The universal accesses to the internet and the outburst of modern technological devices have changed the outlook of communication and gave birth to the widely used social media in the current times. The introduction and wider use of social media have eased the process of communication along with low-cost accessibility in e-communication systems. The number of people who are using social media has significantly improved since its inception. The initial years of 21st century marked the popularization of social media and at the end of its first decade, it became technological revolution with an overwhelming usage throughout the width and breadth of the globe. India being a developing country is not an exception to the social media revolution happened throughout the world.
The changes that brought into the communication and networking modes and structure by the social media is very influential. Taprial & Kanwar (2012) reports that social media has some important features which include accessibility, interactivity, volatility, and reachability. The potential benefits social media brought were exclusive. Although social media is regarded as a variety of positive benefits, it has brought some of the very crucial negative impacts on the society. The social media and networking potentially treated as a reason for the reduction in the offline and face to face interactions. Apart from these, it is reported that an enormous number of people are started using it irrationally and for the unconstructive tasks. The abnormal and overuse of social media can be considered as an addiction.
The scholarly world named it as social media addiction. It can be considered as an addiction when it starts affects the daily life of the person. The very process of the internet and social media addiction creating negative impacts on the people (La Barbera., Paglia., Valsavia, 2009; Karaiskos.
, Tzavellas., Balta., Paparrigopoulos, 2010; Echeburua., Corral., 2010). The current empirical pieces of evidence underline the fact of higher prevalence of social media addiction as a result of the increased accessibility to technologies and internet. The addiction to social media and social networking site become a very crucial for the youngsters. They spend a considerable amount of their time in the social media.
As a result, there is a potential effect on their different aspects of their life.It has been documented in many empirical studies that adolescents and college going students are very prone to the very phenomena of internet and social media addiction (Pempek., Yermolayeva., Calvert., 2009; Subrahmanyam.
, Reich., Waechter., Espinoza., 2008; Lenhart, 2010; Li, 2010; Koc., Gulyagci, 2013; Wolniczak et al, 2013; Pantic et al, 2012; Pantic, 2014).3The increased involvement in the social media is potentially affecting the academic as well as social dimensions of student’s life. The time they spent on social media is reducing their probability to involve in the academic assignments and targets. Health is another area were social media addiction create a significant problem, both psychological and mental health is affected.
The over-involvement may lead to potential problems in sleep pattern, appetite, and biological cycle. Adolescents and young adults’ show higher dependence and psychological problems when they are not in a position to access social media and internet on time.METHODSIn accordance with the study objectives, the present study adopted a descriptive method of research where the main focus was on exploring the pattern, impacts, and risks of social media addiction. The study was conducted in the Palakkad and Thrissur districts of Kerala, India. A total of 80 college going students were randomly selected from four colleges of the above-mentioned district. A questionnaire was developed and distributed among the respondents.
The aims and objectives were communicated to the participants prior to the study. An informed consent was taken and confidentiality of the information collected is ensured to the participants. The collected data was entered into Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and processed with analysis.
The data were analyzed through both descriptive statistics.RESULTSThe results of the study are shown according to the broad objectives of the research. The initial part dealing with socio-demographic characteristics of respondents followed by pattern, risks, and impacts of social media addiction.Socio-Demographic CharacteristicsTable- 1GenderFrequency (%)ResidenceFrequency (%)MaleFemale49 (61.25)31 (38.
75)RuralUrban47 (58.75)33 (41.25)ReligionFrequency (%)Course of StudyFrequency (%)HinduMuslimChristian31 (38.75)27 (33.75)22 (27.5)ArtsScienceCommerce32 (40)34 (42.5)14 (17.5)4AgeFrequency (%)Type of FamilyFrequency (%)Below 2021-2223 and Above31 (38.
75)33 (41.28)16 (20)NuclearJoint62 (77.5)18 (22.
