Why Facebook Is Bad For You

by DavalosMcCormack on April 16, 2009

Recently I’ve been inundated with emails from folks asking me to be their friend on Facebook or link to them on LinkedIn. Now, I have only recently joined both services and only because I am trying to figure out if they are any use for me in my daytime job.

So all of a sudden it’s a bit of a surprise to find people I haven’t heard from in years, or people I can’t even remember, asking if I want to be their “friend”.

Fortunately I am at an age where I don’t find it flattering that all these people are virtually clamoring around me. To be honest, I don’t care. I know that so many folks are nervous about the economy that they are trying to connect with anyone they have ever met – even if it was only while waiting for the number 47 bus – just in case that person proves useful one day.

Which is why when I read a new study from a researcher at Ohio State University, about Facebook, that it made perfect sense.

Aryn Karpinski found that students at college who use Facebook tend to spend less time studying and have a lower grade point average than students who don’t use it.

Facebook users, on average, had GPAs of 3.0 to 3.5 while non-Facebook users had GPAs of 3.5-4.0.

Now, this might strike you as one of those “duh” studies. Like, whatever, are you surprised! People who spend more time doing something other than studying end up with lower grades.

But then it struck me that I shouldn’t be looking down my nose at these students. This study reminded me that  I was fortunate to grow up at a time when the number of distractions available to me were really limited.

Young people today have it far harder in so many respects than I did growing up. They are bombarded with far more advertising, given so many conflicting ideas and messages than people in the past – it must make it incredibly difficult to figure out who you are and what you really want out of life.

Choice is a wonderful thing. But sometimes too much of a good thing can be really bad for you.

I have a short attention span, which is one of the reasons I went into TV news, I am easily distracted so catering to an audience with the same problems just made sense.

This study made me aware of just how much time I would have wasted on Facebook and Twitter and all the amazing video games that are around now that weren’t around when I was a student.

To think that I still managed to fritter away so many hours without these technological tools is incredible. To think how many more I would have frittered away if they were available is scary.

So, this study is not a statement that you shouldn’t go on Facebook, it’s just a reminder that distractions are all around us and that if we really want to do well, if we really want to excel, then we have to get rid of all the things that don’t matter and focus on those things that do matter.

Stand and Deliver

And one quick note. Since I recently became the delighted step-granddad to the fabulous Emma Danger I have spent a lot more attention to births and birth-related studies.

That is how I came across this study from the folks at the midwifery at the Yale School of Nursing.

They found that women who walk, sit or kneel during early labor can shorten the first stage of labor by about an hour.

After hearing my step-daughter scream in agony during her labor, any time you can shorten that you have to be onto a good thing.

And by walking, standing or just being active you can also reduce your need to use drugs during delivery… you are giving women even greater control over the progress of their labor.

As a man, even I can see that makes sense.

Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, Emma Danger’s mum and aunt both went to Yale, but  neither went to the school of Nursing or in fact probably even knew that Yale had a School of Nursing.

They were probably too distracted with Facebook and other such things!

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