FRIDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Media use is a serious distraction for college freshmen, with a new study finding young women devote up to 12 hours daily on pursuits such as texting, posting status updates and surfing the web.
And the more time spent using media, the research suggests, the worse their academic performance.
"The implication of these results would seem to be that reducing college students' media use might improve their academic performance," said study lead author Jennifer Walsh, an assistant professor at the Miriam Hospital Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine in Providence, R.I.
"However, given the central role media play in the lives of young people, this may not be a practical goal for educators and parents," Walsh added. Instead, she said, professors might try to integrate social media into their classrooms to remind students of assignments, suggest resources and connect them with classmates.
For the study, which was published in the April 11 online issue of the journal Emerging Adulthood, researchers surveyed nearly 500 female freshmen at a university in the northeastern United States.
They were asked to recall how they spent their prior week in terms of 11 activities: watching television or movies; listening to music; surfing the Internet; social networking; texting; talking on the phone; reading magazines, newspapers or non-school-related books; and playing video games.
GPA results were collected in January and June. The women were also asked to grade their academic confidence and to note potential problems such as lack of sleep, use of drugs or alcohol, and failure to attend class or complete homework.
When the likelihood of multi-tasking was taken into account (using media while engaging in other non-media-related activities), the authors found the students were devoting nearly 12 hours a day on average to med
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