Social Media Use, School Connectedness, and Academic Performance Among Adolescents

  • Hugues Sampasa-KanyingaEmail author
  • Jean-Philippe Chaput
  • Hayley A. Hamilton
Original Paper


We examined the associations between social media use (SMU) and school connectedness and academic performance among middle and high school students, and tested whether age, gender, and school type (i.e., middle school vs. high school) moderated these relationships. We obtained study data from the 2013 cycle of the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, a representative province-wide cross-sectional survey of students in grades 7 through 12 (N = 10,076). We performed multiple linear regression analyses to examine the nature of the association between SMU and both school connectedness and academic performance. Because school type was a significant moderator of the relationships between social media use and school connectedness, all subsequent analyses were stratified by school type. After adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, subjective socioeconomic status and substance use, results showed that SMU of 2 h or less per day was positively associated with high levels of school connectedness in high school students (β = 0.402; 95% CI 0.199, 0.605). However, an SMU of more than 2 h per day was negatively associated with school connectedness in middle school students (β = − 0.393; 95% CI − 0.649, − 0.137) and with academic performance in both middle school (β = − 0.153; 95% CI − 0.299, − 0.006) and high school (β = − 0.203; 95% CI − 0.323, − 0.083) students. Results further indicated that the relationship between SMU and school connectedness in high school students significantly varied by age, with stronger associations in older students. Gender was not a significant moderator of the observed relationships. In conclusion, heavy SMU is negatively associated with school connectedness and academic performance among middle and high school students. These results suggest that adolescents should limit their SMU to no more than 2 h per day.


Social media School connectedness Academic performance Adolescents Canadian 



The Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, a Centre for Addiction and Mental Health initiative, was funded in part through ongoing support from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, as well as targeted funding from several provincial agencies.

Compliance With Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

10935_2019_543_MOESM1_ESM.tif (30 kb)
Supplement 1 A conceptual framework on the associations between social media use and school connectedness and academic performance among middle and high school students. *Only for the association between social media use and academic performance (TIFF 30 kb)


