Facebook might get something of a bad rap sometimes. Let’s face it, if you’re spending all day poking your friends – yes, that sounds as bad in text as it did in my head – then chances are you won’t be pulling up any trees in school. At least, that’s what we and half the planet probably thought.

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A new study – and resulting humungous infographic -  suggests that Facebook might not be the death of brain cells that we thought it was, as research suggests that spending time on the social network perhaps isn’t as damaging as first thought.

According to a handy – well, not so handy, just look at the size of the thing! – infographic, your average Facebook users spends just under two hours a day on the social network. Now, if you spend an extra 1.5 hours over that average on Facebook, then your GPA will only fall by around 0.12 points. To put that into perspective, a student’s high school GPA is over twice as representative of how they will perform in college than their use of Facebook.

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It is easy to see where the confusion lies. Would you expect someone to do well at college when they spend nearly 4 hours a day checking their friends’ Facebook status updates, tagging themselves in photos and generally doing nothing very useful? Probably not, but as it turns out, you’d need to be spending an awful lot of time on Facebook before it would be a good indicator of how well a student will do when at college.

We’d like to see similar metrics for things like Twitter, writing blog posts or perhaps even playing games on an iPad or an iPhone. I really can’t figure out why we should miss out on the iPod touch users here.

Of course, Facebook is an easy target. Why blame kids just not being as clever as they used to be on poor schools or tutors, when you can blame that evil Mark Zuckerberg and his cronies?

As TNW’s Alex Wilhelm says, if a kid isn’t going to do their work, then they aren’t going to do their work, regardless of whether they are using Facebook or not.

Conspiracy theories? Us? Never!

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