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The purpose of this paper is to better understand the relationship between time spent on social media and time management in students. After and extensive literature review, a questionnaire was administered to a sample of 54 participants. After analyzing the results it was evident that there is a relationship between time spent on social media and time managing skills. Based on the results, recommendations and limitations were discussed.
The use of internet has been taken over by social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social media has become a popular tool amongst all generations these days. The use of social media has been increasingly growing among students of all ages.
Most students use at least one type of social media platform in their daily lives; therefore I thought testing the effects of these platforms on students would be useful. The aim of this research is to measure the effects of the use of social media on time management. This paper will also show the reasons behind this growing trend among students.
To help the generalizability of this study, around 60 students from different schools and universities were asked to participate by filling constructed questionnaires. These questionnaires were then closely analyzed to see how these platforms have been affecting students.
There is a growing interest on the effects of social media on students’ success and development (Abramson, 2011; Kamenetz, 2011). This interest on the effects of social networking is growing because as the data collected by EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) shows, 90% of their 36,950 student sample uses some sort of social media (Smith & Caruso, 2010). Studies have shown that teenagers are among the top users of social networking websites (Ahn, 2011). There has been a trend in studies suggesting that teenagers are spending a big portion of their daily life on social media websites (Ahn, 2011). Ahn defines SNS as social networking sites; she further explains that websites such as Facebook and MySpace fall into that category because they are web applications that use Web 2.0 principles (2011). O’Reilly defines Web 2.0 as websites that depend on the participation of normal users rather than content providers, he further explains that Web 2.0 websites sums up content from many sources and are websites that connect and network users and information together (O’Reilly, 2007). Ann questions the effect of these websites on the development of the youth stating that parents and teachers are concerned and frightened by this connection between the youth and social networking sites (2011). On the other hand, scholars suggest that educators should accept that students these days are using social media platforms to learn and that these educators should embrace these new platforms and use them to their advantage (Ito et al., 2009; Jenkins, 2006). However, many schools and universities block access to these websites (Lemke et al., 2009). Agichtein et al. argue that the content on social media websites vary from high quality content to spam and users should know how to find high quality information on these platforms (Agichtein et al., 2008).
Misra and McKean state that academic stress is caused by poor time management (2000). Lay and Schouwenburg define time management as a group of different actions that “facilitate productivity and alleviate stress” (1993). Academic performance is enhanced by effective time management (Campbell and Svenson, 1992). In his study, Anderson claims that although the average of internet use among students is 100 minutes per day, only a small group of these students use the internet to a degree that affects other tasks in their life (2001). University students are inclined to excessive use of internet (Anderson, 2001). Anderson stated that many students fail to manage their time on the internet (2001).
As shown by the literature review, while the use of social media is continually growing especially among teenagers, the main concern is whether this growing interest is effecting students’ time management causing an increase in stress levels among students and lower academic achievements. Social media has many uses, from networking to news to quality information but the concern is around whether these students are using these social media platforms for all these reasons and whether these users are managing to organize their time (Ahn, 2011).
Tool: Semi-structured questionnaire.
54 students of both genders participated in this study. Students in various countries from ages of 13 to 34 years answered the questionnaire.
Data were collected through online questionnaires. My questionnaire consisted of nine questions (five multiple choice, one scale, two text, and one checkbox question). I chose to put a little amount of questions with mostly multiple questions to be sure that the students would not get bored while answering and the answers would be as precise as possible, limiting bias.
The questionnaire was done on Google docs then sent by e-mail to some, and posted on a social media website (Facebook) to assure that there is a variety of ages and genders in the answers.
Student level is when the person’s career is determined; if the student is well aware that studying and other daily chores (sports, work, etc.) are the most important pillars in a student’s life, but they also have to know how to manage their time, they will excel in their futures so this study might be like a “wake up” call for students.
Later on, these results were translated into percentages in pie charts to help in building my analysis and interpretation stage which will help me answer my research question.
Analysis and Interpretation
Analyzing each question made me realize more and more on how much students are drowned in the pool of SNS, even though most know that it’s affecting their daily chores, starting with studying and ending with sports.
Students of middle school (4%), high school (72%), and university (24%) from ages 13 to 34 participated in this study. Both genders were involved in this paper 52% of which were males and 48 females. The diversity of respondents assures the variety of opinions present.
How much time do you spend on social platforms daily?
Only 4% of students do not use SNS daily, while 19% spend more than 4 hours on social media platforms. 11% think that checking these sites for less than an hour is enough for them; on the contrary 30% say that they spend three to four hours to get their daily “dose” of social networking. The 37% left spend one to two hours daily before performing other things in their daily life.
Type of social media?
Among 54 students 41% prefer Facebook to any other social media platform. 21% use Instagram, 19% use twitter, 7% use Google+. Only 11% use things other these SNS.
When asked about why do they use these platforms for and they were given the freedom to choose anything they want because it was an open-ended question, most students said that they spend their time communicating with people, or for general entertainment as well as staying up to date with everything eg. Politics, sports. In the meantime a very little amount said that they spend their time on these platforms for educational purposes.