  1. Abu-Shanab, E., & Al-Tarawneh, H. (2015). The influence of social networks on high school students’ performance. International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 10(2), 49–59. Scholar
  2. Ahn, D., & Shin, D.-H. (2013). Is the social use of media for seeking connectedness or for avoiding social isolation? Mechanisms underlying media use and subjective well-being. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(6), 2453–2462. Scholar
  3. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Ainin, S., Naqshbandi, M. M., Moghavvemi, S., & Jaafar, N. I. (2015). Facebook usage, socialization and academic performance. Computers & Education, 83, 64–73. Scholar
  5. Alhabash, S., Park, H., Kononova, A., Chiang, Y.-H., & Wise, K. (2012). Exploring the motivations of Facebook use in Taiwan. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(6), 304–311. Scholar
  6. Allen, K. A., Ryan, T., Gray, D. L., McInerney, D. M., & Waters, L. (2014). Social media use and social connectedness in adolescents: The positives and the potential pitfalls. The Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 31(1), 18. Scholar
  7. Al-Menayes, J. (2014). The relationship between mobile social media use and academic performance in university students. New Media and Mass Communication, 25, 23–29.Google Scholar
  8. Al-Menayes, J. J. (2015). Social media use, engagement and addiction as predictors of academic performance. International Journal of Psychological Studies, 7(4), 86.Google Scholar
  9. Anderman, E. M. (2002). School effects on psychological outcomes during adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(4), 795. Scholar
  10. Asare, M., & Danquah, S. A. (2015). The relationship between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and mental health in Ghanaian adolescents. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 9, 11. Scholar
  11. Bar-On, M. E., Broughton, D. D., Buttross, S., Corrigan, S., Gedissman, A., De Rivas, M. R. G., et al. (2001). Children, adolescents, and television. Pediatrics, 107(2), 423–426. Scholar
  12. Boak, A., Hamilton, H. A., Adlaf, E. M., & Mann, R. E. (2013). Drug use among Ontario students: 1977–2013. Detailed OSDUHS findings (CAMH Research Document Series No. 36). Toronto, ON.Google Scholar
  13. Bond, L., Butler, H., Thomas, L., Carlin, J., Glover, S., Bowes, G., et al. (2007). Social and school connectedness in early secondary school as predictors of late teenage substance use, mental health, and academic outcomes. Journal of Adolescent Health, 40(4), 357e9. Scholar
  14. Bonny, A. E., Britto, M. T., Klostermann, B. K., Hornung, R. W., & Slap, G. B. (2000). School disconnectedness: Identifying adolescents at risk. Pediatrics, 106(5), 1017–1021. Scholar
  15. Burusic, J., & Karabegovic, M. (2013). The role of students’ personality traits in the effective use of social networking sites in the educational context. In Ġorġ Mallia (Ed.), The social classroom: Integrating social network use in education (pp. 224–243). Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing.Google Scholar
  16. Catalano, R. F., Haggerty, K. P., Oesterle, S., Fleming, C. B., & Hawkins, J. D. (2004). The importance of bonding to school for healthy development: Findings from the Social Development Research Group. Journal of School Health, 74(7), 252–261. Scholar
  17. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). Promoting individual, family, and community connectedness to prevent suicidal behavior. Atlanta, GA: Centers Disease Control and Prevention.Google Scholar
  18. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009). School connectedness: Strategies for increasing protective factors among youth. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
  19. Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 3, 7.Google Scholar
  20. Courser, M. W., Shamblen, S. R., Lavrakas, P. J., Collins, D., & Ditterline, P. (2009). The impact of active consent procedures on nonresponse and nonresponse error in youth survey data: Evidence from a new experiment. Evaluation Review, 33(4), 370–395. Scholar
  21. Dewald, J. F., Meijer, A. M., Oort, F. J., Kerkhof, G. A., & Bögels, S. M. (2010). The influence of sleep quality, sleep duration and sleepiness on school performance in children and adolescents: A meta-analytic review. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 14(3), 179–189. Scholar
  22. Dornbusch, S., Erickson, K., Laird, J., & Wong, C. (2001). The relation of family and school attachment to adolescent deviance in diverse groups and communities. Journal of Adolescent Research, 16, 26. Scholar
  23. Faulkner, G. E., Adlaf, E. M., Irving, H. M., Allison, K. R., & Dwyer, J. (2009). School disconnectedness: Identifying adolescents at risk in Ontario. Canada. Journal of School Health, 79(7), 312–318. Scholar
  24. Furlong, M. J., O’Brennan, L. M., & You, S. (2011). Psychometric properties of the Add Health School Connectedness Scale for 18 sociocultural groups. Psychology in the Schools, 48(10), 986–997.Google Scholar
  25. Geusens, F., & Beullens, K. (2018). The association between social networking sites and alcohol abuse among Belgian adolescents. Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications, 30(4), 207–216. Scholar
  26. Goodenow, C., & Grady, K. E. (1993). The relationship of school belonging and friends’ values to academic motivation among urban adolescent students. The Journal of Experimental Education, 62(1), 60–71.Google Scholar
  27. Goodman, E., Adler, N. E., Kawachi, I., Frazier, A. L., Huang, B., & Colditz, G. A. (2001). Adolescents’ perceptions of social status: Development and evaluation of a new indicator. Pediatrics, 108(2), E31. Scholar
  28. Grieve, R., Indian, M., Witteveen, K., Tolan, G. A., & Marrington, J. (2013). Face-to-face or Facebook: Can social connectedness be derived online? Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 604–609. Scholar
  29. Jacobsen, W. C., & Forste, R. (2011). The wired generation: Academic and social outcomes of electronic media use among university students. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(5), 275–280. Scholar
  30. Junco, R. (2012). Too much face and not enough books: The relationship between multiple indices of Facebook use and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(1), 187–198. Scholar
