In the study, 2,359 college students were asked to estimate the amount of time they spent using Facebook, detailing exactly what they did during that time. Both upper- and lower-income students spent about the same amount of time on the social network in total, but less affluent users spent less time sending private messages, chatting and responding to event invitations.
While it may not seem like a big deal that poorer students aren’t sharing more on Facebook, not using the social network could harm them academically. “Failure to connect in these ways (communicating; sharing; connecting with others) could deprive students of the benefits of participation on such sites, such as increased social capital, improved social integration, opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, and improving the technological and communication skills valued in today’s workplace,” says Reynol Junco, the Perdue associate professor who completed the survey.
Of course, while students no doubt benefit from learning communication skills through the social network, spending too much time on Facebook can just as easily hurt academic performance. Set reasonable limits on your kids’ social networking time, and enforce them. You should also invest the time to make sure they know how to use Facebook safely and responsibly.