Time to hit the book… Facebook

April 30th, 2009

When most students log onto their computers one of the first Web sites they visit is Facebook.

While AOL and Google used to be the most popular Web sites to visit, within the past year, Facebook has surpassed most other sites, which were once considered competition.

Facebook is a networking Web site that prides itself on allowing its members to connect and share with others. Currently more than 200 million people have an active Facebook account, and the number is growing each day.

Time Magazine recently published a study by Aryn Karpinski, proving Facebook causes lower grades, resulting in lower GPAs.

During this study, 219 undergraduate students were surveyed. The end result was simply shocking.

Facebook users averaged a 3.0 to 3.5 grade point average, while the non-Facebook users averaged a 3.5 to 4.0 grade point average.

The study also discovered that 79 percent of those Facebook members didn’t believe there was any correlation to the use of Facebook and their slightly lower grade point average.

Freshman, Sarah Bickerton, agrees that Facebook is one of the biggest distractions she faces in her daily life.

“Every time I open my laptop, I find myself typing without even thinking,” she said.

Whether it’s checking for new notifications or seeing if friends have finally uploaded pictures from the weekend, Facebook somehow has the power to captivate its users into checking the site daily, and in some cases, hourly.

Freshman Christina Daly said, “I check Facebook about three times a day.”

However, Daly still finds plenty of time to participate in extracurricular activities and study for school.

“For me, Facebook is more of a guilty pleasure than an addiction. But I do have friends who are obsessed and even feel the need to check Facebook on their phone when they can’t get to a computer,” said Daly.

Just recently, Facebook got a face lift and added new features such as allowing members to chat with friends that are also logged on to their Facebook accounts.

This has not only made the once popular AOL instant messenger obsolete, but it has also increased the time most members spend on the Web site.

Now, instead of just looking at friends’ profiles, you can instant message them as well.

While students mainly log on to Facebook when they’re at home or procrastinating on homework in the library, it has also started to become a way to pass time during class.

Junior Stephanie Strano said, “I check it everytime I’m at a computer, which is about three or four times a day.”

Strano said it probably does distract her, yet she feels there are some positives to the network.

“I think it’s beneficial in a lot of ways. It keeps you aware of what’s going on. There’s always distractions, but people still get their work done,” she said.

JCU professor of Communications Mark Krieger said, “I think students generate a fixed amount of distractions for themselves.”

Krieger said students today have the talent of multi-tasking.

He has noticed a change in students since the introduction of the World Wide Web. “The Internet has changed the attention spans of students. They [attention spans] are much shorter,” he said.

The social network provides students the ability to keep in touch with fellow classmates and amuse themselves when bored.

But is it really worth the potential drama it creates and lower GPAs?

For some students, it may be the time to log off of Facebook, and check into the library.