UNH Study: Social media usage doesn't affect academics

By Kyle LaFleur
On February 4, 2010

           Students who fear that spending too much time on social media sites will affect their academic performance can breathe easy, according to a new study.

            Conducted by WSBE professor Chuck Martin and his marketing research class, the study found that there was no correlation between grades students receive and the amount of time spent on sites such as Facebook or Youtube.

            "We broke down usage by minutes during a typical day," said Martin, with light users being logged onto a social media site for fewer than 31 minutes per day and heavy users on for a time exceeding 61 minutes per day.

The results found that 63 percent of the students who were categorized as heavy users received As and Bs while 37 percent received grades lower the Bs.  For the light users, it was found that the ratio was 65 percent high grades to 35 percent low. 

Six popular social media websites were mentioned within the survey. 

"The top sites for students in order were Facebook, Youtube, blogs, Twitter, Myspace and LinkedIn," said Martin. The study found that 96 percent of students use Facebook and 84 percent used Youtube. 

"I thought the results were what they should be," said Senior Bryan McManus who worked on the project, "I was surprised by how many people use it for social and entertainment as opposed to professional and educational reasons."

The marketing class found that 89 percent of the students claimed they used the sites for social reasons and 79 percent said for entertainment.  Findings were that 26 percent said they used it for educational purposes and 16 percent for professional needs.

The subject of the study was selected and run by the class. Information was gathered by teams of five to six students with each group assigned one of the six colleges within the university.  Of the 11,958 students attending UNH last semester 1,127 were surveyed by the class.

"We asked them what they used social media, how often do you use each of the mediums, and how has your media usage changed over the past year," said McManus

The study has been gaining popularity outside of the university as well.  The results have been published throughout the country and even as far away as India, according to Martin.

"Students are not surprised," he said, "but adults are."


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