The Social Media Dilemma

By Algonquin College Modified on January 07, 2020

We love our social media, but can it affect your grades?

Save
A student of Algonquin College uses social media, but how is that usage affecting the student's grades?

Staying connected with friends, family, and world events is only a touch away. But is having this social superpower at your fingertips a good or bad thing when it comes to your education?

Does social media use affect your academic performance, impair time-management skills, or interfere with social skills?

In today's data-driven world, researchers have become curious about the impacts of social media. Some think extensive use of social media results in poorer grades. Others say these concerns are unfounded.

For example, a 2016 Australian study found that students "who regularly use online social networks, such as Facebook, tend to obtain lower scores in math, reading, and science than students who never or hardly even use these sites."

On the other hand, a 2018 German study declared that "concerns regarding the allegedly disastrous consequences of social networking sites on school performance are unfounded." As well, students "who use social media intensively to communicate about school-related topics tend to have slightly better grades." However, the study's authors also observed that those who use Instagram a lot while studying or doing homework "tend to perform slightly worse than other students."

Taken together, these and other studies suggest that students who use social media for educational purposes may help themselves academically, while those who use it as a distraction could see their grades suffer.

Social media can help you deal with academic problems if you're connecting with other students having similar issues — from exchanging ideas on class topics via Twitter and getting the latest assignment update to prepping for exams and getting a handle on complex subjects through YouTube videos and TED Talks. In short, social media can help you absorb new knowledge in a fun and entertaining way.

It can also help you adapt to college life by providing social connections you hadn't known about previously. For instance, you can take part in — or even build — a social network to share ideas, exchange files, and stay current on developments in your field.

In the end, perhaps the best advice for handling your social media accounts comes from a very old source, the Greek philosopher Aristotle and his principle of the golden mean: moderation in all things.