A new study from the University of New Hampshire has suggested that social networks aren't as damaging to students' grades as parents might think.
The study surveyed 1,127 students across a range of subjects on their usage of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube or blogs. It defined "light" users as spending fewer than 31 minutes a day on social media sites, whilst "heavy" users spent over 61 minutes a day.
When researchers correlated the information to students' grades, they found that 63 percent of heavy users were achieving high grades (A or A and B grades), compared to 65 percent of light users. While 37 percent of heavy users of social media received what were defined as lower grades (B grades and lower), 35 percent of light users received fell into that same category.
"The study indicates that social media is being integrated with rather than interfering with students' academic lives," said University of New Hampshire adjunct professor Chuck Martin, whose marketing research class conducted the study. "College students have grown up with social networks, and the study shows they are now simply part of how students interact with each other with no apparent impact on grades."
In addition, 43 percent of students said that they had increased their usage of social media from a year ago. The majority of students used social media for social reasons (89 percent) and entertainment (79 percent). Just over a quarter (26 percent) said they used social media for educational reasons.