  31. Karpinski, A. C., Kirschner, P. A., Ozer, I., Mellott, J. A., & Ochwo, P. (2013). An exploration of social networking site use, multitasking, and academic performance among United States and European university students. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 1182–1192. Scholar
  32. Kautiainen, S., Koivusilta, L., Lintonen, T., Virtanen, S. M., & Rimpela, A. (2005). Use of information and communication technology and prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents. International Journal of Obesity (London), 29(8), 925–933. Scholar
  33. Kio, S. I. (2015). Extending social networking into the secondary education sector. British Journal of Educational Technology, 47(4), 721–733. Scholar
  34. Kirschner, P. A., & Karpinski, A. C. (2010). Facebook® and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6), 1237–1245. Scholar
  35. Klem, A. M., & Connell, J. P. (2004). Relationships matter: Linking teacher support to student engagement and achievement. Journal of School Health, 74(7), 262–273. Scholar
  36. Kolek, E. A., & Saunders, D. (2008). Online disclosure: An empirical examination of undergraduate Facebook profiles. NASPA Journal, 45(1), 1–25.Google Scholar
  37. Kraut, R., Patterson, M., Lundmark, V., Kiesler, S., Mukophadhyay, T., & Scherlis, W. (1998). Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being? American Psychologist, 53(9), 1017. Scholar
  38. Kuss, D., & Griffiths, M. (2017). Social networking sites and addiction: Ten lessons learned. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(3), 311. Scholar
  39. Lambić, D. (2016). Correlation between Facebook use for educational purposes and academic performance of students. Computers in Human Behavior, 61, 313–320. Scholar
  40. Lau, W. W. (2017). Effects of social media usage and social media multitasking on the academic performance of university students. Computers in Human Behavior, 68, 286–291.Google Scholar
  41. Lei, J., & Zhao, Y. (2007). Technology uses and student achievement: A longitudinal study. Computers & Education, 49(2), 284–296. Scholar
  42. Lemola, S., Perkinson-Gloor, N., Brand, S., Dewald-Kaufmann, J. F., & Grob, A. (2015). Adolescents’ electronic media use at night, sleep disturbance, and depressive symptoms in the smartphone age. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(2), 405–418. Scholar
  43. Lenhart, A. (2015). Mobile access shifts social media use and other online activities. In Teens, social media & technology overview 2015. Pew Research Center, Internet & Technology. Accessed 19 Feb 2019.
  44. Leung, L. (2013). Generational differences in content generation in social media: The roles of the gratifications sought and of narcissism. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 997–1006. Scholar
  45. Lonczak, H. S., Abbott, R. D., Hawkins, J. D., Kosterman, R., & Catalano, R. F. (2002). Effects of the Seattle social development project on sexual behavior, pregnancy, birth, and sexually transmitted disease outcomes by age 21 years. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 156(5), 438–447.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Moreno, M. A., Parks, M. R., Zimmerman, F. J., Brito, T. E., & Christakis, D. A. (2009). Display of health risk behaviors on MySpace by adolescents: Prevalence and associations. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 163(1), 27–34. Scholar
  47. Neel, C. G. O., & Fuligni, A. (2013). A longitudinal study of school belonging and academic motivation across high school. Child Development, 84(2), 678–692. Scholar
  48. Niehaus, K., Rudasill, K. M., & Rakes, C. R. (2012). A longitudinal study of school connectedness and academic outcomes across sixth grade. Journal of School Psychology, 50(4), 443–460. Scholar
  49. Osterman, K. F. (2000). Students’ need for belonging in the school community. Review of Educational Research, 70(3), 323–367. Scholar
  50. Pasek, J., More, E., & Hargittai, E. (2009). Facebook and academic performance: Reconciling a media sensation with data. First Monday. Scholar
  51. Paul, J. A., Baker, H. M., & Cochran, J. D. (2012). Effect of online social networking on student academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(6), 2117–2127. Scholar
  52. Pfeil, U., Arjan, R., & Zaphiris, P. (2009). Age differences in online social networking–A study of user profiles and the social capital divide among teenagers and older users in MySpace. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(3), 643–654. Scholar
  53. Quinn, S., & Oldmeadow, J. A. (2013). Is the igeneration a ‘we’ generation? Social networking use among 9- to 13-year-olds and belonging. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 31(1), 136–142. Scholar
  54. Resnick, M. D., Harris, L. J., & Blum, R. W. (1993). The impact of caring and connectedness on adolescent health and well-being. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 29(Suppl 1), S3–S9. Scholar
  55. Rideout, V. J. (2015). The common sense census: Media use by tweens and teens. Common Sense Media Incorporated. Accessed June 19, 2018.
  56. Ryan, T., Allen, K. A., Gray, D. L., & McInerney, D. M. (2017). How social are social media? A review of online social behaviour and connectedness. Journal of Relationships Research, 8, e8. Scholar
  57. Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., & Chaput, J. P. (2016a). Use of social networking sites and adherence to physical activity and screen time recommendations in adolescents. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 13(5), 474–480. Scholar
  58. Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., & Chaput, J. P. (2016b). Use of social networking sites and alcohol consumption among adolescents. Public Health, 139, 88–95. Scholar
  59. Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., Chaput, J. P., & Hamilton, H. A. (2015). Associations between the use of social networking sites and unhealthy eating behaviours and excess body weight in adolescents. British Journal of Nutrition, 114(11), 1941–1947. Scholar
  60. Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., Chaput, J. P., & Hamilton, H. A. (2016). Use of social networking sites and perception and intentions regarding body weight among adolescents. Obesity Science and Practice, 2(1), 32–39. Scholar
