Facebook is a social networking site, which co-founded by a student in Harvard University, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, providing tools like groups, games, photos, videos and status for social interaction among people. At the beginning, it only serves for students in Universities and High Schools. After opening to the public in 2006, the number of Facebook Users increases rapidly. In fact, according to the document that Facebook provided to listing, there already serve 845 million users around the world.
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There is no denying that in Hong Kong, Facebook has become one of the important parts in our daily life. In fact, according to the Facebook statistics conducted by Socialbakers, which is a global social media and digital analytics company, until 16, November 2012, there are already 4,057, 680 Facebook users in Hong Kong, which means that there are at least 5 Facebook users per 10 Hong Kong citizens and at least 8 Facebook users per 10 Hong Kong netizens. It is non-questionable of the popularity of the most famous social network- Facebook in Hong Kong.
However, due to the interactive functions and the social games, there are researches showing the possibility of getting addicted becomes higher. Moreover, there is a survey conducted by comScore, Inc., which is a leader in measuring the digital world, showing that Hong Kong citizens spending 8% of their online time on the social networking sites like Facebook in 2009. Since spending a longer time on Facebook may affect the efficiency and performance of employees, more companies ban employees using Facebook when they are working. Moreover, parents also start to concern the effect of using Facebook on the academic performance of their kids, especially when they are studying in Secondary School.
This concern isn’t built in a day. In fact, there are already lots of researches trying to find the relationship of using Facebook and the academic performance or how Facebook can be used to improve the academic performance. However, their researches tend to be one-side based, and always conclude that the longer time they use Facebook, the worse their academic performance.
After reading researches, statistics and news, we plan to do a research regarding the effects of Facebook on academic performance of Secondary School Students in Hong Kong since it is an alarming issue in the society. Moreover, two main constructs are built to estimate the effects of Facebook on the academic performance, which are ‘Balance of time’ and ‘Uses of Facebook’
For ‘Balance of time’, it simply means the effects of the relationship of time that secondary school students spend to go to Facebook and study to academic performance. It is one of the non-negligible factors that affect the academic performance and lots of researches already point out that the longer time using Facebook will definitely bring worse academic performance as less time is used for study. However, in this research, a further hypothesis is made, which will be explained later in the project.
For ‘Uses of Facebook’, it represents how secondary school students use Facebook, since different kinds of activities can be done in the Facebook, for example, playing games, sending email, forming a study group or a group to discuss about the project. Different kinds of uses can result in different kinds of academic performance. For example, there is no denying that students can have a better academic performance when they use Facebook to learn with their group mates or classmates. ‘Uses of Facebook’ is necessary to consider it as a factor as it has different kinds of impacts on the academic performance.
Moreover, the hypothesis isn’t made of one of the constructs. In this project, there are 4 hypothesis composed by three constructs as 2 main results of each construct can affect the final academic performance. As a result, 4 hypotheses are made based on the combination of the results of the constructs.
Details of constructs and hypotheses will be reviewed on the following chapter.
Constructs and Hypotheses
Determining how secondary school student using Facebook is important, different uses result in different effects of academic performance.
The initial purpose of Facebook was to allow university students to create and maintain social relationship between college and university students in different residence halls (Tajana and Marina). After a long-term development, it becomes so multifunctional that we can generally classify the user’s purposes into social uses, academic uses and recreational uses.
Chit-chatting, responding others’ new status or holding activities or events are classified as social use and used to maintain relationship. Academic uses includes communicating with teachers, doing group project together, asking friends academic-related questions, and discovering new things like the extra knowledge related to current study or own interest. Recreational uses include playing games, viewing others’ pictures and watching videos or following stars’ status.
Although, several studies have illustrated that students with more engagement in Facebook are more likely to academic success (Morrow, 1999; Steinfield et al., 2008), but only using Facebook with academic uses can directly and only benefit academic performance and the other uses are more likely to have negative impact on academic performance. Also, as Hwang et al. (2004) stated that social network act as a platform for students, peers and professors to communicate or explain in detail about what students have learnt on class. Asking questions for the study does not only consolidate their knowledge but also broaden their horizons from book’s knowledge to added knowledge, thus, giving them better academic performance.
