Though not directly related to political science, this study has been floating around the Interwebs for a couple of days now. Apparently some Ohio State grad students have found that those who use Facebook in college get lower grades:
Read it, it’s interesting. Interestingness aside, though, this study seems a bit dubious, as well as what one could expect from the anti-social networking crowd.
So what? Saying that those who spend copious amounts of time on Facebook get lower grades is like saying those who spend a lot of time watching TV (instead of studying) get lower grades. Or those who play frisbee out on the library lawn (instead of studying) get lower grades. Or… you get the point.
There will always be students who will use whatever distraction is available in order to avoid studying, and in effect receive lower grades. What do you think? There are certain causal inferences here (though I think causation has been implied more by journalists than the researchers, big surprise) that are a bit risky. Reminds me of the continued freaking out over violent video games; are video games making kids violent, or are those predisposed to violence just more attracted to playing them? I think the same goes for this.. correlation does not imply causation.