Teenagers who frequent apps like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat can’t blame poor grades on the social media platforms, according to a new report from a German university.
“Concerns regarding the allegedly disastrous consequences of social networking sites on school performance are unfounded,” the study’s co-author and Chair of the Media Communication department at Julius Maximilians University in Bavaria, Markus Appel, told the school’s news site.
The researchers said that students and past studies reported inconsistent findings of a link between social media and school grades; so they compiled the findings of 59 different reports that polled over 30,000 students from around the world on the subject and analyzed the results.
“There are several contradictory single studies on this subject and this has made it difficult previously to properly assess all results,” co-author and PhD student Caroline Marker said.
The scientists came to four conclusions from their study, published in the journal Educational Psychology Review:
School kids who utilized social media to discuss their work and other school-related topics often had slightly better grades, as the scientists expected. When Instagram was opened often while studying or doing homework, kids had faintly lower grades in comparison to pupils who didn’t open the app. Students who logged into social media sites often and posted multiple messages and pictures had marginally lower grades — the researchers noted that the effect was “very small.”
And kids who are particularly active on social media didn’t report spending any less time studying or doing homework than their peers, leading the researchers to conclude that there’s no scientific proof that the sites take away from time that could be spent doing schoolwork.
“Nevertheless,” Appel said, “parents should take an interest in what their kids are doing on social media, know the social networks and be willing to understand the usage patterns. The more open-minded parents are with respect to their children’s online activities, the better they will be able to communicate with them.”