Emoticons, such as happy faces, can add some of the non-verbal nuances in emails or Facebook posts but nothing beats face-to-face communication.

Additionally, a new language has been developed in social media that finds its way into personal conversations.

“I frequently hear people say LOL or OMG when speaking face-to-face. These abbreviations are not needed but people feel at ease dropping them into their conversations even when speaking directly to another person,” said Cameron Basquiat, communications professor at CSN.

“Advances in technology permeate all facets of our lives professionally and personally so it’s no surprise that they impact our interpersonal relationships in those environments too,” Basquiat said.

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