STUDY: College Students From Wealthier, Educated Families More Likely To Use Facebook Features

By David Cohen 

The more wealth and education in college students’ families, the more likely they are to share on Facebook, according to a recent study by Purdue University Libraries Associate Prof. Reynol Junco.

Junco surveyed 2,359 college students averaging 22 years old, The Huffington Post reported, and he found that regardless of background, respondents spent an average of 101 minutes per day on the social network.

However, socioeconomic status came into play when analyzing activities on Facebook, as Junco found that respondents whose parents had completed lower levels of education were less likely to tag photos, send private messages, chat, or create or RSVP to events.

Junco wrote, as reported by HuffPost:

It can be concluded that those from lower SES (socioeconomic status) are less likely to use Facebook for exactly the types of activities for which Facebook was created — communicating, connecting, and sharing with others. Failure to connect in these ways could deprive students of the benefits of participation on such sites, such as increased social capital, improved social integration, opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, and improving the technological and communication skills valued in today’s workplace.

Take, for example, those students who are from lower SES and how they use Facebook — they are less likely to use it for communication and connection. Since Facebook is one of the primary communication sources for most college students, these students are at a disadvantage when attempting to build a social support system to help them integrate in their college environment.

And he added in an interview with HuffPost:

One of the things we know from the retention literature is that students have to feel a sense of connection to the institution within their first three to six weeks, and if they don’t feel a sense of connection to the institution … then they’re at risk of not coming back. The activities they engage in on Facebook — information seeking, sharing videos, sharing pictures, tagging things — are a way they also interact with other people.

Readers: Are you surprised at Junco’s findings that socioeconomic status determines Facebook usage by college students?

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