Reynol Junco, a professor at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, says that while colleges and universities should discuss the positives and negatives of social media with students, "it's ridiculous for an institution" to block the websites.
"The reasons were wrong, because they were coming at it from a perspective of 'social media are bad' and that's not the case," Junco notes. "And, if they do believe that, that's not the way to help students internalize that."
Junco, who recently completed a study of nearly 2,000 undergraduate students' Facebook use and academic performance, found that the time spent on the social platform had a negligible impact on grades. He concludes that what students are doing while on Facebook—such as socializing or sharing information—is a greater predictor for academic performance.
"In general, I feel that social media can be used in very beneficial ways," Junco says. "[And,] left to their own devices, most students are going to use them in positive ways."
While Darr acknowledges that Harrisburg plans to do more experimentation with social media blackouts in the future, he says the university has no interest in blocking access to the platforms permanently.
"People that would like to go back to a day when [social media] didn't exist—and would argue this is not a good thing—are not in touch with reality," Darr says. "Social media is here and it's here to stay. Believing it's going away, or trying to get rid of it, is a fool's errand."
Let your Facebook friends help find the best college for you with our Friends Tool.