New study finds that Twitter is, in fact, making kids stupider

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Twitter has become a platform used for hate, misinformation, viral memes and now it isn’t helping your intelligence, according to a new study.

Italian researchers at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan published a report in May arguing how the popular social media platform, which is used by teachers is a course activity in Italy, is doing more harm on students than it’s actually helping them.

The economists found that students using Twitter suffered a poorer performance on standardized testing, reducing from 25% to 40% of the test’s standard deviation.

The paper was determined to find out if Twitter actually benefitted students after the platform became a teaching tool for teachers through literature. For their study, the researchers tested nearly 1,500 students from across 70 Italian high schools between the 2016-2017 school year.

Their measurement was used by having half of the students analyze “The Late Mattia Pascal,” a novel published in 1904 by Italian writer Luigi Pirandello.

Using a model encouraged in teaching young students literature, those students initiated in an online discussion with their teachers where they posted quotes and their interpretations of the work online. The other students who were excluded from the online portion were treated to traditional teaching methods. All students were tested on the book in areas like reading comprehension and understanding.

“It’s quite detrimental,” Professor Gian Paolo Barbetta told The Washington Post. “I can’t say whether something is changing in the mind, but I can say that something is definitely changing in the behavior and the performance.”

The study found that students who normally perform better (this group included female students, students who attend a gym or lyceum, students born in Italy, and students who tend to score better on baseline tests) were actually harmed more compared to the rest.


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