As a student, how much time do you dedicate to studying daily?
Most students only dedicate one to two hours studying with a percentage of 44%. 20% spend three to four hours of their time studying while 17% say that they do not study on daily basis. 11 % study for less than hour, in the meantime 7% study for more than four hours daily.
How much time do you dedicate to other important chores daily?
When asked about the time spent for other important chores such as work or sports 44% of the 54 respondents said that they perform theses chores for one to two hours daily. 19% said that they perform chores for less than hour or not on a daily basis, while 9% percent said that they do so for three to four hours or more.
To what extent do you think social media affects your time management?
As a sub-question I asked their opinion on a scale from one to five (not at all to completely respictively) on how much they think SNS affect their time management as students to see if they were well-aware of what the great time on social media platforms affects their daily chores. 28% answered three to four on the scale while 20% thought it had a complete effect and only 6% said that it has no effects of all and 19% think that it has a very little effect.
Research question: Does social media have effects on students time management? According to the responses I got I realized that when you come to connect and analyze the questions about the dedication of time spent on important chores, studying, and social media platforms you realize that, on the choice that says “not on a daily basis” on 4% spend their day without using any of the SNS while 17% do not study on daily basis and 19% do not perform other important chores in a student’s life. Results are almost equal on the “less than an hour” choice with 11% for using social media 11% for studying and 19% for other important chores. At one to two hours the results favor the studying and other important chores more with 44% for both and only 37% for social media. What made me reach to a result for my research question is that when the hours increased, the usage of social media increased and the time spent on studying and other important chores decreased drastically after reaching their peak. On three to four hours, 30% spend time on SNS while 20% spend studying and only 9% perform important chores. 9% said that they perform important chores for more than four hours and 7% said they spend more than four hours studying while 19% use social media platforms for more than hours.
Sub-question: Are the students aware of the effects the SNS have on their time management?
After constructing a study on if the students are aware by the effects the social networking sites have on their time management I realized that they are somehow mostly aware. That is what made me wonder more and more, because if the students are unaware then maybe the parents must be blamed for the effects I found in my research paper, but after finding out that students know how much these sites have effects and they do not try to resist it then the students have to be blaimed for that.
After analyzing and interprating the results I recommend the teachers to try to help the students for overcoming the student’s time on social networking sites for uneducational means by using social media platforms for educational purposes so that the students spend their time learning on these sites rather than just for communication and entertainment. In this way I think students will (even if unintentionally) spend time learning. If they open Facebook for example and find out that the teacher posted an assignment there he will spend his time doing it rather than other stuff.
Due to time and cost limitations the scale in this study was relatively small. The genaralizibilty of this study could have been enhanced if a larger sample was studied. If it was not for these limitations a focus group or in-depth interviews might have helped enhance this study also.
Reflection on the Research Steps
Before starting the research it was something very close to a nightmare to me. Not knowing anything about it I was really afraid to even start with it or even read what it is about, all I knew about the word research is that it takes a lot of time to develop a good one.
Step 1 of the DRC was choosing a topic, it seemed very easy to me at first, but after going through the handout I realized that I had to choose a topic that I am aware of and at the same time something I was interested in because I had to read a lot about the topic. I was suffering at that moment; nothing came to my mind. I thought choosing a topic was easy, but it turned out to be very challenging. Choosing a topic was everything that was on my mind for 3 days until this topic came to mind and I thought it would be beneficial for the next generation and it was something I myself was suffering from.
Step 2 was to narrow down my topic and think about one specific point of my topic. After approaching to my teacher I was happy to know that the topic I chose from step 1 was already narrowed down, and I was ready to go to the next step. This gave me a boost because after my classmates were well ahead of me in step one I caught up with them.
After step 3 I was not disappointed in all the time it took me to choose my topic because step 2 and 3 were very easy to me. Step 3 was about narrowing it down more and more, and deciding what was your research question. Unintentionally I had that ready too. Maybe spending a lot of time on choosing a topic was not a nightmare after all.
Steps 4 to 6 were somehow similar to each other. I had to choose the method I wanted to gather information in. Thanks to Mr.Ammar Merhebi and his amazing explanation of what an interview was about and what a questionnaire is, it did not take me a lot of time to choose the online questionnaire method because I thought my topic needed me to take answers from a lot of people due to the high number of opinions and ways of living.
All credits go to my mentor; Mr.Ammar Merhebi for the time it took him to teach us how to enter everything on programs that would help in preparing and processing the data.
After each step I used to think of what I did and think that what I was doing is time wasting and not beneficial. Although the steps did not take me a lot of time but all what was on my mind was “Why do teachers love to interfere with our work and put everything into steps that would not even help when I want to start with my research paper?” That was not the case here, when I started with my study I had a look on my steps and I had most of the things done and ready for this project.
There were surely sometimes were I was very close to giving up and just going to anyone to do it for me in return for money, but I thank god that I took the correct road towards what I think a successful study.
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