Facebook Fallout

By Alma Velazquez

It’s 11:00 p.m. You can’t fall asleep and your homework is not done because you couldn’t bring yourself to close the Facebook window. What do you do? Get on Facebook to update your status of course.
Students all over the world are becoming moderately to severely addicted to the Internet’s most popular social networking site. As Facebook’s popular- ity increases at an alarming rate, so does the amount of time and importance it is given.

But where does Facebook usage cross the line? Just how responsible are students when determining when to sign out? And are they too reliant on Facebook as a means of communication?
“I spend two hours a day, minimum,” sophomore Shelby Johnson said.

Since she acquired a phone with access to the Internet approximately six months ago, Johnson noticed a drastic change in her checking habits.
“I have like four different apps for Facebook on my phone,” she said. “On the weekends it’s really bad. I’d say the minimum is four hours a day.”

In contrast, senior Amanda Foster said her usage has been declining re- cently.
“I’ve actually stopped [using Facebook] as much. Maybe three to four times a week. I just don’t have that much time and don’t do that much on it,” she said.

With the amount of time being spent on Facebook, some people sacrifice personal social interaction for social networking.
“If people weren’t on Facebook all the time they could actually be getting to know the people they stalk online,” Amanda said.
She added Facebook communication allows time to think, while in real life, conversations require people to think on the spot. Putting this skill out of practice potentially leads to social awkwardness, producing a chain reaction that leads people to take refuge in Facebook.

Another serious dilemma Facebook poses is distraction from schoolwork. A 2009 study conducted by Ohio State University suggested that students’ grades are affected by Facebook when it found college students who had higher GPAs were non-Facebook users.
“I feel like it brings people’s grades down because they spend more time on Facebook than on homework,” Amanda said.

Still, while most people said they do not think Facebook has negative ef- fects on their grades, they also said they struggle with Facebook as a distrac- tion from homework.
“If my homework’s on the computer,” Shelby said, “You can bet I’ll be on Facebook for the most part.”