Feeds

Profs: Facebook, Twitter users are lazy, thick, amoral

Worthless as people, as well as commercially

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Fresh research from America confirms that online social networks are in fact playthings of the devil. Ohio profs say that use of Facebook leads to lower college grades, and others in California have found that Twitter gradually renders its users' moral compasses untrustworthy.

First up comes Aryn Karpinski of Ohio State Uni, with the news that Facebook users (at least those in her survey) are lazy, self-deluding thickies.

"There's a disconnect between students' claim that Facebook use doesn't impact their studies, and our finding showing they had lower grades and spent less time studying," says Karpinski.

The PhD candidate collaborated with Adam Duberstein of Ohio Dominican Uni, surveying 219 students at Ohio State. These included 102 undergraduate students and 117 graduate students. Of the participants, 148 said they had a Facebook account. Some 85 percent of undergraduates were Facebook users, while only 52 percent of graduate students had accounts.

The Facebook users had grade point averages (GPAs) between 3.0 and 3.5 (in other words getting more Bs than As), while non-users averaged between 3.5 and 4.0 (more As than Bs)*.

Also, "students who spent more time working at paid jobs were less likely to use Facebook," according to Ohio State.

"There may be other factors involved, such as personality traits, that link Facebook use and lower grades," adds Karpinski, who doesn't have a Facebook account herself.

"It may be that if it wasn't for Facebook, some students would still find other ways to avoid studying, and would still get lower grades. But perhaps the lower GPAs could actually be because students are spending too much time socializing online."

Meanwhile, neuroscientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have suggested that too much use "rapid-fire media" - specifically, Twitter - "may confuse your moral compass".

"Lasting compassion in relationship to psychological suffering requires a level of persistent, emotional attention," says Manuel Castells, holder of the Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society at USC.

It seems that USC neuro-boffins hooked people up to brain monitoring gear and measured their responses to stories told in different ways about different subjects.

According to the USC statement:

The study raises questions about the emotional cost — particularly for the developing brain — of heavy reliance on a rapid stream of news snippets obtained through television, online feeds or social networks such as Twitter.

"If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people's psychological states and that would have implications for your morality," says Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, prof at USC's Brain and Creativity Institute.

The USC researchers seem to suggest that learning things mainly through a constant stream of short, depersonalised info-nuggs will restrict a person's ability to empathise with the people in the stories being told - to admire them, feel their pain or whatever.

Essentially, over-heavy Twitter use will make you cold, cynical and facile - ultimately leaving you heartless and dead inside.

"Indifference to the vision of human suffering gradually sets in," says Castells.

There's more from Ohio on Facebook making you thick/appealing primarily to lazy thickies here, and from California on Twitter making you dead inside/appealing primarily to the facile and amoral here. ®

Bootnote

*Most US grade point scoring systems award 4 for each A, 3 for each B etc. If you get nothing but As, you achieve a 4.0 "perfect" grade point average or GPA. However, some institutions and organisations will give more than four points for A+, and others use different systems entirely, so as usual it isn't entirely simple.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.