I have been reading about the effect of social media on academic performance, and although some research shows no correlation between social media and student grades, most research shows that social media has a negative effect on student achievement.
Social media takes many forms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, texting, and YouTube. It has certainly changed our lives in ways never imagined before. It allows us to instantaneously keep in touch with family and friends, plan our social activities, and monitor the world around us. Studies show that people visit these sites on a daily basis. Everywhere you go, you see people “plugged in,” engrossed in the content on their electronic devices, oblivious to the world around them and sometimes even their companions. I advocate keeping abreast of current events on your devices. My comments are directed more towards using social media sites for entertainment and social purposes.
Some of the estimates I’ve seen of hours spent daily on social media are astonishing. Studies have shown that students who spend an inordinate amount of time engaged in this activity have been found to have behaviors not conducive to high academic performance: uncompleted homework, higher absentee rate, lack of sleep, lower attention span, even substance abuse. All of this got me to thinking about court reporting students who are learning a skill that demands concentration, stamina, and accuracy.
With this valuable research in mind, it would be wise to honestly evaluate how much time you spend on social media and to make an effort to limit your time on these sites. Although it is fun to keep in touch with family and friends, you may not realize just how much time you are spending doing so. Even an hour spent on Facebook instead of practicing on your machine can be counterproductive. An hour a day for seven days a week of missed practice time can really add up. Avoid the temptation to veg out on social media where “just ten minutes” can turn into hours.
Good time management skills can help. Keep to a strict practice regimen. When practicing, your attention should be devoted to developing your skills, so all devices should be turned off. Don’t be distracted with alerts, emails, and text messages. If you have put in your solid practice time for the day and have more time on your hands, practice some more or engage in some other activity that will further your goal of becoming a reporter one day.
While we’re on the subject of social media, I want to provide a word of caution on consulting Facebook for answers to your questions. Some advice is good, and some advice is bad. I would encourage you instead to seek trusted advice from respected working reporters or ask NCRA for a virtual mentor.
In closing, the older court reporters working today, myself included, did not have social media distractions to contend with. I personally feel that was to our advantage. I would challenge all court reporting students to completely unplug for at least a month to devote more time to concentrated and uninterrupted practice and see what the results are at the end of the month. You might be pleasantly surprised.