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Does spending time on social networking sites affect ADA’s undergraduate students’ academic performance?

Today the advancement of technology has had significant impact on peoples’ lives.  Abundance of social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter etc. attracts millions of users around the world.First recognizablesite was SixDegrees.com which launched in 1997, enabled users to create their own profiles, add friends and engage in chatting. High increase in using SixDegrees.com gave incentive to create other networking sites such as Ryze.com, Friendster, Facebook etc. Today, Facebook is among the most popular social networking sites and it has 1,19 billion monthly active users. According to the statistics of 2013, which provided by Ministry of Communication and High technologies, Facebook users in Azerbaijan are more than 1 million. This indicates that social media have already integrated into our daily and academic life and people spend significant amount of time on network hubs. It is clear that there are both positive and negative effects of social networking sites.

Taking into account that usage of social networking sites by students is increasing day by day, my research investigates whether frequent usage of social media influences their academic performance or not. Studentsuse social media for different purposes for instance: chatting with friends, getting news, wasting time, acquiring new friends, seeking for job opportunities and for academic purposes etc. Moreover, availability of smartphones allows them to get access tosocial networking sites easilyand therefore increasing the time spent. Students even use these sites during the classes. By sitting in the last row, not listening to professors’ lectures and as a result not engaging indiscussed subjects can cause unsuccessful exam results or fail. Although, spending most of students’ time on social networking sites is sufficient cause for failing exam, it is not necessary. Because a little known whether spending time on social networking sites affects students’ academic performance positively or negatively.

It is possible to observe students who are engaged in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram everywhere at ADA University. Accordingly the question arises, “does spending considerable amount of time on social networking sites affect to students’ academic performance?” My study provides an overview of the relationship between the engagement in social networking sites and ADA students’ grades because as you enter these sites you unconsciously spend more time that you had planned which limits your time for studying. Therefore, my purpose of conducting this research is to find out whether there is a positive correlation between usage of social networking hubs and students’ grades.

Literature review.

Literature review is based on social networking sites and academic performance.

 Definition of Social Networking Sites.

Social networking sites is a great platform where people interact, exchange information…. where new topics are defined and discussed…where users create groups to collaborate in terms of their common interests, background etc. (Smith, 2010)

Social networking sites is a phenomena that connects millions of people together to interact with each other, share information about themselves, their personal ideas, thoughts, to accumulate new friends and establish contact with old ones etc. Cox (2011)

 Academic Performance.

According to Tuckman, academic performance is the illustration of our knowledge, understanding, skills and he describes GPA as a clear indicator of students’ performance. He mentions that academic performance of students must be effectively managed and therefore, factors that can affect their performance should be carefully analysed to reveal whether these factors influence them negatively or positively. Accordingly, if students’ involvement in social networking sites comes with disadvantages it must be kept away from their academic life but if used as an instrument in knowledge building and spreading it should be considered in constructing knowledge. Additionally, Musek and Kobal (2001) defines academic performance as the numerical scores of students’ perception, understanding and concepts, which demonstrate their adaptation level to the education system.

 Academic performance of students and social networking sites.

The study conducted by Johnson (2014) in tertiary institutions of Ghana, illustrates high level of usage of time on social networking sites by students’ and indicates that little is known about the intensity of usage and its influence on students’ grades. The research tries to seek for possible impacts of social networking sites on students’ academic performance. In order to find out whether this affect students’ grades 50 students were interviewed and nearly 500 questionnaires were administered to students. Results of study revealed that spending time on social networking hubs affect their grades negatively. The study highlighted the following: networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. takes a lot of time from students, thus limiting their time that could be spent on studying and therefore influencing students’ academic performance negatively.

In another study, relationship between Facebook use and academic performance was examined. Research reveals that widespread usage of Facebook by students limits their time, deteriorating their academic performance consequently affecting their GPA. This paper finds positive correlation between usage of social network hub and students’ grades.Analyses indicate that students who were involved in Facebook had lower GPA in comparison with students who did not use these sites. There is a regression in their academic performance which means that time spent on Facebook considerably influencing to students’ GPA. Narayan (2010).

