Social Media's Impact on Student Education

By Maya Hood

Social media usage is a cultural phenomenon among college students. No wonder there’s a chalkboard in the library where students post their usernames. It is hard to imagine a whole day without it, with the impact it has on one's academic and social life.

When you look around campus, more than likely people are using their cell phones, even in classrooms where the teachers don’t let their students use them.

Since the "app generation," students choose to utilize social media, and it determines their academic corollary, both positive and negative.

“Every time students use their cell phone in class, it potentially affects their test grades,” said Dr. Chris Bjornsen, psychology Professor at Longwood University. 

In a recent study that reveals the relationship between cell phone use in class and academic achievement in all of his classes throughout a whole school year, he said, "As cell phone use in class goes up, test scores go down. Just as higher cell phone use predicts lower test scores, lower cell phone use also predicts higher scores.”

When a student receives a notification from their friends like a meme of Snoop Dogg droppin’ it like its hot, it’s going to deviate students from doing their school work.

“Students don’t know how to focus because they believe they can multitask," said political science professor Dr. Monica Carter. "It doesn’t work because you're not giving your full attention."

Students believe they have to be entertained to put forth the effort with their academic tasks, and if they are not being entertained, it will determine how motivated they are when it comes to their own academic success. The more difficult an educational task, the more likely a student will take the easy way out. 

However, there is a silver lining when it comes to accessing social media apps through cellular devices at school.

"It’s all about balance and moderation," Dr. Carter emphasized. Tech-savvy students are able to procure information at the touch of a button, "which aids in analysis. Students learn how to analyze the information they’re given, making them capable of choosing information wisely, since information is easy to come by," she said.

Allowing students to engage in online communities can amplify the learning process, so their academic voices are heard. This allows students to connect with one another.

There’s no doubt that social media apps on smartphones make an impact. That is why some teachers have a "no phone policy," that forces students to put their phones away when a class is in session, with the goal of making students' academic performance better than it would have if they were on their phone.

Who wants to put their phone down when they could be updating their status on Twitter? "What am I doing with my liiiiiife (sad face emoji)."

Let's face it, the no phone policy might not be our favorite, but it's a teacher's way of helping students succeed in the classroom. And besides, after class, we can tweet Justin Bieber lyrics.

Now as a little food for thought, Jennifer Porter, a photography professor, tells students at the beginning of class that cell phones are prohibited in class, and if it rings, you will have to buy the whole class cookies.

The impact of social media on your life as a student could determine your fate to buy a whole class cookies. Choose wisely.