  61. Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., & Hamilton, H. A. (2015a). Social networking sites and mental health problems in adolescents: The mediating role of cyberbullying victimization. Europian Psychiatry, 30(8), 1021–1027. Scholar
  62. Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., & Hamilton, H. A. (2015b). Use of social networking sites and risk of cyberbullying victimization: A population-level study of adolescents. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 18(12), 704–710. Scholar
  63. Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., & Hamilton, H. A. (2016). Does socioeconomic status moderate the relationships between school connectedness with psychological distress, suicidal ideation and attempts in adolescents? Preventive Medicine, 87, 11–17. Scholar
  64. Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., & Hamilton, H. A. (2017). Eating breakfast regularly is related to higher school connectedness and academic performance in Canadian middle- and high-school students. Public Health, 145, 120–123. Scholar
  65. Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., & Hamilton, H. A. (2018). Use of social networking sites is associated with electronic cigarette and waterpipe use among adolescents. Public Health, 164, 99–106. Scholar
  66. Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., & Lewis, R. F. (2015). Frequent use of social networking sites is associated with poor psychological functioning among children and adolescents. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 18(7), 380–385. Scholar
  67. Seabrook, E. M., Kern, M. L., & Rickard, N. S. (2016). Social networking sites, depression, and anxiety: A systematic review. JMIR Mental Health, 3(4), e50.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  68. Sheldon, K. M., Abad, N., & Hinsch, C. (2011). A two-process view of Facebook use and relatedness need-satisfaction: Disconnection drives use, and connection rewards it. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1(s), 2–15. Scholar
  69. Singer, M. I., Slovak, K., Frierson, T., & York, P. (1998). Viewing preferences, symptoms of psychological trauma, and violent behaviors among children who watch television. Journal of the American Acadademy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37(10), 1041–1048. Scholar
  70. Statistics Canada. (2006). Census 2006 - 2B (long form). Ottawa. Accessed 19 Feb 2019.
  71. Steinfield, C., Ellison, N. B., & Lampe, C. (2008). Social capital, self-esteem, and use of online social network sites: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29(6), 434–445. Scholar
  72. Strasburger, V. C., Wilson, B. J., & Jordan, A. B. (2009). Children, adolescents, and the media. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  73. Tremblay, M. S., Carson, V., Chaput, J. P., Connor Gorber, S., Dinh, T., Duggan, M., et al. (2016). Canadian 24-hour movement guidelines for children and youth: An integration of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 41(6 Suppl 3), S311–S327. Scholar
  74. Tremblay, M. S., Leblanc, A. G., Janssen, I., Kho, M. E., Hicks, A., Murumets, K., et al. (2011a). Canadian sedentary behaviour guidelines for children and youth. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 36(1), 59–64. Scholar
  75. Tremblay, M. S., LeBlanc, A. G., Kho, M. E., Saunders, T. J., Larouche, R., Colley, R. C., et al. (2011b). Systematic review of sedentary behaviour and health indicators in school-aged children and youth. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 8, 98. Scholar
  76. Tremblay, M. S., & Willms, J. D. (2003). Is the Canadian childhood obesity epidemic related to physical inactivity? International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 27(9), 1100–1105. Scholar
  77. Trinh, L., Wong, B., & Faulkner, G. E. (2015). The independent and interactive associations of screen time and physical activity on mental health, school connectedness and academic achievement among a population-based sample of youth. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 24(1), 17–24.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  78. Tsai, H.-C., & Liu, S.-H. (2015). Relationships between time-management skills, Facebook interpersonal skills and academic achievement among junior high school students. Social Psychology of Education, 18(3), 503–516. Scholar
  79. Véronneau, M.-H., & Dishion, T. J. (2011). Middle school friendships and academic achievement in early adolescence: A longitudinal analysis. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 31(1), 99–124. Scholar
  80. Vikneswaran, T., & Krish, P. (2016). Utilising social networking sites to improve writing: A case study with Chinese students in Malaysia. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 25(3), 287–300.Google Scholar
  81. Wang, M.-T., & Holcombe, R. (2010). Adolescents’ perceptions of school environment, engagement, and academic achievement in middle school. American Educational Research Journal, 47(3), 633–662. Scholar
  82. Wang, H., Zhou, X., Lu, C., Wu, J., Deng, X., & Hong, L. (2011). Problematic Internet use in high school students in Guangdong Province. China. PLoS One, 6(5), e19660.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  83. Whitlock, J. L. (2006). Youth perceptions of life at school: Contextual correlates of school connectedness in adolescence. Applied Developmental Science, 10(1), 13–29. Scholar
  84. Xanidis, N., & Brignell, C. M. (2016). The association between the use of social network sites, sleep quality and cognitive function during the day. Computers in Human Behavior, 55(Part A), 121–126. Scholar
  85. Yen, C. F., Ko, C. H., Yen, J. Y., Chang, Y. P., & Cheng, C. P. (2009). Multi-dimensional discriminative factors for Internet addiction among adolescents regarding gender and age. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 63(3), 357–364. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Epidemiology and Public HealthUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research GroupChildren’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research InstituteOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations