International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 10(2), 49-59, April-June 2015 49
Copyright © 2015, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Social networks are becoming an integral part of people’s lives. Students are spending much time on social
media and are considered the largest category that uses such application. This study tries to explore the inu-
ence of social media use, and especially Facebook, on high school students’ performance. The study used the
GPA of students in four courses and their responses regarding the use of social media. Statistical analysis
is used to infer this relationship and its implications. Results indicated a support of this study aim and the
relationship between the different dimensions of Facebook inuence on students with respect to the time spent
on the Internet and Facebook specically. Conclusions and future work are stated at the end.
The Inuence of Social
Networks on High School
Emad Abu-Shanab, Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan
Heyam Al-Tarawneh, Ministry of Education, Jumanah High School, Irbid, Jordan
Keywords: Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Networks, Facebook, High School, Jordan,
Performance, Social Networks, Students
Social media (SM) is the fastest growing web
application in the 21st century. The diverse ap-
plications of SM like Wikis, video streaming
and applications, and social networks make
it the phenomenon of the century. Facebook
counted users topped all social media applica-
tions with over 955 million users in 2013, fol-
lowed by Twitter with 500 million users (www.
thecountriesof.com). Such huge user base is
comparable to countries, which indicates the
importance of such applications.
The age distribution of Facebook users is
concentrated on the younger categories where
300 million users are 18-24 years old, and
120 million users are between 13-17 years
old (www.quintly.com). The same source
indicated a nearly equal distribution of users
between males and females. In Jordan, users
of Facebook accounted for 2.5 million users
at the end of 2012, with similar Internet users’
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50 International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 10(2), 49-59, April-June 2015
size (www.internetworldstats.com). The last
statistics indicate that Jordanians use Facebook
through their mobiles, and the Internet. Such
high penetration (38%) is indicative of the
importance of Facebook and the social media
domain for young people.
The use of information and communication
technology (ICT) is an important factor that
opened doors for remote learning and remote
access of educational material. Such phenom-
enon is called “e-learning”, where ICT is used
as a facilitator of communication, assignment
management, and task collaboration. A study
in Jordan concluded that e-learning systems are
not fully utilized in Jordan and many applica-
tions are not used by students and instructors
(Abu-Shanab, Ababneh & Momani, 2012;
Abu-Shanab, Momani & Ababneh, 2012). Such
results indicate that it is important to reach
students wherever they are, and especially on
social media applications.
This study will explore the influence of
Facebook on students’ performance and how
they spend their time. As seen previously, young
Jordanians are the major category that uses
social networks, where they spend substantial
time on the net. Such issue is influencing their
academic performance. Research connected
school/university performance with Facebook
use. This study will try to empirically explore
such relationship regardless of its type of influ-
ence, bad or good.
The following section will explore the
influence of social networks. The following
section will cover a description of the research
method used in this research. Data analyses and
discussion of results will follow in the fourth
section. Finally, research conclusions and future
work will be depicted at the end.
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
A study by Abu-Shanab and Al-Tarawneh
(2013) explored the advantages and disadvan-
tages of Facebook utilizing university students.
A sample of 206 students responded to a survey
containing 10 advantages and 10 disadvantages
of Facebook, and yielded interesting results.
The study did not focus on students’ academic
performance, but took the issue as a general
view of social media influence. Social networks
are becoming major tools for education, and
entertainment. The human nature is keen on
interacting with people and finding common
areas and interests.
In education, two streams are prevailing:
the use of social networks as a tool supporting
activities deemed important for the purpose of
educational institutions, instructors, and stu-
dents. The second stream is the bad influence
social network inflicts on students behaviors and
time management. This study will explore the
relationship between performance and SN use.
The following sections will review the literature
related to the two streams and the performance
issue related to students.
2.1. The Advantages of SN
Research emphasized the importance of social
networks in influencing young people. A study
by Abu-Shanab and Frehat (2015) utilized
302 responses of young people in Jordan and
investigated the influence of social networks
on social reform through a conceptual model
with five predictors of intention to use social
networks and they are: satisfaction, isolation,
trust, social participation and intensity of SN
use. Results indicated a significant prediction
of intensity and isolation only.
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International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 10(2), 49-59, April-June 2015 51
Information and communication technolo-
gies (ICTs) are becoming important tools for
educational support. Computers and the Internet
are becoming more and more important in the
learning and teaching processes. With the advent
of mobile phones, especially smart phones, it
is becoming easier to reach students and even
utilize the capabilities of technology. A study
utilized three groups of students, where the
assignments and interactions where conducted
with three levels: 1) traditional methods, 2) fair
use of phones, and 3) extensive use of smart
phones in working on mathematical assignments
for school students (Nasser, 2014). The sample
included 58 secondary students in Qatar. Results
indicated a higher performance of the smart
phone group compared to the other two groups.