The research conducted nearly on 880 students, in various universities of Nigeria, indicated that students spent too much time on social networking hubs that has detrimental effect on their studies. Results showed that even involving in these sites became an obsession for many studentsand social networking sites had already integrated into their daily and academic life, significantly affecting their grades. To reveal the effect of usage of social networking sites six hypotheses were tested. One hypothesis was that as students spend more time in networking sites, the lower their GPA would be. However, hypothesis was disproved. Boyd(2007). On the other hand, the study about the intensity of usage of social networking sites among Jordanian university students offered that these sites could be used as a tool for interaction and communication between students and professors. Students mentioned that they are engaged in social networking sites for academic purposes such as: communicating with teachers, discussing new subject with classmates and chatting about the general topics of their interest which has positive affect on students’ academic performance. Jwaifell (2013).

Research Aims.

 Proposed research is intended to investigate the impact of social networking sites on ADA undergraduate students’ academic performance.

Research Questions and Hypothesis.

  1. How does the time spend on social networking sites influence on the performance of ADA students overall GPAHypothesis: There is a positive correlation between high level of usage of social networking hubs and students’ academic performance.

Frequent usage of social networking sites has an impact on students’ grades. To explain it more clearly, the more time students spend on social networking sites, the lower his or her overall GPA will be.  It means that engaging in these sites limits students’ time for studying and therefore affecting their grades negatively.


Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are web based sites that enables us to create our own profile, to invite old friends or accumulate new ones for different purposes, for example: chatting with colleagues and friends, looking for job opportunities, getting news, wasting time etc.

Academic performance is the numerical score of students’ knowledge, understanding, skills and concepts that illustrates their adaptation level to education system. It indicates how effectively students meet standards which is set by their university.

Variables and measuring.

Independent variable in my research is the usage of social networking sites and dependant variable is ADA students’ academic performance. Usage of social networking sites is measured by asking questions in the survey “ How much time do you spent on social networking hubs?”, and “For what purposes do you use networking sites?”.  Dependant variable, students’ academic performance is measured by asking their GPA.  I asked students to answer the question “What is your GPA?”

Methods and Data Collection

To find out the impact of social networking sites on ADA’s undergraduate students GPA I did content based analyses and fieldwork. Content-based analyses include reviewing the current literature on the relevant topic in order to get raw data that helped me to achieve research objectives. This step based on careful analyses of scholarly articles and journals. Fieldwork includes conducting online survey among undergraduate students through survey monkey in a form of questionnaire. The survey was sent to the foundation, the first, the second, the third and the fourth year students of ADA University.

Data analyses.

Results of survey illustrate that 81 out of 120 responses were appropriate for analyses because 39 of respondents did not included their GPA. As GPA is main variable in my research, absence of information on GPA would make it impossible to find out the correlation between the usage of social networking hubs and students academic performance. Although, some students namely foundation year students do not have GPA, they mentioned their mid-term exam results. Therefore, I calculated equivalents to GPA based on their grades. Statistics show that 56.8% of ADA undergraduate students who are involved in spending time on networking hubs are males. In comparison with males, females are less engaged in social networking sites, with 43,2%.


Majority of ADA’s undergraduate students spend between one and three hours on social networking sites. 46,91% of students mentioned that they waste 1-3 hours in these sites. 33,33% of students spend more than three hours on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in comparison with 12,96% of students who waste only less than one hour on networking sites.


Analyses revealed that students mostly use networking sites for chatting purposes and getting news.  While 51,85% of bachelor students mentioned that they usually chat with their friends, 33,33 of them engaged in getting news. Expectedly, only 5,67% of students highlighted that they use networking hubs for academic purposes. 4.05% of undergraduates chose other reasons.


Statistics illustrates that 12,24% of students mentioned that spending time on networking sites affect their studies positively. In contrast, 47% of undergraduates indicated that engaging in social networking hubs has negative impact on their GPA. Significant amount of students demonstrated that wasting time on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram has no effect on their academic performance.


The findings of the survey demonstrate that there is alittlecorrelation between the usage of social networking sites and students’ academic performance. Although, almost 50 percentage of undergraduates with high and low GPA indicated negative effects of social networking hubs, there was no direct logical correlation because both students whose GPA are less than 2 and more than 3 spent more than 3 hours in the social networks, according to the results of the survey. This leads to the conclusion that there should be third intervening variable affecting the academic performance of the students.


Due to time constraints, there are some weaknesses in this research paper. I was not able to observe and interview undergraduate students who are deeply involved in using social networking sites in order to identify whether this highly affect their academic life or not. These obstacles may negatively affect the validity of my research.


The study analyses how ADA undergraduate students’ academic performance was affected by the high usage of social networking sites. After getting survey results I could draw the conclusion that there is a little logical correlation highlighting that the time spent on social media influence students’ grade. I believe that there is a third variable that affects students’ overall GPA.

By: Narmina Mahmudova

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