Facebook hurting moral values, says study

Facebook comes under the wrath of new studies
Facebook comes under the wrath of new studies

Bite-size news fed to us on social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can make us immoral, says a new study by the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California.

According to the scientists who did tests on 13 volunteers measuring how long it took to emotionally respond to real stories of pain and heartache, we can't reflect properly on sad news that comes to use in quick micro chunks.

"If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people's psychological states and that would have implications for your morality," claims the report.

Apparently we need six to eight seconds to fully respond to emotional stories, and the constant barrage of 'infotainment' Facebook and Twitter users come in contact with everyday is harming this.

"In a media culture in which violence and suffering becomes an endless show, be it in fiction or in infotainment, indifference to the vision of human suffering gradually sets in," said Manuel Castells, a leading sociology expert at USC.

Facebook doesn't make the grade

If making us immoral wasn't bad enough, apparently heavy users of Facebook suffer from lower grades at school.

According to Time.com, a report by doctoral candidate Aryn Karpinski of Ohio State University and her co-author Adam Duberstein of Ohio Dominican University has found that children's grades in the US were linked to usage of the site.

A survey of 219 undergraduates found that the grade point averages (GPA) of Facebook users was a grade lower than non-users.

Speaking to Time.com about the report, Karpinski said: "Maybe [Facebook users] are just prone to distraction. Maybe they are just procrastinators."

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.