Facebook resulted in a significant improve-
ment in students’ performance in universities.
A study in a Vietnamese university concluded
that students using Facebook as a social media
has improved substantially with respect to their
grades (Tuan & Tu, 2013). The same study also
concluded that the improvements and value
of social network sites was not related to the
academic performance but also to the adaptation
to the social environment of school. The same
argument relating to social absorption by stu-
dents is reached by Gafni and Deri (2012), where
they emphasized the role of social networks in
socializing students and opening channels for
finding more academic resources, thus improv-
ing their academic achievement. Such result
was not supported for senior students, where
social absorption is less relevant at later years
and student experience might benefit more in
Social network is a strong tool for social
interaction and connection, where it can improve
family ties and friends in a rich social context. A
study on 161 Tunisian students concluded that
performance was improved because of students’
satisfaction with their family and friends rela-
tions (Rouis, 2012). The author emphasized
the role of multitasking as a moderator of such
relationships, where multitasking and students
interest in university will help enhance perfor-
mance based on Facebook use. Many studies
also focused on using SN applications, where
they categorized them as productivity tools.
Alonso et al (2013) listed many in their literature,
where they focused on mobile applications and
how they can accommodate the functionalities
of learning management systems. The use of
Facebook was associated with co-curricular
activities, which might be considered a posi-
tive influence by social media (Junco, 2012a).
Appendix A summarizes research that indicated
positive impact of social media on student
2.2. The Disadvantages of SN
The negative influences of SN on students’
performance are reported in research, where
a study by Haq and Chand (2012) utilized a
sample of 384 students and concluded that
Facebook use has an adverse influence on stu-
dent academic performance. The study noticed
that males and females spent equal time on the
Internet where females used Facebook more,
but males had more friends than females. The
important difference was that Facebook use had
an adverse influence on males’ performance than
females. The authors accounted such adverse
performance because males spend more time
on sports and games activities than females,
which caused a loss of time and a bad influence
It is imperative to realize that time spent
on social activities (using Facebook or other
social media) will be on the account of academic
performance. This logic is important regardless
52 International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 10(2), 49-59, April-June 2015
of the positive side we see in SNs. A study that
utilized students in a US university concluded
to a negative relationship between time spent
by students on online social networks and their
academic performance (Paul et al., 2012). The
authors pointed to the importance of attention
span devoted to multiple sources of attractions.
Such result indicates the importance of using
Facebook and other social media tools wisely
and towards a productive time in class rooms
and back home.
The same study motioned in the previous
section, regarding the improvement of social
absorption and academic achievement (Gafni
& Deri, 2012), concluded that using Facebook
by students consumes times and thus nega-
tively influencing academic performance. Using
mobile phones for texting and social network
access also was explored to see if it is related
to the engagement level in classrooms, where
research indicated that engagement is closely
related to teacher’s style and control. Also, the
use of social networks and mobile texting was
not related to lower performance results (Paul
& Gelish, 2011). Such issue emphasizes the
distraction that social media cause, but not to
the extent of risking academic performance.
Some universities embedded the use
of computers, tablets and other technology
channels in their educational setup. A study
that focused on the issue of multitasking in
classrooms concluded to the fact that students
who use ICT and involve in multitasking (ex-
amples like: text messaging, Facebook, internet
searching, emailing, and instant messaging)
would have lower GPA, which means lower
academic performance based on their behavior
(Burak, 2012). The study also related risk tak-
ing behavior to such use of ICT, and concluded
that multitasking would result in a higher risk
Social network use is related to personality
of students, where some students are influenced
more than others depending on their personal-
ity. A study of Swedish university students
utilized 239 undergraduate students filling a
survey related to their Facebook use (Rouis et
al., 2011). Results indicated that the extensive
use of Facebook by students with extraverted
personalities will lead to poor academic per-
formance. The authors concluded also that
self-regulation and goal orientation (related to
performance) characterized the students who
are more in control of this social activity, and
this better academic performance.
The time spent on using Facebook was
significantly associated with negative perfor-
mance of students in a study that used 3866
US students. The other indicator that showed
significant association with performance is time
spent preparing material for classes, where stu-
dents devoted some time for sharing resources
and material using Facebook or other social
media website (Junco, 2012b). Appendix B
summarizes the literature related to the negative
influence of Facebook on performance.
