Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine

Usage of Online Social Networking Sites among School Students of Siliguri, West Bengal, India

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine

Usage of Online Social Networking Sites among School Students of Siliguri, West Bengal, India

Article excerpt

Byline: Medha. Raj, Sharmistha. Bhattacherjee, Abhijit. Mukherjee

Background and Objective: Social networking sites (SNSs) are online platforms that provide individuals with an opportunity to manage their personal relationship and remain updated with the world. The primary objective of the present research was to find the pattern of school students' SNS usage and its influence on their academic performance. Materials and Methods: The setting was an English medium school situated in the metropolitan city of Siliguri in West Bengal. A pretested and predesigned questionnaire was self-administered anonymously by 388 randomly selected students. The data were analyzed using appropriate statistics. Results: Three hundred thirty-eight (87.1%) students used SNS and spent an increased amount of time on these networks. Addiction was seen in 70.7% and was more common in the age group of 17 years and above. Conclusion: There is a need to educate students about the ways of using SNS and the perils associated with it, to help them understand that though very much in trend, they should be used cautiously.

Introduction

Social networking has always been in our cultures and beliefs and is a way of expanding the number of one's contact by making connections.[1] The effect of the internet and the study of modern sociology has changed the backdrop of social networking from face to face to online networks. The introduction and increased use of online social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Hike, Orkut, Tumblr, etc., have become a global phenomenon of the last decade and have revolutionized the way of communication.[2]

As far as the impact of SNS is concerned, though they have contributed in diminishing the distance between friends and families, their negative effects, such as exposure to unwanted contacts, abusive messages, harassment, stalking, bullying, easy access to personal info, and their time-consuming nature should not be neglected.[3]

Adolescents and young adults have embraced these sites much more than the older generations, to connect with their peers, share information, reinvent their personality, and showcase their social lives. They are usually more prone to develop addictive behaviors to SNS, as they are habitually alert to what happens in these virtual environments.[4]

Often, they participate in virtual conversations, answer messages even in inappropriate circumstances, and get pathologically engaged in these activities, resulting in poor academic performance, insomnia, distress, anxiety, lack of focus, disrupted eating habits, excessive fatigue, and diminished real-life social interactions.[5],[6],[7],[8]

The young adults spend their leisure time by sitting in front of the PC, ogling their mobile phone's screen, or updating their status about their feelings and needs instead of sharing it with their parents and friends. Consequently, very often, they get cut off from the real world. In its absence, they start yearning for it, and occasionally they become the target of unscrupulous activities.[9],[10]

Increased use of SNS can take a toll on the academic performance of students. It tends to become a distraction to these children as they tend to pay more attention to these sites instead of the textbooks, which can have a harmful impact on the learning environment.[11] Siliguri, being situated at the confluence of North East India and West Bengal, has a perfect blend of diversity with students coming together from different ethnicities. Since there is a dearth of published literature on the subject in these regions the present study attempts to investigate the pattern pf usage of online SNS among school students of these areas.

Materials and Methods

*Study type and design: A cross-sectional descriptive study *Study period: August 2016 to September 2016 *Study setting: A prominent English medium school of Siliguri, was the setting *Study population: All students studying in Class IX-XII were selected *Exclusion criteria: Students absent on the days of data collection and students who themselves or their parents did not give consent *Sample size: Assuming an estimated SNS usage rate as 50% and applying a formula for sample size as:

* n = Za2P (1 − P)/L2, where n is the sample size, *Za is the standard normal variate at a = 0. …

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