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Students Who Use Facebook Get Lower Grades, Study Shows
Newsflash: Facebook may be making us dumber.
London's Daily Mail reports that a team of psychologists studied 219 university students between the ages of 19 and 54, and found that those who use Facebook while they study -- or even have it running in the background -- get grades that are 20 percent lower than those who do not.
"The problem is that most people have Facebook or other social networking sites, their e-mails and maybe instant messaging constantly running in the background while they are carrying out other tasks," Paul Kirschner, study author and professor at the Center for Learning Sciences and Technologies at the Open University of The Netherlands, tells the newspaper.
The students who used Facebook had grade point averages of 3.06, which doesn't seem too bad when the scale goes from 0.0 to 4.0. However, those who turned off the social media network when it came time to hit the books had a typical GPA of 3.82. In addition, non-users also said they studied more often -- spending an average of 88 percent more time working outside of class.
Some students are in denial about the findings. Three-quarters of those surveyed said they don't believe Facebook had any effect on their performance.
Kirschner is quick to point out that he isn't trying to demonize any one social media network, but that the study does suggest that multi-tasking online isn't an effective study strategy.
"Our study, and other previous work, suggests that while people may think constant task-switching allows them to get more done in less time, the reality is it extends the amount of time needed to carry out tasks and leads to more mistakes," he tells the Daily Mail.
Kirschner also tells the newspaper he doesn't think this trend is limited to college students. He says he would expect similar results among younger pupils, as well.
Related: Could Facebook Keep Your Kid Out of College?
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