3. DATA ANALYSES
This study utilized a survey that consisted of
18 items measuring students’ attitudes and use
behavior of Facebook. The sample consisted of
all students of the eleventh grade in a public
school in the northern part of Jordan. Students
are enrolled in an IT stream of study in the
Jordanian high school system. Students filled
the survey without recognizing the grades
collected for five courses. The responses were
collected and keyed into SPSS and analyzed
for the purpose of this research. The five
courses of interest were: mathematics, Arabic
International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 10(2), 49-59, April-June 2015 53
Language, English language, accounting and
3.1. The Instrument and Sample
The instrument used utilized a previously set
of items related to SN use and adopted from
previous research (Al-Tarawneh, 2014). The
study proposed a set of items and a model but
not tested. This study extended the study and
used their proposed instrument to empirically
test our proposed research question. The authors
of this study pilot tested the instrument on 10
master students, where they tried to see if content
analysis and survey dimensions are validated.
The survey items then were mixed to try to make
students come closer to being more accurate as
they reported their names on surveys.
This study utilized all students enrolled
in the eleventh grade in a public school in the
northern part of Jordan. The study distributed
the instrument on students where they reported
their answers on the items and the n umber of
Internet/Facebook use. The total number of
students enrolled in the four classes totaled 122
students. The total number of usable collected
surveys was 113 surveys.
The first step is to estimate the reliability
of instrument using an estimate for internal
consistency. The value of Cronbach’s Alpha
for the 18 items was 0.888 (N=96). Such value
is very much accepted in social sciences. The
instrument included in this study contained the
name of student and a question related to the
number of hours spent on Facebook. A short
Table 1. Item descriptions, means and standard deviations
# Item description N Min Max Mean Std.
Q1 I find that I spent more time than I intended on the Facebook 113 1 4 2.65 1.04
Q2 I refuse to spend time on family activities to stay on the Facebook 113 1 4 1.88 0.99
Q3 I feel excited and thrilled when using the Facebook 113 1 4 3.03 0.98
Q4 I look for making more friends on Facebook 109 1 4 2.04 1.05
Q5 I spend long hours daily on Facebook 111 1 4 2.33 1.08
Q6 I neglect my assignments to spend more time on the Internet 111 1 4 2.06 1.06
Q7 I stay late at night when using the Internet and Facebook 112 1 4 2.38 1.06
Q8 My academic performance declined because of using Facebook 111 1 4 2.05 1.01
Q9 Life without Facebook is boring and empty of joy 110 1 5 3.13 1.04
Q10 I don’t tell my family the exact hours I spent on Facebook 111 1 4 1.71 1.07
Q11 I am disconnected from my friends because of using the Facebook 111 1 4 1.32 0.65
Q12 I am depressed and nervous when I am forbidden from using the net 113 1 4 2.35 1.18
Q13 I suffer from eye strain because of using the net 112 1 4 1.90 1.01
Q14 My Facebook use influenced negatively my academic performance 110 1 4 1.85 1.02
Q15 My use of Facebook and the net causes isolation from my world 113 1 4 1.96 0.90
Q16 My use of Facebook is causing me to abandon my study 113 1 4 2.01 1.03
Q17 My use of Facebook is causing me to neglect my religious duties 112 1 4 1.75 1.06
Q18 I feel relieved because of my new relations on Facebook 113 1 4 2.28 1.16
54 International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 10(2), 49-59, April-June 2015
description of each item used is described in
Table 1 below. When using a Likert scale of 4
points, all means ranging from 1-2 are consid-
ered low, 2-3 are considered medium, and 3-4
are considered high.
3.2. Students Perceptions
regarding Facebook Influence
The second step was to explore the means and
standard deviations of the sample responses
regarding the perceptional items. Table 1 de-
picts the data and the item description. Results
indicated that 2 items were highly perceived by
students (Q3 & Q9), 9 items were moderately
evaluated, and 7 items were perceived lower
(shown in Table 1). Also, it is obvious that the
highest items that were disputed are Q12 (de-
pression and nervousness influence) and Q18
(making friends on Facebook). Such result is
based on the standard deviation value which
means higher dispute in relation to such issues.
Also, the dimensions of the survey were
estimated using the means of specific items
and as shown in Table 2. The time spent on
Facebook and the Internet was converted from
a continuous scale (open question time) to a
categorical scale with seven levels (1-7) to avoid
the extreme values. Nearly each 2 hours were
allocated 1 degree except all responses higher
than 11, were allocated 7. Results indicated
that 3 dimensions were perceived moderately
(entertainment, health influence and SN con-
Table 2. The means and standard deviations of the dimensions explored
Dimension Items N Min Max Mean Std.
