Sunday, December 20, 2009

Is Facebook Distracting you from your College Goals?

Blogged by Educational Consultant, Lauren Kahn, M.A.

In October, Facebook reached 54.7 percent of people in the United States ages 12 to 17, up from 28.3 percent in October last year, according to the Nielsen Company, the market research firm. The average user spends 55 minutes of their day on Facebook, and I imagine this time is exponentially longer for teenagers.

While Facebook has many highly valuable services, it can also be a major distraction to getting things done.
Some teenagers are actually making the responsible decision during finals and near college application deadlines to temporarily disable their Facebook accounts. A forced vacation from Facebook during finals is something I highly recommend for my students. As a professional, I sometimes create a self-imposed break from by blocking it as an allowed site from my wireless network. Are you disciplined enough to self-regulate your exposure to facebook and other internet sites?

From NY
Many high school seniors, now in the thick of the college application process, are acutely aware of those hours spent clicking one link after another on the site. Gaby Lee, 17, a senior at Head-Royce School in Oakland, Calif., had two weeks to complete her early decision application to Pomona College. Desperate, she deactivated her Facebook account. The account still existed, but it looked to others as if it did not.
“No one could go on and write on my wall or look at my profile,” she said. The habit did not die easily. Gaby said she would sit down at the computer and find that “my fingers would automatically go to Facebook.”

In 'Alone Together' (Basic Books, 2010), Sherry Turkle, a psychologist who is director of the Initiative on Technology and Self at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discusses teenagers who take breaks from Facebook.
For one 18-year-old boy completing a college application, Professor Turkle said, 'Facebook wasn’t merely a distraction, but it was really confusing him about who he was,' and he opted to spend his senior year off the service. He was burned out, she said, trying to live up to his own descriptions of himself.
But Facebook does not make it easy to leave for long. Deactivating an account requires checking off one of six reasons — “I spend too much time using Facebook,” is one. “This is temporary. I’ll be back,” is another. And it is easy to reactivate an account by entering the old login and password.
After several failed efforts at self-regulation, Neeka Salmasi, 15, a sophomore at Greenhills School in Ann Arbor, Mich., finally asked her sister, Negin, 25, to change her Facebook password every Sunday night and give it back to her the following Friday night
Neeka quickly saw an improvement in her grades. Still better, she said, is that her mother no longer visits her room 'every half an hour to see if I was on Facebook or doing homework.'
'It was really annoying,' she said.
Last year, Magellan Yadao, 18, a senior at Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago, went on a 40-day Facebook fast for Lent.
(NY Times, December 20, 2009)
FREE ADVICE from Lone Star Ed Consulting, Lauren Kahn, M.A.

Another reason that I recommend high school seniors take a break from Facebook during this time period is the immense pressure to reveal your college acceptances or possible rejections on your FB wall. For many seniors, this is a particularly unkind year in regards to Early Action / Early Decision acceptances and Facebook is an automatic announcement of your college app status. Seniors, enjoy the holidays and spend time with your friends and family. Privacy is important and don't give away your college application statistics unless you are prepared for the aftermath in either direction.

The information was provided by Lauren Kahn, CEO of Lone Star Ed Consulting. If you would like more information about Lone Star Ed Consulting's college planning services, please e-mail Lauren Kahn or call her at 512-294-6608. You can also view LSEDC's brochure here.

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