5)The socio-demographic features of the college-going students participated in the study are shown in the Table No-1. More than 31 percent of the respondents participated in the study were boys. The population dynamics of the respondent’s based area of residence shows that around 60 percent of the respondents hail from the rural area while 40 percent are from urban areas. Around 39 percent of the respondents participated in the study are from Hindu beliefs while 34 percent are following Islam and 28 percent were following Christianity. It is reported from the study that around 42 percent of the college-going students participated in the were undertaking science stream courses while 40 percent are studying arts and humanities courses and 18 percent of them are into Commerce and related courses.
More than80 percent of the students were studying in Under Graduation courses while 20 percent were in Post Graduation courses.The majority of the respondents (42%) participated in the study were between the age of 21-22 while 39 percent were below 20 years of age. Around 20 percent of the respondents reported that their age is 23 or above. A majority of the respondents (77.5%) were hailing from Nuclear families while 22.
5 percent of them belonged to joint families.Pattern of Social Media UsageThe social media usage and its pattern are shown in the Table No- 2. The table indicates some of the very crucial issues related to the social media usage pattern. It is reported that more than 66 percent of the respondents participated in the study are using the social media very actively from 5-6 years of time while 14 percent are using for a period more than six years.
However, 15 percent of the people participated in the study are using social media for a period of 3-4 years.Table- 2Years of Active useFrequency (%)Mostly used Social MediaFrequency (%)1-2 years3-4 years5-6 YearsMore than 6 years4 (5)12 (15)53 (66.25)11 (13.75)FacebookWhatsAppFacebook and WhatsAppTwitter9 (11.25)11 (13.
75)58 (72.5)2 (2.5)Mode of UseFrequency (%)Average Hours Spent per dayFrequency (%)Through Smartphone73 (91.25)Less than 1 Hours3 (3.75)5Laptop/ComputerOther Devices5 (6.25)2 (2.5)2-4 Hours5-6 Hours6 Hours and Above4 (5)19 (23.
75)54 (67.5)Major Purpose of UseFrequency (%)Mostly used slot in a dayFrequency (%)Social Networking/ Friendship/ChattingFinding new FriendsSocial CausePolitical CauseOther53 (66.25)13 (16.25)5 (6.25)7 (8.75)2 (2.5)Throughout the dayDay timeNightEvening49 (61.25)9 (11.
25)17 (21.25)5 (6.25)Frequency of CheckingFrequency (%)Major Mode of internet AccessFrequency (%)Throughout the dayEvery one Hour2-4 Hour gap5-6 Hour gap47 (58.75)12 (15)18 (22.5)3 (3.75)Own Recharged internetCollege-Wifi-Other72 (90)3 (3.75)5 (6.25)It was found that a large number of respondents (72.
5) were using both Facebook and Whatsapp mostly. Around 14 percent of the respondents were mostly using Whatsapp while 12 percent were considered Facebook as the most used one. Twitter remained the least used social media among the college-going students. The indication from the present study shows that more than 91 percent of the respondents are accessing social media through Smartphone while a minuscule percent of students were using it through laptop/computer (6.
25%) and other devices (2.5%).Students and youngsters are spending a valuable amount of time on social media.
The study results show that around 68 percent of the respondents are spending 6 or more than six hours daily in social media while 24 percent is spending around 5-6 hours. A minimum number of respondents only come under less than 4 hours per day. It is found that a majority of the college students (66.25%) are accessing social media for social networking/ maintaining friendship and chatting. Around 16 percent of the respondents are accessing it for building new friendship and dating while some of the college students have been using social media for political (8.75) and social cause (6.25).It has been found that more than 61 percent of the respondent’s access social media throughout the day while 21 percent of the respondents use to access mainly during the night time.
Around 11 percent of the respondents reported that they use social media at the time. It was found from the study that students have frequent checking habits of their social media sites. Around 59 percent of the respondents reported that they keep on checking about the updates throughout the day while 22.5 percent check it between 2-4 hours gap. Another 15 percent reported that they6check at every one hour. Majority of the college students (90%) are accessing the internet through self-recharged internet sources while a few are (3.