Performance index Q6, Q8, Q14, Q16, Q17 113 1 4 1.935 0.803
Entertainment index Q1, Q3, Q9 113 1 4 2.935 0.753
Health Influence Q12, Q13 113 1 4 2.137 0.912
Isolation index Q2, Q11, Q15 113 1 3.67 1.720 0.610
SN Connections Q4, Q18 113 1 4 2.177 0.982
Consuming time index Q5, Q7, Q10 113 1 4 2.137 0.859
Table 3. The correlation matrix
Dimension PI EI HI II SNCs CTI GPA
Performance index (PI) 1.000
Entertainment index (EI) 0.590** 1.000
Health Influence (HI) 0.514** 0.532** 1.000
Isolation index (II) 0.488** 0.493** 0.479** 1.000
SN Connections (SNCs) 0.261** 0.522** 0.299** 0.243** 1.000
Consuming time index (CTI) 0.569** 0.572** 0.472** 0.318** 0.416** 1.000
GPA -0.182 -0.047 0.005 0.024 -0.180 -0.186* 1.000
Time spent daily 0.493** 0.489** 0.376** 0.389** 0.233* 0.502** -0.058
*Significant at the 0.05 level
** Significant at the 0.01 level
International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 10(2), 49-59, April-June 2015 55
nections), and three were perceived low (per-
formance, perceived time spent in Facebook,
and isolation). The average time spent on the
web was 2.13, which reflects a low time level.
Finally, this study correlated the five dimen-
sions with GPA and the time spent on Facebook.
GPA is the average grade of student in the five
courses, where such value was added by re-
searchers based on student name. Grades were
reported by teachers of each course. Results
were surprising as all five dimensions (PI, EI,
HI, II & SNCs) were significantly correlated
with the time spent on Facebook. Such result
confirms our premise in this study, where the
time spent on Facebook is associated with all
dimensions of our focus in this study. Second,
the GPA is not related with any dimension
except the one related to consuming time. This
means that students reporting that Facebook
consumed their time or spent more time on
Facebook had lower GPA (negative correla-
tions). It is sometimes worth mentioning that
the some of the dimensions were close to be
significant when correlated to GPA, but not at
the 0.05 level (alpha value were slightly higher
than 0.05). Such result indicated that students
with lower GPA also reported higher SN con-
nections and higher negligence of performance
levels (negative correlations).
4. CONCLUSION AND
This study aimed at measuring the influence of
Facebook use on secondary school students. The
study used a survey and the GPA of students
in five courses of study. Also, the time spent
on Facebook or the Internet was reported by
students. Results indicated a full support of the
premise of the paper, as the higher the reported
time spent on Facebook the higher the levels of
students neglecting their duties and admitting
the lower academic performance (PI), also the
same with respect to entertainment, bad health
influence, isolation perception and Facebook
The GPA significantly correlated with the
time spent on Facebook, similarly with the re-
ported time by students as an hourly measure.
Such result indicated that the more time is spent
on Facebook, the lower GPA would be. Regard-
less of the reported benefits of Facebook in the
literature this study concluded that Facebook
negatively influenced students’ performance
and their social activities in the real world for
the aim of living an active life on cyberspace.
This study is one of the first to connect
perceptional reported estimates (measured
through a survey) with a real objective GPA
measure (students’ grades). Also, it comes in
an important era, where research is in conflict
regarding the advantages and disadvantages of
Facebook. On the other hand, this study suf-
fered from a limitation of depending on a self
reported measure of Facebook use. It is difficult
to measure student time on Facebook without
invading their privacy.
Future research is encouraged to improve
the instrument used and to reshape the dimen-
sions that constitute the influence of Facebook
on students’ performance. A more compre-
hensive model might serve the purpose of
research and conceptualize the issue related to
performance. Also, a larger sample might serve
better the large item size. Finally, this study is
confined to the sample used; a different sample
(males, other school levels, university students,
or other demographic factors) might improve
our understanding of this area.
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International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 10(2), 49-59, April-June 2015 59
Emad A. Abu-Shanab earned his PhD in business administration, in the MIS area from Southern Illinois
University – Carbondale, USA, his MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, and his Bachelor in
civil engineering from Yarmouk University (YU) in Jordan. He is an associate professor in MIS. His research
interest in areas like E-government, technology acceptance, E-marketing, E-CRM, Digital divide, and E-
learning. Published many articles in journals and conferences, and authored three books in e-government.
Dr. Abu-Shanab worked as an assistant dean for students’ affairs, quality assurance officer in Oman, and
the director of Faculty Development Center at YU.
Heyam Al-Tarawneh is a counselor in the Ministry of Education in Jordan. Earned her bachelor in educa-
tion psychology from the University of Jordan in 1987, and a diploma in special education from the same
university in 1994. She earned her master in education psychology from Yarmouk University in 2010. Her
research interest is in social performance and the behavioral influences of technology.