Users Overestimate Time Spent on Facebook, Study Says

February 15, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. overestimate 
[oh-ver-ES-tuh-meyt(v.) – to expect an overly high value or amount of something
Example: I had extra time because I overestimated my study hours.

2. monitoring [MON-i-te-ring(adj.) – relating to something used to observe or check an activity
Example: Daniel installed a monitoring program on the computer to prevent his children from visiting harmful websites.

3. discrepancy [dih-SKREP-uhn-see(n.) – a difference or a disagreement between two or more numbers, values or results
Example: The manager saw a discrepancy between Sid’s recorded time in the logbook and his actual time of using the computer.

4. log in [lawg-IN, log-(v.) – to access a specific computer or any program by entering a username and password
Example: We are not allowed to log in to Facebook during work hours.

5. theory [THEE-uh-ree, THEER-ee(n.) – an educated guess that is accepted even without enough evidence
Example: Adults have a theory that young people are addicted to the Internet.

Read the text below.

A new research says that people tend to overestimate the amount of time they spend on Facebook as compared to their actual time used on the site.

Dr. Reynol Junco, a researcher at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, researched on how much time people think they use Facebook per day and their actual usage. The study involved 45 students who were observed using monitoring software installed on their computers.

Aside from asking the students how much time they spend on Facebook, Dr. Junco also asked them how often they log in to Facebook and how often they use other social networking sites on the Internet, such as Twitter and email.

The study found that the actual time, as monitored, was different to the time the students thought they spent on Facebook. Results revealed that the students’ estimated Facebook use was, on average, 149 minutes per day, while their actual time spent averaged to only 26 minutes daily.

The reason for this discrepancy was that the students might have misunderstood the questions used in the research. In addition, some students might have logged in to Facebook using other devices without monitoring software.

According to adults and public media, youth nowadays overuse Facebook. Hence, the study concluded that this theory may be the reason why young people think they spend so much time on Facebook.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A
·         Why do you think some people spend more time on social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)?
·         How can too much use of social networking sites affect a person’s social life?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think young people tend to believe what adults and media say about them?
·         Do you often believe what older people and public media tell you? Why or why not?


February 15, 2013