Social networking sites use and college students’ academic performance: testing for an inverted U-shaped relationship using automated mobile app usage data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

With the widespread adoption of social networking sites among college students, discerning the relationship between social networking sites use and college students’ academic performance has become a major research endeavor. However, much of the available research in this area rely on student self-reports and findings are notably inconsistent. Further, available studies typically cast the relationship between social networking sites use and college students’ academic performance in linear terms, ignoring the potential moderating role of the intensity of social networking sites use. In this study, we draw on contrasting arguments in the literature predicting positive and negative effects of social networking sites use on college students’ academic performance to propose an inverted U-shaped relationship. We collected data on social networking sites use by having college students install a tracking app on their smartphones for 1 week and data on academic performance from internal college records. Our findings indicate that social networking sites use indeed exhibits an inverted U-shaped relationship with college students’ academic performance. Specifically, we find that spending up to 88.87 min daily on social networking sites is positively associated with academic performance, but beyond that, social networking sites use is negatively associated with academic performance. We discuss the implications of our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Academic performance
  • Curvilinear relationship
  • Inverted U-shape
  • Mobile applications
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

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