Facebook Use, Personality Characteristics and Academic Performance: A Case Study

Facebook Use, Personality Characteristics and Academic Performance: A Case Study

Georgia Sapsani (University of Patras, Patras, Greece) and Nikolaos Tselios (Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education, University of Patras, Patras, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/IJWLTT.2019040101
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The present article examines the relationship between student personality, use of social media and their academic performance and engagement. Specifically, this article examines the relationship of students' Facebook (FB) use and personality characteristics using the Big Five Personality Test. This is focused on (a) student engagement; (b) time spent preparing for class; (c) time spent in co-curricular activities; and (d) academic performance. 204 higher education students participated in the study. Results illustrate that FB time was significantly positively correlated to student engagement and time spent preparing for class. Sharing links activity was positively correlated with student engagement and playing FB games with time spent preparing for class. However, sending private messages and status updates were significantly negatively correlated with student engagement and time spent preparing for class. Also, viewing videos was negatively correlated with time spent in co-curricular activities. Chatting on FB and viewing photos found to be the most popular activities. Moreover, students' extraversion, conscientiousness, openness to experience were positively correlated to student engagement. In addition, extraversion had a positive relationship with time spent in co-curricular activities, although agreeableness had a negative relationship. Implications of the study for the instructors and the students are also discussed.
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The last few years, an important penetration of the Web 2.0 technologies in different aspects of the sociο-economic activities has been observed (Straus et al., 2014, Orfanou, Tselios, & Katsanos, 2015, Katsanos, Tselios, & Xenos, 2012). Junco and Cole‐Avent (2008) examined the technologies used by students. Some of these are already been used (e.g. FB) or present the potential to be used to enhance students’ learning experience. In specific, the technologies which can be used for educational purposes are the following: social media (such as FB, myspace), blogs, other services that permit the user to create context (i.e. YouTube, Picasaweb), instant messages using FB and myspace, cell phones and virtual worlds (Junco & Cole‐Avent, 2008).

Nowadays, social networks such as Facebook, and Twitter constitute a part of the citizens’ daily life in the modern societies. According to Junco (2014a, p. 6), social networks are considered as implementations, services and systems that let the user create and share data with other users. Social networks replaced to a great extent, message sending and phone calls. Digital devices are being used especially from youngsters for the use of the social networks which help them communicate with each other almost instantly and with low cost.

Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) investigated the relationship between FB use and the formation and preservation of the social capital. They found a strong relation between FB use and the three types of social capital (bridging, bonding, and maintained). Furthermore, they found that FB use interacts with measures of the phycology health, suggesting that is possible to offer bigger advantages for the users that present low self-confidence and satisfaction in life (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007).

Moreover, social networks are extensively used in educational settings (Altanopoulou, Tselios, Katsanos, Georgoutsou, & Panagiotaki, 2015, Lopes, Fidalgo-Neto, & Mota, 2017). However, their ever-increasing use has received some forms of criticism. The claim that the use of social networks in education involves many risks in students’ performance is widespread. However, this is mainly attributed to the way students use them and not to their inherent nature (Junco, 2014a). One peril is called “multitasking”, namely the execution of many actions at the same time, for instance sending a message to a friend while studying for an examination (Junco, 2014a). Other risks which can lead to lower student performance are using the laptop computer, sending instant messages and carrying out specific actions on FB during the lesson or while completing a learning task (Junco, 2014a). Moreover, Junco and Cotten (2011) found that extensive use of instant messaging had a negative effect on their academic tasks. The risks, which were referred above, may be some of the reasons that some teachers possess the perception that social networks, especially FB, have a detrimental effect on students’ academic performance.

To further explore the issue, Junco and Cotten (2012) examined the effect of multitasking on educational results. The aim was to investigate how students interact with the technologies of information and communication (ICT’s) and the effect of ICT use on students’ GPA (Junco & Cotten, 2012). It was demonstrated that students spend enough time using ICT’s, on which they don’t search for context related to the modules but use FB, email, instant messages, talk on their cell phones and text, while doing schoolwork (Junco & Cotten, 2012). By using hierarchical regression, it was found that using FB and texting while doing homework were negatively associated with overall college GPA.

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