Lately, I’ve spent quite a bit of time analyzing data we collected in the Fall of 2010. While I was conducting a completely unrelated analysis, I noticed differences in the mean time spent on Facebook by students in different classes so I thought I’d take a closer look.
I ran an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with student class rank as the independent variable, self-reported average minutes per day spent on Facebook as the dependent variable, and gender, ethnicity, and highest parental education level as covariates (N=2,346). For post hoc tests, I used the least significant difference (LSD) correction. The reason I chose to control for gender, ethnicity, and parental education level is because there’s plenty of research to show that these background variables are quantitatively and qualitatively related to technology use. If you’re not familiar with research on the digital divide, I highly recommend you read this paper on variation in Internet skills among youth.
Here’s what I found:
- First semester students (FF) spent as much time as sophomores (SO) on Facebook.
- First semester students (FF) and sophomores (SO) spent more time on Facebook than Juniors (JR).
- Juniors (JR) spent more time on Facebook than both Seniors (SR) and first year students not in their first semester (FR).
FF = SO > JR > SR =FR
So, first semester students and sophomores spent more time on Facebook than any other group. I’ve got my own thoughts about why this might be, but I’d love to hear what you think. Please share your ideas in the comments below.