While there were some studies last year claiming that heavy social networking users were likely to have lower grades
(though, there were lots of problems with that study), it apparently isn't because it keeps kids up late at night
. A new study that looked at students and their social networking habits didn't find much difference in the amount of sleep heavy social network users got vs. those who weren't spending all their time on Facebook and Twitter. My guess is that, with both of these things, there are so many other factors that finding any sort of causal relationship is unlikely in a simple comparison of two variables. There could be many other factors that lead to either good or bad grades, and also impact how much a person uses social networks or the amount of sleep they get. And, in the end, looking for something to blame for either really misses the point. It's an attempt to blame a technology for something else, rather than look at the real underlying reasons why a student doesn't get enough sleep or doesn't do well at school.
But, of course, don't expect that to stop the debate. As I was finishing up this post, along comes a different
study that again notes a correlation
between really heavy users and bad grades. But, the study also finds that for kids these days, they're pretty much online all the time somehow -- even more than the study's authors thought possible.