OPINION: Fight the urge to disconnect

CN/ Bernardo Calderon

By Joceline Rodriguez

Spending too much time on social media platforms affects the grades of students at East Los Angeles College. When students are alone, they avoid their surroundings with the use of social media. They put their headphones on and watch videos on YouTube. This all seems harmless until it starts to affect student’s ability to stay focused on their coursework. ELAC students constantly stop working on library computers to browse social media.

While students have the option to use social media for educational purposes, recent studies have shown this is not what they use it for. The article “Impact of Facebook Usage on Students’ Involvement in Studies” by Garima Mathur found that in 2019, students have used Facebook for entertainment or relaxing but not for knowledge enhancement. Mathur also said that the amount of time students spent on Facebook has negatively impacted their academics.

College students tend to use social media as a distraction. Distractions are the main reason students who use social media have a harder time with homework assignments.

The article by Wang sampled a group of college students and asked them questions on their behavior while doing homework. Wang said, “Eighty percent of the sample reported that they posted or responded while completing homework; 8 percent would never use social media while doing homework; and 2 percent were not sure.” 102 students were surveyed and 57 percent said social media has lessened their productivity. Students are aware that social media has become more than a distraction and most have not managed to discipline this area.

ELAC’s full-time student, Leslie Saucedo, said that since finals started to approach, she’s used YouTube an hour a day to de-stress. Saucedo said she’s used Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat when her homework got boring or difficult.

She said she knows social media distracts her and has a negative  impact on  her grades. Saucedo also said she needs to learn “to put her phone away” when she does homework. Ravizza studied college students and found that they “were negatively affected in their three examinations carried out in the semester as well as their cumulative final examinations” due to social media.

Recent studies showed that students who use less social media are more likely to earn better grades. Part-time student, Candac Banales, has used social media platforms as an alternative to go out on the weekends. She enjoys watching funny videos on Instagram and Twitter and spends an average of three hours a day on each. Banales is a straight B student and she spends eight hours a day studying. She stays focused because she’s learned to separate free time from studying.

Banales is an example of a student having the capability to prevent social media from having a negative effect on them if they stay disciplined. The article “Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions toward Social Media

Usage and Academic Performance” by Mahdi M. Alamri studies the effects of social media from student’s perspective. Alamri found that social media allows students to seek academic help. It can also be used to “maintain a balance between social and academic activities.”

Social media becomes an issue when it stops students from doing their work effectively. The Article on the Qualitative Market Research Journal “Exploring social media addiction among student millennials,” found that “social media may exist in some respondents in a “near addiction” phase or the “social media addiction.”

Social media addiction stops students from focusing during class and it prevents them from doing their coursework at their full potential. ELAC students should recognize if social media has become a problem in their lives and form healthier habits that will improve their education.

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