A new study published in the journal Emerging Adulthood found that a high use of social media among college students was associated with lower grade point averages (GPAs) and other negative academic outcomes.
Researchers from The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine found that freshmen women were spending nearly 12 hours a day texting, using the Internet for social media networking, or listening to music and watching videos.
The Miriam Hospital study suggests too much media, especially in early adulthood, a time when many young people are living independently for the first time and are away from parental monitoring, could get in the way of academic activities including studying. This research is unique in that it is focused on college students, rather than teenagers still living under the same roof as their parents.
For this study, the researchers surveyed 483 first-year college women at a northeast university at the start of the semester, and the students were asked about the use of eleven forms of media. These included television, movies, music, surfing the Internet, social networking, talking on a cell phone, texting, magazines, newspapers and non-school-related books and video games. Those surveyed were asked about the average weekday and weekend usage from the previous weekend.
“We found women who spend more time using some forms of media report fewer academic behaviors, such as completing homework and attending class, lower academic confidence and more problems affecting their school work, like lack of sleep and substance use,” said the study's lead author Jennifer L. Walsh, PhD.
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