Monday, 13 Apr, 2009 Offbeat
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Surfing Facebook Linked to Bad Results at Exams

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Specialists came to a conclusion that youngsters, who spend time on Facebook have worse results at exams than those who don't use the site. The latest research showed that students, who regularly visit the social networking site do worse in tests, sometimes even by a grade.

The time that should be spent studying, students waste on such activities as building an empire of friends, adding different applications on Facebook, joining groups and 'poking' other users of the social network. The study also showed that some youngsters were spending as little as one hour a week on their academic work.

Despite the fact that the research focused only on Facebook, similar results are considered to be true for other social networking websites. Though the study involved only university students, researchers say that the usage of Facebook as well as other social networking sites is continuously growing among children.

To carry out their study, researchers asked 219 undergraduate and postgraduate students to fill a questionnaire that featured questions about their study, habits and the time they spend surfing Facebook.

It was discovered that 65 percent of users of the social network log in to their account each day. Some of them check the account for several times a day in order to see if they have new messages. There were those who spent just a few minutes on the network and then there were users who were surfing for more than an hour.

According to the research, 68 percent of students who were regularly surfing Facebook had considerably lower grade point average, compared to students who did not use the website.

"It is the equivalent of the difference between getting an A and a B," said Aryn Karpinski, a researcher working in the education department at Ohio State University. She will present her findings at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association.

Despite the results of the study, a lot of students claimed spending time of Facebook did not have any impact on their academic performance.

Another research carried out by the National Literacy Trust recently found that 1 in 5 teenagers aged between 7 and 15 reads books only at school. This is mainly due to the fact that they give priority to websites and blogs as their reading matter. The study on pupils' reading habits showed that youngsters consider social networking web sites, blogs, general websites and magazines more important than books. Most of them don't believe that being a proficient reader can help achieve success in future.

In response to the study a spokesman for Facebook said: "There is also academic research that shows the benefits of services like Facebook. It's in the hands of students, in consultation with their parents, to decide how to spend their time."

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