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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-23

Social networking trends among female health college students in King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, College of Dentistry, King Khalid University, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2 Professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Chairman, Department of Dental Education, King Khalid University College of Dentistry, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
3 Assistant Professor, Division of Community Dentistry, College of Dentistry, King Khalid University, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
4 Intern, College of Dentistry, King Khalid University, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication7-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
MDS Shreyas Tikare
College of Dentistry, King Khalid University, Abha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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  Abstract 


Objective: The present research was to study the social networking trends among female health college students in KKU Abha, Saudi Arabia. Methodology: A pretested questionnaire was developed consisting of 11 items concerning with individual’s usage of social media. All female students of colleges in King Khalid University were considered for the study. Results: A total of 466 female students participated in the research. 96% of the students had registered themselves at some social networking site. Whatsapp was found to be the most popular application (17.4%) followed by Twitter (16.2%), YouTube (15.2%), Google-plus (13%), Facebook (13%), Skype (10.7%) and others. Majority of students (64%) accessed Google for their academic assignments and information gathering.76% of students had practice of accessing to SNS on a daily basis. Majority (43%) of students’ accessed social networking sites late night before sleep or after college hours (32%).The most common reason for SNS usage was for Entertainment (45%). The Pearson’s correlation analysis showed that there was no significant correlation between the frequency of SNS usage and student’s average academic grades (r = 0.064, p = 0.174). Conclusions: The female students at the university are very active on SNS. The social media platforms are mainly used for social interactions or entertainment. There was no statistically significant correlation between social media usage and academic outcomes. Social media platforms should be considered as an effective and informal media in engaging students for academic purposes.

Keywords: Social Media, University students, Academic grades


How to cite this article:
Al-Shahrani I, Togoo RA, Tikare S, Shiban Al-Shahrani AS, Abu-Melha NA, Al-Qahtani ZA. Social networking trends among female health college students in King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia. King Khalid Univ J Health Scii 2016;1:19-23

How to cite this URL:
Al-Shahrani I, Togoo RA, Tikare S, Shiban Al-Shahrani AS, Abu-Melha NA, Al-Qahtani ZA. Social networking trends among female health college students in King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia. King Khalid Univ J Health Scii [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Oct 23];1:19-23. Available from: https://www.kkujhs.org/text.asp?2016/1/1/19/291595




  Introduction Top


There has been a rapid change in contemporary online social communication practices. The previous methods of communicating and socializing over the Internet were limited to email, instant messaging, personals sites etc., people are now able to socialize in more diverse ways. Today, an increasingly popular way for people to communicate is throughsocial media. The usage of social network services reflects one’s personal identity and also has become a basic necessity of social interaction.[1] Social networking sites allow users to easily keep in contact with others. Indeed life today is almost unimaginable without social media.

Social networking sites are one of the most popular online activities among college students.[2],[3] Students are now more connected and have endless access to information resource than ever before. A study found that 53% of 15–18 year olds used social networking websites and among those, they spent an average of 48 minutes per day on the sites.[4] Similar, findings were found with other study where 65% of youth aged 12–17 and 67% of young adults aged 18–32 used social networking sites.[5] The recent survey shows 91% of US teens go onto the Internet via a mobile device and girls are more active on social media than boys.[6]

In the recent past there has been an increasing trend of high social media usage in Saudi Arabia. According to 2012 report the youth between the ages of 15 and 29 make up around 70% of Facebook users in the Arab region and further Saudi Arabia alone had up to 50% of Facebook users among the Gulf regions.[7] A statistics report of 2014 suggests that Saudi Arabia stands 30th rank as in world ranking according to number of internet users with the population penetration rate of 59.24% and has yearly growth rate of 11%.[8] The most recent report of 2015 suggests that social media in the Arab world has been perceived to have positive influences in one’s quality of life, business and governmental interaction with the public.[9]

Despite the popularity of social networking sites and applications there is scarce information available on impact of social media in educational contexts.The new technologies are being created and used at such a quick pace that it is difficult for researchers to capture the effects of these rapidly changing technologies. There is no consensus on the effects of technology usage on academic outcomes to date.[10],[11] Although there are some negative perceptions about the possible effects of social media usage on students’ academic performance,[12],[13],[14] some studies found it quite appropriate to use both for teachers and students to socialize by this means and also it allows them to share knowledge in formal education contexts.[15],[16],[17]

Today social media is believed to have influenced all sections of society’ but it could be of particular interest to learn the extent that social media has empowered females in Saudi Arabia especially among higher education students, Therefore’ the objective of the present research was to study the social networking trends among female health college students at King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia. This study project as part of a wider study of social media usage in Saudi Arabia, tries to fill a gap in this field. This study will be of importance for higher education faculty to be aware of how their students are using technology and its influence on academic performances. This awareness of the effect on academic performance may be more open to interventions that will help to develop better strategies for managing student’s time and cognitive workload which is a necessary step in supporting them throughout their college careers.


