Caught in the Web

When college students sit down to write papers or work on other homework assignments, it is very common for social networking sites to be minimized on their computers or even constantly streaming to them via smartphone. These networking sites can be huge distractions and make it difficult to complete assignments.

When asked about her Facebook being a distraction during homework, freshman Christa Rockney said that it is definitely distracting, “a billion percent” of the time.

According to CNN, many students struggle to sit down and write a paper without thinking, “I’ll check my Facebook just once before I start,” or “One tweet before I begin?” Then, once they can finally force themselves to exit the program and start their schoolwork, it is not long before they find another excuse to open the browser.

“It completely distracts me,” said freshman Kristen Jameson. “I think that no one wants to do homework anyway, so Facebook is just a good excuse to say you have something else to do.”

Getting your social media fix. Graphic by Laura Bramble.

It is important to set boundaries for yourself when it comes to the Web. Lifehacker.com advises that you give yourself a certain amount of down time in a day, which can be helpful in your control of social media and being connected. They also said that setting aside some specific time where you can freely browse the Internet is a good strategy because it allows you to “batch your distractions,” but only browse during those times. Don’t stress about it; this time should be relaxing and fun.

Then, always set aside a concrete time where you will do work, and make sure you do it. Use that time to get work done efficiently. If you have a lot of work to do, set aside 45 minutes at a time and work for that entire time, then use the next 15 minutes to catch up on social media and see what you’ve missed. You won’t get burnt out, but you will also get a good amount of work done.

Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr allow people to communicate and share some of their experiences with friends, family and loved ones that may live far away. These sites allow people to keep in touch, share ideas and communicate with people that share common interests. However, there is a point where logging onto these sites becomes too much. Distraction and low motivation can kick in and cause many problems for many students, and the stronger social media gets, the worse the problems become.

“Facebook is a huge distraction, but it all comes down to time management and self-control about when and how long to use Facebook when you have homework,” said freshman Emily Thompson.