The Worldwide web revolutionized communication during the 20th century; however, social networking sites brought a new dimension to it. In today’s culture of disconnection and individualism, social networks such as Facebook, My space, Orkut, and LinkedIn, are seen as platforms for managing the decreasing sociability (James J. Farrell). By the end of August 2010, Facebook had 360 million users from all over the world, making it the number one among all the social networking sites (Clicky Media 2010). The statistics showed that in the United Kingdom, most of the users of Facebook are between 13 to 19 and 20 to 29 age groups (ibid). Within a short period of 2 years, after its launch in 2004, it became the most popular website in universities and colleges of United Kingdom (Anderson Analytics). According to research carried out by Farrell, a culture of reading Facebook feeds was developed among students during lectures in academic institutions (James J. Farrell). According to the report, students that are obsessed with Facebook find it harder to concentrate in class, are constantly distracted, and have shorter attention span, and find hard to compete in their exams (ANI, 2010). According to a study conducted by Karpinski at Ohio State University, students secured satisfactory GPA (grade point average) by spending more hours studying than using Facebook (Karpinski) which supports the findings of the ANI report regarding unsatisfactory performance of obsessed students. As a result of this, parents and student groups have started to demand blocking its use in universities, thus posing a serious threat to its future growth (CBC News).
Recent research has established the adverse effects of Facebook on student academic performance; however, there has been a little research done on the reasons why students use it during their study time. The purpose of the present study is to ascertain why students use Facebook during their study hours and what are the causes behind its use.
The survey was conducted at the University of Exeter. The subjects were selected from three different programmes; undergraduate, postgraduate and graduate diploma belongs to the age group of between 18 to 20 and 21 to 29. Thus, a comparison with the most active groups of Facebook users was insured.
The survey was conducted by questionnaire which was distributed to 30 students; 10 from each course. The questionnaires were given to them personally and by sending a copy of it to their university email address. It consisted of ten different types of questions; yes or no, multiple choices, agree/disagree with a statement, and statement questions.
The results were displayed using pie charts and bar graph in order to aid analysis.
The results of the questionnaire on the Effects of Facebook on student studies conducted on students from three different programmes at University of Exeter to determine the causes and factors behind its use.