  Methodology Top


This cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate social networking trends among all female health college students at King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia. The ethical approval was obtained from the institutional ethical review board. A questionnaire was developed consisting of 11 items concerning individual’s usage of social media. All the items in the questionnaire were designed and presented in simple multiple choice format. The face validity of questionnaire was checked after constructing the draft questionnaire with special focus on some terms and explanation in translation from English to Arabic language. The health related colleges in the university included: College of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Radiology, Laboratory Sciences and Physiotherapy. The purpose of study was explained to students in their classrooms before delivering the questionnaire and the data was collected from the students who were willing to participate. The responses obtained were coded and entered into the computer for further statistical analysis.


  Results Top


A total of 466 female students participated in the research with the response rate of 97%. Out of the total number, 96% (n=446) of the students had registered themselves at some social networking site. mong the students, social media in the order of popularity were: Whatsapp (17.4 %) Twitter (16.2%), YouTube (15.2%) Google-plus (13%) Facebook (13%) Skype (10.7%) followed by the least popular MySpace, LinkedIn and Blogs [Graph 1].



Majority students accessed Google (64%, n=375) for their academic assignments and information gathering followed by YouTube videos (15%, n=90), WikiLinks (13%, n=74) with least using Blogs (4%, n=24) and Podcasts (2%, n=10) [Graph 2].



Most students (76%, n=387) had practice of accessing to social networking sites on a daily basis and lesser number of students accessed once in two days (18%, n=94) [Graph 3].



Majority of students accessed to the social networking sites at either after college hours (32%, n=151) or late night before sleep (43%, n=200) [Graph 4].



The number of students who reported that their usage of social media has significantly increased from last yearwas 55% (n=311) and in 13% (n=75) the usage had decreasedover previous year [Graph 5].



The most common reason for Social Networking Site (SNS) usage was for Entertainment (45%, n=285) followed by Information Gathering (27%, n=172) and Social Interaction (25%, n=159) [Graph 6].



The Pearson’s correlation analysis showed that there was no significant correlation between the frequency of SNS usage and student’s average academic grades (r = 0.064, p = 0.174).


  Discussion Top


In this study ‘entertainment’ (45%) represents the highest category among the various reasons for using the social media followed by ‘technology or information updates’ (27%) and ‘Social interaction’ (27%). In comparison with other reports, our study clearly indicates that social network sites are primarily used for non-academic purposes by students.[18] Increased use of Facebook especially has been reported to have addictive influence in a research among female students.[19] Social interaction, passing time, entertainment, companionship, and communication were the motives behind using the social media. The non-academic usage can be correlated to the fact that majority of the students were most active on social media at their leisure times either after the college hours or late night before sleep. This could possibly have negative impact on the student’s study hours; hence it is important for the students to think about balancing the use of social media for leisure and academics.

The usage of social media and its impact on academic performance has been extensively studied. Our study found no correlation between the frequency of social networking site usage and their academic grades. This finding is similar to various other studies suggesting either no adverse effect or positive effect of social media activity and academic outcomes.[15],[16],[17],[20] However, several other researches suggests negative influence of social media on academic performances.[12],[13],[14] Most of the students in our study have had registered account in some SNS and majority were actively using it on daily basis. This clearly indicates that social media platforms are now a part of routine life. As a researcher it is important to understand that several other personality dimensions like individual’s commitment to academics, personal interests, dedication towards professional goals etc. might have more direct influence on academic grades than mere social media activity. The students should be wise enough to efficiently manage their time and make the best use of social media in academics apart from entertainment purposes.

King Khalid University has a well-established department of Information and Technology. The department offers students free access to internet through both browsing centers and Wi-Fi connectivity. The Blackboard System provides the students access to learn about the academic courses, communicate with the faculty and fellow students, view grades, free access to journals and books. Our study found that students utilized the more popular social media sites than official university network applications even for academic purposes. It is of importance for higher education faculty to be aware of how their students are using technology which helps to develop better strategies for managing student’s time and improved connectivity to best support them throughout their career.


  Conclusions Top


The female students at King Khalid University are very active on social networking sites and there is an upward trend of SNS usage both in terms of frequency and time. The social media platforms are mainly used for entertainment, information update and social interactions. WhatsApp was clearly found to be the most popular social media for communication and Google was found to be most commonly used search engine for information gathering. There was no statistically significant correlation between social media usage and academic outcomes. The high usage of social networking sites and applications among students should be considered as an effective and informal media in engaging students for academic purposes

Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to all the student participants for their valuable time. The authors are also grateful to all the Dean for Female affairs at King Khalid University for her cooperation and support throughout.

Conflict of Interest: No competing financial interests exist



 
  References Top

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