Social media in higher ed: Friend or foe?

One social media researcher was critical of the stats.

Facebook and studying can be an academically toxic combination, lowering grades by up to 20 percent. This is just part of an infographic that has gone viral on the web and grabbed the attention of educators and their students this spring.

The inforgraphic, “Is Social Media Ruining Students?” published in April by, distills reams of social media research and lists the pros and cons of how social sites, especially Twitter and Facebook, are used on campuses.

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The potentially devastating impact of checking Facebook notifications while studying for exams, midterms, and finals is among the infographic’s most jarring stats. Eight in 10 students don’t believe the statistic, according to, a database for prospective college students.

The infographic also shows that students who abstain from Facebook – only 4 percent of U.S. college students can claim this – work three times more per week than their counterparts on the popular site.

Not all the news is bad: Students said following Twitter ensures they’re “instantly” aware of campus emergencies, and tweeting students see grades increase by half a grade point in courses that use the microblogging site.

For some students, Facebook is more than just a way to kill time between classes. Students have reported “frantic cravings” for the website, and the term “Facebook addiction” is searched for 350 times more than “cigarette addiction.”

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