From Facebook to gradebook: An examination of the relationship between teen use of social networking sites and academic achievement

Melody Dickerson Swang

Abstract

Today's high school students are growing up in a technology-rich, technology-savvy, mass media environment. The interactions with print, cinema, radio, and television have been studied throughout the years in order to examine their effects on student achievement. Current research has broadened to include video games, computers, the Internet, and social networking. From books to cinema to radio to television to Web 2.0, the question has been asked: What is the impact of mass media on children? This study examined the relationship between time spent on social networking sites and other displacement activities and academic achievement. This study also examined the extent to which certain demographic variables affect those relationships. One hundred forty-one students from four high schools in a large, urban southeast Louisiana public school district responded to a questionnaire. For the purpose of this study, academic achievement was defined as high school grade point average (HSGPA) and ACT score. The findings showed that time spent on social networking sites and other displacement activities was not significantly correlated to GPA. However, time spent on social networking sites and other displacement activities was significantly and negatively correlated with ACT scores. In addition, findings showed that certain demographic variables predicted HSGPA, but did not predict ACT scores. The results of this study offer insight into the relationships among the use of social networking sites, use of other mass media, certain demographics, as well as academic achievement.