75%) accessing through college wifi and 6.25 are accessing through other modes.Risks and ImpactsIt was found from the study that there very crucial impacts and risks for the students who are highly involved with the social media. It is reported by more than 96 percent of the respondents that they have significantly reduced the time spent for the study while only 4 percent of the respondents reported that they haven’t felt any change in the study time due to social media usage. As like the studies, sleep is also reported to be had a potential impact as around 84 percent of the respondents reported that their sleep is reduced while 14 percent reported that their sleep pattern is disturbed because of the social media over usage.Table No- 3Impact on StudiesFrequency (%)Impact on SleepFrequency (%)Reduced the time spent for studyIncreased time spent for studyNo change77 (96.25)0 (0)3 (3.75)ReducedDisturbedIncreased67 (83.
75)11 (13.75)2 (2.5)Impact on Appetite and Food intakeFrequency (%)Impact on Offline RelationshipsFrequency (%)Food intake is disturbedAppetite increasedAppetite decreased68 (85)7 (8.75)5 (6.
25)IncreasedDecreasedDisturbed7 (8.75)59 (73.75)14 (17.5)Impact on Physical ExercisesFrequency (%)Interaction with family membersFrequency (%)IncreasedDecreasedDisturbedNo Change2 (2.5)54 (67.
5)12 (15)12 (15)DisturbedIncreasedDecreasedNo Change34 (42.5)3 (3.75)29 (36.25)14 (17.5)Stressed when unable to access Social MediaFrequency (%)Eagerness to see the updates very frequentlyFrequency (%)YesNo63 (78.75)17 (21.25)YesNo59 (73.75)21 (26.
25)Prioritizing Social MediaFrequency (%)Feeling low self esteemFrequency (%)Giving less attention in other important tasksFinishing other task quicklyFrequent planning for social media access28 (35)31 (38.75)21 (26.25)By seeing other’s postBy chatting with othersBy comparing oneself with others21 (26.25)13 (16.25)46 (57.5)7Social media usage in an increased volume has an impact on appetite and food intake. Around 85 percent of the respondents reported that their food intake was disturbed while 6 percent reported that appetite is decreased. The social media and social networking have significant impact on the offline relationship.
The results from the present study indicate that around 74 percent respondent’s offline relationship is decreased while 18 percent participant’s relationship was disturbed.Another area of risks and impact social media made on the people who are accessing it very regularly and unevenly is the physical exercises and activity. Around 68 percent of the respondents opined that their physical activity is decreased to immense level in comparison with the stage when social media was not much used. Another 15 percent said that their physical activity was disturbed due to social media use. Interaction with family members is another area where social media has crucially influenced. More than 42 percent of the participants opined that their relationship with family members was disturbed while 36 percent reported that the relationship is disturbed.It is very astonishing to know that more than 79 percent of the respondents felt that they are getting stressed when unable to access social media.
It is shown from the study that more than 73 percent of the respondents have very higher eagerness to see the updates on social media very frequently.It is indicated from the study result that students and youngsters are prioritizing social media over other important tasks of their life. Around 39 percent of the respondents are reported that they use to finish important tasks very quickly with less concern while 35 percent of the respondents reported that they give less attention to important tasks because of the prioritization to social media. Self-esteem is an important variable which is significantly influenced by the overuse of social media.
Around 58 percent of the respondents reported that they feel low self-esteem when they compare themselves with others in social media. Some of the participants (26.25%) reported that they feel low self-esteem when they see others post while few reported that they feel low self-esteem after they were chatted with some people in social media.8ConclusionThe present study sheds light upon some of the crucial issues in the area of young adult’s social and psychological well-being. It is a fact that social media and social networking is the need of the hour but the present study underline the fact that it creates complexity when a limit is crossed. Majority of the participants of the study are very much used to the social media and in a condition which can be called as social media addiction. They are dependent on it and making an immense toll on their health, education, and relationships.
The very biological cycles of sleep and appetite are disturbed because of the untimely use of social media. Friends and family interaction is another area which significantly altered. The students and young adults living in the virtual world are prone to psychological vulnerability. They are living in an almost imaginary world and this makes them be away from the real world. The ultimate result of the same would be decreased coping and well being. There must significant interventions and programs to sensitize the young adults to use social media more judiciously.
The colleges, mental health professionals, and social workers have many roles to play in this regard.