Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Facebook? At your own risk.

Here is an article excerpt from the April 20 Time Magazine.

Forget the widely unloved redesign. Facebook has committed a greater offense. According to a new study by doctoral candidate Aryn Karpinski of Ohio State University and her co-author Adam Duberstein of Ohio Dominican University, college students who use the 200 million–member social network have significantly lower grade-point averages (GPAs) than those who do not.

The study, surveyed 219 undergraduate and graduate students and found that GPAs of Facebook users typically ranged a full grade point lower than those of nonusers — 3.0 to 3.5 for users versus 3.5 to 4.0 for their non-networking peers. It also found that 79% of Facebook members did not believe there was any link between their GPA and their networking habits.

Karpinski says she isn't surprised by her findings but clarifies that the study does not suggest that Facebook directly causes lower grades, merely that there's some relationship between the two factors. "Maybe [Facebook users] are just prone to distraction. Maybe they are just procrastinators," Karpinski told TIME.com in a phone interview on Monday, April 13.

Karpinski and Duberstein's study isn't the first to associate Facebook with diminished mental abilities. In February, Oxford University neuroscientist Susan Greenfield cautioned Britain's House of Lords that social networks like Facebook and Bebo were "infantilizing the brain into the state of small children" by shortening the attention span and providing constant instant gratification.

And in his new book, iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, UCLA neuroscientist Gary Small warns of a decreased ability among devotees of social networks and other modern technology to read real-life facial expressions and understand the emotional context of subtle gestures. Young people are particularly at risk for these problems, he writes, because "young minds tend to be the most sensitive, as well as the most exposed, to digital technology."
Some experts dismiss all studies of Internet use as flawed, since there is no reasonable way to control for the myriad variables that may affect such research. For its part, Facebook declined to address the specific findings of the new study but issued a statement on Monday, April 13, saying that Facebook isn't the only diversion around; TV and video games can be just as distracting as online social networks.
Hee haa haa.


  1. Now this is one stupid reason. Facebook and grades!!! I also hate the new format . I still like the first version

  2. i've been off from facebook for about 2 months now and i'm really glad.

  3. oh well...i used to be on orkut all the time, and lost my performance for a semester.
    so i will say they do have something to think about in their findings. but yes, it all depends on apt time management.

  4. Really? I didn't know this. Though the connection seems far-fetched. A person who gets low grades by not studying will find other ways to amuse herself or himself.

  5. @Shibhojit and Esha- Yes though the article itself ends with that comment... in our school days it used to be too much TV, then came video games, now it is network sites. :))

    @Diwakar- you prove a point :)

    @ Sphinx- Im bored too. I get online just to say 'hi' to lang distance friends.