I was surprised to read that students’ use of social networks like Facebook could help boost their exam grades, according to new research that I read about in The Telegraph today.

I work with lots of parents (and teachers)  who disapprove but it looks like time on Facebook may help rather than hinder students’ performance.

In a study that could prove the perfect excuse for spending homework time on social networks, a university in Israel found that chatting to friends helps prepare for exams.

The right friends can even boost results !

The information could be used to determine those who need extra help as well as nurturing the interests of those likely to excel, found the researchers from the Ben Gurion University in Israel.

The only problem I can see is if kids are in the scanning and social mode of what is called a “NET state.”

There are 3 levels of “Net State”…they are:

• SKIMMING

• SEARCHING

• SEEKING

Each of the three states corresponds to the degree of mental and emotional arousal, attention and focussed engagement, as moderated by the Reticular Activating System [RAS]

Each state massively influences a students responsiveness to a message.

When kids are skimming they are usually  in a low state of arousal, a skimming is often something we all do for distraction or when we’re bored or procrastinating. Research shows that kids are least decisive or effective when they are in a  ‘skimming state’ because it’s the online equivalent of channel surfing.

If students are  online in Entertainment mode and in ‘skimming state’ they may start with a friend emailing them with an amusing YouTube clip. Then, once they’re on YouTube, then they can easily discover that they have wasted an hour hopping from one video to another video, or from one article to another – very off task, which can damage their concentration and make them a bit hyper and not really “absorbing” what they’re reading or watching.

However the  interesting thing that the University in Israel discovered was that social networking helped students to arrange help elsewhere, either in the classroom, informal meetings or in one-to-one conversations.

It also enabled users to chat with the best students and therefore improve their knowledge and understanding so it’s all about your child’s circle of influence. Here is one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite speakers that might be one to get your kids to ponder ……

“You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around?

What are they doing to me?

What have they got me reading?

What have they got me saying?

Where do they have me going?

What do they have me thinking?

And most important, what do they have me becoming?

Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”

~ Jim Rohn