School bans Facebook for a week: five lessons students learned

2. 20 hours a day might be too much

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“Left unchecked, [social media] can take over your life,” says Eric Darr, executive vice president and provost at Harrisburg University. Forty percent of students said they normally spend between 11 and 20 hours a day using social media.

The university wanted to spark a dialogue – not pass judgment on – social media uses. Future student orientation sessions will include suggestions about striking the right balance, he says, but more research is needed before the university puts out particular guidelines about usage in classrooms.

Some students have already started setting their own limits in response to the blackout experiment. In the recent final-exam week on campus, a number of students voluntarily turned off their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts to focus on studying.

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