Hypothesis A1: Facebook with academic uses, secondary school students are benefit on their academe.
Social proposes or recreational purposes are kinds of relaxation. So, for those purposes, there is no direct relation to the academic performance. However, it unintentionally results in consequences that adversely affect academic performance. After working all of the exhausted school works, students possibly devote too much time to Facebook on expense of studying for relaxation only and intensively. (Tajana and Marina)
Hypothesis A2: Facebook with social uses or recreational uses, secondary school students are distracted and adversely affected on their academe.
Balance of time
According to ‘Too much face and not enough books: The relationship between multiple indices of Facebook use and academic performance’, the amount of time students spend on Facebook will affect their academic performance. Lay and Schouwenburg (1993) Lay, C., & Schouwenburg, H. (1993). ‘Trait procrastination, time management and academic behavior. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality’, 84, 647-662. found that good time management skills to control the time to study and using Facebook are keys to academic success.
Everyone has twenty four hours per day and since the main responsibility of students is studying. If students spend too much time Facebook, they will have less time spend on studying which will directly badly affect their academic performance. For example, if students spend too much time on Facebook, they may have not enough time to revise quiz or do homework. Therefore, how students use their time strongly affect their academic performance.
This has also being proved in a research, ‘Facebook fans do worse in exams’ which shows that some university students only use one hour to study per week since they use too much Facebook and this badly affect their academic performance a lot. ‘Effect of online social networking on student academic performance’, a research which is based on an online survey has showed that time spend on Facebook shows negative correlation with academic performance. ‘The influence of time spent by students engaged in’ has shown that longer time students engaged in the social network, the lower their GPAs.
Even mature students as university students cannot manage their time well, whether secondary school students can is more questionable. As a result, studying how secondary school students use their time is one of the constructs of our research topic. Someone may argue that Facebook can also help to improve academic performance in different aspects and has been mentioned in the construct ‘Uses’. However, even Facebook can help academic performance in many ways, spending too much time on it is not good since the time used for normal studying still decreases. As a result, we conclude that
Hypothesis B1: Students can’t manage their time well and then finally lead to spending too much time on Facebook, Facebook will have negative impact on their academic performance.
Although those researches mentioned above always conclude that students using Facebook for too long will ultimately affect their academic performance. However, there are students with good time management skills in Hong Kong, so that actually if they can balance the time well, using Facebook will not have a big impact on their academic performance. As a result, we conclude that
Hypothesis B2: With good time management skills which means students can balance their time using Facebook and study well, Facebook will not have negative impact on their academic performance.
In this research, we do not only focus on studying the hypothesis of any one of the constructs, we also study the combination of the hypotheses of the constructs and their final effects on the academic performance. In fact, we conclude that there are four main kinds of effects and illustrate them in the table below.
Academic-related Uses (A1)
Recreational uses (A2)
Longer time on studying and shorter time on Facebook (B1)
A good result in academic performance
A greater scope of study (H1)
A good result in academic performance
The knowledge may only limited to the books (H2)
Shorter time on studying and longer time on Facebook (B2)
Worse result in academic performance
A greater scope of study (H3)
Bad effect on academic performance (H4)
H1: Needless to say, if students know how to balance the time using Facebook and the time of studying and only use Facebook for academic-related uses, this will definitely lead to the best effect on academic performance and has a greater scope of study since according to a case study from a research ‘Academic Use of a Group on Facebook Initial Findings and Perceptions’, it is found that using Facebook as academic tools like joining the Facebook academic study group, students are willing to apply course concepts to contemporary phenomena and made insightful contributions, for example, inside the study group mentioned by the research, a student start to share his opinions of the future role of Amazon’s Kindle and finally there was in-depth discussion on the topic. Through lots of sharing of ideas, students usually have an interest to dig up more information related to the topic, thus widen their scope of study.
