By Marlee Shaulis
For the Cal Times
Nearly 85 percent of college students log on to Facebook every day according to techrunch.com. The social networking site has become an addiction for many. Instead of students concentrating on their homework or studying for a big test the next day, they are spending hours looking through pictures, answering their page comments, and chatting with friends on the site’s instant messenger. Facebook has consumed good grades and face-to-face communication is in jeopardy.
According to Professor Swarndeep Gill of the CalU earth science department Facebook can be very distracting. He says that many of his students’ grades show how they get sucked into distractions such as Facebook and remain glued to their computers for hours. He is concerned that some students are spending too much time on the social networking site when they need to be focusing more on their homework.
“College is not easy and takes a great deal of focus, “Gill said. “There is little room for the distractions of Facebook when you want good grades.”
Senior Allen Pines agrees that the site takes time away from his homework. He says that some of his grades reflect the little time he spends studying. Instead of finishing his work, he finds himself taking multiple breaks to visit Facebook.
“Doing my homework is important to me,” Pines says. “But I can’t help getting caught up in the world of Facebook.”
Employers are less than satisfied with the face-to-face communication skills of recent graduates according to allbusiness.com. The social networking site of Facebook does not allow for active communication. Professor Craig Fox of the philosophy department is worried that the shorter attention-grabbing bursts of communication on Facebook could be taken as a detrimental model for all communications.
“I think that anything that encourages communication between people is potentially a positive thing,” Fox said. “But it is a very negative thing too.”
Junior Meghan Gavin agrees that Facebook does effect face-to-face communication. She says people become so distracted in social networking that they often forget about communicating in the most influential way and they have little hope of being connected to people personally.
“Social networking sites, specifically Facebook, effects students’ face-to-face communication,” Gavin said. “They often forget how to communicate correctly with people in person.”
Facebook also takes the expressions and emotions out of communicating sophomore Katie Mitcheson says. Instead of meeting in person, many people choose to virtually chat with friends, family members, and even employers on Facebook’s instant messenger or comment section.
Mitcheson says that the joy of seeing someone smile or the pain of seeing someone cry is being taken away. She says if one cannot be emotionally and personally connected with someone, then they might as well not be connected at all.
“I do have a Facebook,” Mitcheson said. “But I try to avoid it as much as possible so that I can stay emotionally connected with friends and family.”
Even with all the negative aspects of Facebook, many students continue to spend hours on the social networking site. They push their homework aside to chat with friends or update their statuses and perhaps see their face-to-face communication skills erode little by little.
“I love going on Facebook,” freshman Tori Humbert said. “I love staying connected with people and checking up on all the latest gossip.”