Protect Your Kids
Protect Your Kids 2 minute read

College Students and Facebook: What matters is how you use it

Last Updated: January 29, 2024

Is Facebook contributing to poor GPAs and drop-out rates? Is engaging in social media bad for your grades?

Studies about the use of social media tend to be two-dimensional. They might compare students who use Facebook to students who do not and try to draw conclusions about how Facebook in general impacts our lives. Or they might look at how much time students spend on Facebook and draw conclusions from that statistics alone.

But Reynol Junco’s study is different. Reynol, an Associate Professor at Lock Haven University, recently published a study in Computers & Education entitled “The relationship between frequency of Facebook use, participation in Facebook activities, and student engagement.” Rather than merely looking at the amount of time students spend on Facebook, Reynol wanted to know what they were doing in that time. How does the way one uses Facebook predict student engagement?

The results were interesting…

Why engagement matters

Student success at college is directly tied to how much energy they devote to the whole of their academic experience. This is what educators and social scientists call “engagement.” This, of course, includes things like time and attention devoted to study. But this also includes having close on-campus friendships, engaging in college-sponsored activities, close interactions with professors, and extracurriculular involvement.

In general, a higher level of engagement predicts a greater chance of success.

What are college students doing on Facebook?

Reynol surveyed 2,368 students at a primarily residential, four-year, public university in the Fall of 2010.

  • The average number of times students check Facebook: 5.75 times a day
  • The average amount of time students spend on Facebook: 1 hour, 41 minutes a day
  • The most popular Facebook activities include: leaving comments (88%), viewing photos (88%), checking in on what others are doing (85%), creating status updates (82%), and Facebook chat (77%).

What does the study tell us?

In general, specific Facebook activities were more strongly predictive of engagement than time spent on Facebook. To a parent or educator what this means is: More time on Facebook is not correlated to being a worse student, but certain Facebook activities can predict a student being less engaged.

  • For example, some Facebook activities positively predict involvement in campus activities: things like leaving comments, creating/RSVPing on events, or viewing photos. Reynol identifies these as “communicative activities”: they are a form of online engagement and therefore predict engagement in the offline world.
  • But on the other end of the spectrum, some Facebook activities negatively predict involvement in campus activities: things like playing games, checking up on friends, or posting photos. Reynol calls these “noncommunicative activities.”
  • No relationship was found between time spent on Facebook and time spent studying, but chatting on Facebook was a negative predictor.

In an interview Reynol commented, “[I]t’s important to keep in mind that Facebook use in and of itself is not detrimental to academic outcomes, and can indeed be used in ways that are advantageous to students. Using these results, faculty and administrators could develop educational practices that include using Facebook in ways that maximize both engagement and academic benefits.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related in Protect Your Kids

Editor's Picks

Phone and a computer configured to block porn sites.

Protect Your Kids

How To Block Porn Sites

The amount of pornography available online can be disheartening. But here are…

8 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Close-up of parent holding a child's hand.

Protect Your Kids

How Churches Can Rescue This Generation From Pornography

Culture is always changing. And there are things in our culture that…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Female student writing a scholarship essay.

Protect Your Kids

5 Eye-Opening Revelations From 850 Scholarship Essays

Each year, Covenant Eyes holds a scholarship contest for current members who…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Silhouette of a man walking through a tunnel.

Protect Your Kids

The Sound of Freedom and the Problem of Pornography

The Covenant Eyes Podcast recently sat down with Operation Underground Railroad founder,…

2 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

A group of three young computer programmers working on laptops.

Protect Your Kids

Porn and Artificial Intelligence

When Chat GPT launched in November 2022, artificial intelligence took the world…

4 minute read

Read Post

Editor's Picks

Parents with their teenage son.

Protect Your Kids

Why Parents Must Talk About Sex

When my son was sixteen, he attended a youth group meeting during…

5 minute read

Read Post

Related in Protect Your Kids

Phone and a computer configured to block porn sites.

Protect Your Kids

How To Block Porn Sites

The amount of pornography available online can be disheartening. But here are…

The amount of pornography available online can be disheartening. But here are some practical steps you can take to block porn sites on your computer or mobile device. Porn-blocking software makes it easier to block…

8 minute read

0 comments

Close-up of parent holding a child's hand.

Protect Your Kids

How Churches Can Rescue This Generation From Pornography

Culture is always changing. And there are things in our culture that…

Culture is always changing. And there are things in our culture that take us away from Christ. Every generation tends to feel doom and gloom at the rate of change. Ours is not different in…

4 minute read

0 comments

Female student writing a scholarship essay.

Protect Your Kids

5 Eye-Opening Revelations From 850 Scholarship Essays

Each year, Covenant Eyes holds a scholarship contest for current members who…

Each year, Covenant Eyes holds a scholarship contest for current members who are enrolled as full-time students. This year, we had over 850 applicants! These amazing students answered questions about integrity using today’s technology, their…

4 minute read

0 comments

Silhouette of a man walking through a tunnel.

Protect Your Kids

The Sound of Freedom and the Problem of Pornography

The Covenant Eyes Podcast recently sat down with Operation Underground Railroad founder,…

The Covenant Eyes Podcast recently sat down with Operation Underground Railroad founder, Tim Ballard. Tim’s story has been dramatized in the new blockbuster movie, The Sound of Freedom. In our conversation with Tim, we learned…

2 minute read

0 comments

A group of three young computer programmers working on laptops.

Protect Your Kids

Porn and Artificial Intelligence

When Chat GPT launched in November 2022, artificial intelligence took the world…

When Chat GPT launched in November 2022, artificial intelligence took the world by storm. And with good reason—the wide array of AI tools now available to the public offer truly breathtaking capabilities. At Covenant Eyes,…

4 minute read

0 comments

Parents with their teenage son.

Protect Your Kids

Why Parents Must Talk About Sex

When my son was sixteen, he attended a youth group meeting during…

When my son was sixteen, he attended a youth group meeting during which the male leader spoke with the guys about pornography and enumerated the ramifications porn could have on marriages and families. He learned…

5 minute read

0 comments