The Daily Mail of London reports that, according to a team of psychologist studying a group of 219 university students between 19 and 54 years old, those who use Facebook while they study 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, told the Daily Mail.
Even having Facebook running in the background while studying affects GPA, apparently. Students who used Facebook while hitting the books had an average GPA of 3.06. Those who kept social networking tools like Facebook and instant messenger off while working averaged out at 3.82.
Most of the students involved in the study were in denial about the results – three-quarters of them don’t believe Facebook affects their studying. Kirschner says his study isn’t trying to demonize social networking. His results just make the point that multi-tasking online isn’t the best way to focus on what you’re trying to learn.
“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.
So, next time your kids need to hit the books, tell them the whole family will go dark on social networking while they’re studying – who knows how much you could get done yourself if you took the time to focus on something other than status updates.