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H2: This is one of the possible consequences, we hypotheses that students who use Facebook for a short time with recreational purpose but study a lot most likely result in a good academic performance. It is because in that case, students spend relatively more time on studying and use Facebook as a way to relive stress instead of use it as a tool to study so that they most likely miss the chance of widen their scope, although they can enjoy the good academic result from a relatively higher study time.
H3: This is another possible consequence, we hypotheses that using Facebook for a long time but if you use it for academic purpose. There is a worse normal academic result but the students can benefit from a greater scope of study. For the former, the reason is that although students using it for academic study, using Facebook too long still affect the normal revision, and result in a worse academic result. For the latter, as mentioned before, using Facebook as academic purpose encourages students to share and response other people’s idea and thus encourage them to collect addition information to share/answer, through this process, students are able to have a wider scope of study although he/she still has a relatively worse academic result than the students achieve hypothesis H1.
H4: Needless to say, focusing on using Facebook for a long time and only use it for recreational uses will definitely lead to a bad effect on academic performance
We will have two main research methods – questionnaire and using research done before. Using questionnaire is one of the easy-to-manage methods to get first hand data and it is reliable. However, due to the limitation of time and resources, we will also use other research to support our hypothesis.
The questionnaire is mainly composed of four parts – balance of time, uses of Facebook and academic performance. The details of the questions set, the reason of using these questions and measurement scale used will be discussed in the later part of this chapter.
We planned to create the questionnaire by using the tools of Google Drive and then distribute questionnaire to 80 secondary school students studying in Hong Kong through internet by using Facebook and well-known forum. After getting the data, we planned to compare them with the other researches to find out if there is any difference. However, because of the limitation of time, this part has been ignored in this research.
Balance of time
Do you have Facebook account?
This question is to check whether the respondent is a Facebook user. two options ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are given.
How much time you spend on Facebook per day?
This question is used to find out the amount of time students use in Facebook. They will be given a blank line to write the time in minutes or hours. The result will be converted into hours to facilitate the calculation. We will calculate the mean and standard deviation of the result. This question has been used in several researches including ‘Modeling educational usage of Facebook’, ‘The relationship between frequency of Facebook use, participation in Facebook’, ‘Facebook And Academic Performance’, ‘Students’ and Teachers’ uses of Facebook’.
How much time you spend on study per week?
This question is used to find out the amount of they use in studying. We use per week as the parameter because students may not study every day. Therefore, using per week will make the result more accurate. We are going to give a blank line to write their study in hours. We will do analysis on the data by rounding off them. This question has been used in several researches including ‘The relationship between multiple indices of Facebook use and academic performance’, ‘Facebook and Academic Performance’ and ‘Students’ and Teachers’ uses of Facebook’.
We will find the correlation between question two and question three to know whether using more time in Facebook will decrease the time they use in studying. We will also compare the time spend on studying of Facebook users and non-Facebook users to check whether using Facebook decreases time for studying.
Uses of Facebook
Referring to “FACEBOOK, ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE, MULTITASKING AND
SELF-ESTEEM” (Tajana and Marina), a five-point Likert scale was set to measure the Facebook purposes. However, since the majority of interviewees are likely to choose the middle one (3) when a five-point scale was applied, to make the result be more accurate , in present research, a four-point scale are used.
Since Hwang et al. (2004) stated that college students’ social networking with peers and professors can be a vehicle for gaining information and knowledge. As a result, communicating with teacher, Asking/Answering questions to peers or teachers, Doing project and Held activities are taking as examples for the positive relationship between the academic uses and the academic proficiency.
According to “Impact of Facebook usage on students’ academic achievement: roles of self-regulation and trust”, there is a distraction effect – users lose control over their main activity in favor of chatting or checking new updates or relaxing. So, chatting, seeing someone’s post, following star’s status and playing games are taking as examples for the negative relationship between the academic uses and the academic proficiency.
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