Archive | November, 2011

Facebook; a help or a hindrance?

18 Nov

Okay, so we all have facebook right? In fact, almost everyone on facebook are either students, teachers, people involved in education or people who want to learn (according to the online education programs guide). I would say the majority of us spend most of our time when doing our ‘uni work’ actually casually nosying in on our friends personal lives. During my A level exams and GCSE’s, I have been tempted to delete my social network sites numerous time. Hours of precious revision time, was unknowingly to my mum, spent browsing the same old boring newsfeed, where uneventful events happened to the same uneventful peoples lives. People who were also obviously also trying to avoid doing their work.

Since having a baby, facebook has become my connection to the real outside world. It’s the only connection to normal people I easily have, whilst being stuck indoors with a slobbery little elf man sicking all over me. While I have no time for socialising, reading newspapers or keeping up with my friends’ new boyfriends, in the rare few moments I do have free, facebook means I am not totally in the dark about what is happening in the world. It is surprising how much you can learn from a site that appears to be determined to ruin your grades. I mean I must have discovered that Amy Winehouse had died moments after it happened. Not that this is an important Psychological breakthrough, but it educated me all the same.. drink and drugs are bad!

Facebook can also be educational in a more traditional sense, all the helpful members on the undergrad psychology page have came to my need when things have just got too confusing for me. Posting a question you need answered takes a few seconds and is a lot easier than emailing a lecturer. I don’t know how I would have managed without it during my time at uni. So despite my mum telling me facebook is a waste of time, and it is going to make me fail, I still believe it’s a necessity in my life.

Understandably, not everyone shares the same views as me; a study by Kirschner and Karpinski (2010) discovered that Facebook users actually have lower Grade Point Averages than non-facebook users. They also spend fewer hours per week studying. Referring to my blog on causation and correlation, this information does not have to mean that facebook is bad! It might however be the people who are less likely to put as much effort into their work anyway, that use facebook. It doesn’t actually mean that the cause of these lower scores and less study time is facebook. It could merely be coincidence.

A different study used 909 undergraduate students from a UK university. It recorded their activity on facebook and concluded that facebook has its own place in education. It helps to manage the ‘role conflict’ that students find occurs between uni work, teaching staff and social lives (Neil Selwyn, 2009). This is true!! Facebook has its own niche and can be totally beneficial to a persons studies.

So what are everyone else’s views on facebook? Does it help or hinder our education?


Kirschner, P.A.,& Karpinski, A. C. (2010). Online Interactivity: Role of Technology in Behavior Change. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6), 1237-1245. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2010.03.024

Selwyn, N. (2009). Faceworking: exploring students’ education-related use of Facebook. Learning and social software – researching the realities, 34(2), 157-174. doi: 10.1080/17439880902923622