We already know college students are addicted to Facebook, but a new study by a team of researchers in China and Hong Kong claims that all those hours spent checking status updates and tagging photos isn't necessarily bad for their grades. In fact, the study's findings surprisingly suggest that although Facebook seems like a massive time-suck, it actually "directly influences social learning and can positively influence academic learning."
The researchers found that 90 percent of the students they interviewed regularly use Facebook, and the time they spend on the networking site can be divided into two categories, social and educational. The social time is spent, as you might guess, connecting with other students. Colleges are already recognizing the role Facebook can play in ensuring students don't drop out. It makes sense that students that build relationships with their college peers and network with campus organizations on the site have a greater sense of belonging and will do better academically over the long run.
But, students also increasingly use Facebook to connect with professors and other school faculty. That makes sense because instead of having to find the time for a (potentially intimidating) meeting with a professor in her office, a student could message her on Facebook with questions about an assignment. And it's pretty easy to keep up with a class study group on Facebook, too.
Of course, this study doesn't mean that spending all night on Facebook will get you A's. But it does seem to show that the relationship between the site and academic productivity is significantly more complex than people acknowledge.