'Social media overload' harms students' grades

Students who are burned out by an excessive use of social media are being warned that their grades may suffer if they don’t put down their phones.

With a new semester under way, a study has shown that excessive use of social media can have a negative impact on a young person’s academic performance.

The feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted by the amount of communication and information a person is exposed to is an “ever-increasing” problem known as “social media overload”, it said.

Research by the JE Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway found that social media overload is triggered by a “fear of missing out”, or FoMO.

It highlighted that third-level students who have high levels of this condition perform less well academically.

“Social media overload is becoming an ever-increasing problem in modern society, so it is important to understand its causes and consequences,” said lead author of the study Dr Eoin Whelan.

“Our study finds that people who have a high fear of missing out, or FoMO in modern parlance, are more likely to suffer social media overload.

“They will also perform less well academically, as being constantly bombarded by social media depletes the self-control needed to study diligently and develop one’s career.”

The use of social media is pervasive across the globe, with Facebook alone having 2.7 billion monthly users.

Dr Whelan added that while social media provides many advantages to users, researchers are now more closely scrutinising the problematic effects of platforms such as Facebook.

“The insights from our study can be used to develop targeted cognitive and technological interventions to mitigate social media overload,” he said.

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