In a recent study conducted at Abdul Aziz University, concerning the influence of social media on the lives of university students, striking findings have come to light. The research, which surveyed 300 female students aged 17 to 29, has provided a comprehensive glimpse into how the omnipresent realm of social networking sites impacts academic pursuits, social interactions, and sleep patterns among this demographic.
As social media continues to play an ever-expanding role in the lives of young adults, institutions and individuals alike must consider how to strike a healthier balance between the virtual and the real, particularly within the context of higher education.
The study revealed an astonishing statistic: 97 percent of the students surveyed were active on social media platforms, reflecting the ubiquitous nature of these online networks among young adults. Notably, only a mere 1 percent of the students reported using social media for academic purposes, while a significant 35 percent used these platforms primarily for chatting with others. A larger portion, 43 percent, admitted to using these sites as a way to pass the time.
Perhaps the most concerning revelation was that 57 percent of the participants confessed to being addicted to social media. This addiction seemed to manifest itself in their daily lives. A striking 66 percent of the students admitted feeling more drawn to social media than to academic activities, potentially impacting their performance in the classroom.
The impact extended to students' sleep patterns as well. A substantial 74 percent of respondents revealed that they spent their free time on social media platforms, with popular apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp being the most used. Furthermore, nearly half of the students (46 percent) reported going to bed between 11 pm and 12 am, while 39 percent went to bed between 1 am and 2 am. Of concern, 68 percent attributed their delayed bedtime to social media use, highlighting how these platforms can disrupt healthy sleep habits.
Social media's influence wasn't limited to academics and sleep. The study found that 59 percent of students reported that social media had negatively impacted their social interactions. This suggests that even though they were connected online, real-world interpersonal relationships were suffering as a result.
This research from Abdul Aziz University paints a worrying picture of the pervasive non-academic use of social media among university students. Habitual and excessive use of these platforms not only distracts students from their academic responsibilities but also takes a toll on their social bonds and sleep routines. These findings raise important questions about the need for awareness and strategies to manage social media use among students, as well as its broader implications for their physical and mental well-being.