Mar 12, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Do Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram users perform poorly in class? A group of German scientists investigated by looking into a correlation between grades and social media use.

In an article in Science Daily, Professor Markus Appel, a psychologist who holds the Chair of Media Communication at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Bavaria, Germany said, "Concerns regarding the allegedly disastrous consequences of social networking sites on school performance are unfounded."

How did the researchers arrive at this conclusion?

They analyzed the results of 59 meta-analyses that examined the social media habits of 30,000 youth internationally.

They found four results. First, those who use social media to communicate about school have better grades than those who don't. Secondly, those who use Instagram while working on homework tend to perform slightly worse than their peers. The researchers attribute this to a poor form of multi-tasking. Thirdly, students who log into social media platforms and post frequently have slightly lower grades. Finally, those who are active on social media do not spend verifiably less time studying.

Appel says that there's no direct correlation between social media use and grades, but he said, "Nevertheless, 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." He added, "The more open-minded parents are with respect to their children's online activities, the better they will be able to communicate with them."

Learn more about technology studies.


Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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