New York: Transitioning from high school to college can be stressful for some students and to maintain connections with pre-college friends and form new relationships, Facebook can still be your best friend.
A new research led by Indian-origin researcher Surinder Kahai reveals that Facebook can help college students maintain relationships with high-school friends and assist them in creating new friendships.
The study, published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, shows that when it comes to making new friends, those with higher confidence in their social skills have less to gain from relying on Facebook, while people with lower confidence in their social skills have more to gain from the social media platform.
"Transitioning from high school to college can be stressful for many students. To help them adjust to life in college, it is critical for them to maintain connections with pre-college friends and to form new relationships," said Kahai, Associate Professor at Binghamton University in the US.
For the study, the researchers focused on first semester college students by asking undergraduate college students, mostly sophomores, about their experiences with different channels used to maintain and grow relationships.
Accounting for Facebook's effect on relationships versus the impact of more traditional media face-to-face interaction, phone calls, etc., researchers also incorporated how each student's social self-efficacy like confidence in their social skills affected the use of both Facebook and traditional media to build and maintain relationships.
In terms of how "best" to use Facebook to maintain and build new relationships, some of the findings include; Facebook can compensate for the lower use of traditional media to maintain relationships with close friends from high school.
According to researchers, Facebook works best when supplementing traditional media when it comes to making new college friends, students with high self-efficacy have more to gain from prioritising traditional media over Facebook when making new college friends.
And students with low self-efficacy have more to gain from prioritising Facebook use over traditional media when making new college friends.
"New college students often stress about trying to maintain their high school friendships while struggling to develop new ones. These findings can help counselors advise students on how to balance the use of social media and traditional media to enhance their new and older friendships," Kahai said.