PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Harrisburg University students gave up Facebook and other social media for a week in September and said they were less stressed and more attentive to course work, according to a study published on Friday.
The university in central Pennsylvania blocked the use of media such as Facebook and Twitter for a week to study its effect on students and faculty.
The survey found that 25 percent of students reported better concentration in the classroom, and 23 percent said they found lectures and seminars more interesting.
Forty percent of students said they spent between 11 and 20 hours a day using social media, and several faculty and staff reported spending up to 20 hours a day with the tools.
“One has to believe that this level of usage would likely interfere with school work and jobs,” the survey’s authors said.
A third of students reported feeling less stressed because they were unable to use social media. The survey quoted one student saying she felt like she had taken a vacation for the week because she was not constantly checking her messages.
Some students and faculty rediscovered the value of face-to-face communications when they were unable to communicate electronically.
Several professors said their students more easily understood a difficult biological concept through a conversation with faculty than they had after trying to grasp it using social media.
One student said he actually had to talk to his professor during the blackout.
“The results suggest that a healthier, more productive life style was practiced by a significant portion of the students during the blackout,” the survey said.
Six percent of students reported eating better and exercising more during blackout week. And 21 percent used the time they usually spent on Facebook to do homework, whereas 10 percent said they spent the time usually spent on Facebook to read online news.
Reporting by Jon Hurdle, Editing by Greg McCune