Unveiling The University Students’ Perspective on Social Media Networks - A Student-Centric Exploration
Keywords:Social Media Networks (SMNs), Academic purposes, Misuse of SMNs, Responsible usage, Exploration
This exploratory research, by employing mixed method approach, intended to explore the understandings and perspectives regarding the way social media networks are being used by the university students. The main objective of research was to understand the university students’ perspective of SMNs and identify the patterns and purposes of social media usage by university students. One hundred and seventy students of two public sector universities in Sindh province participated in this research. Survey questionnaire was used as a major data collection tool. This questionnaire has twenty statements regarding social media usage and one open ended question related to problems associated with use of social media. Collected data was analyzed using demographic statistics, descriptive statistics, central tendency statistics and t-test. Thematic analysis and word clouds were used to analyze the open-ended question. From the analysis of data, it was found that use of social networking sites has positive as well negative influences on the academic performance, study habits and social interactions of the students. Many of the students (81%) believe that SMNs have brought improvement in their academic performance. It was also found that WhatsApp is the most preferred SMNs among university students. Another important finding was that on average 3-4 hours are daily spent on SMNs by the students. It was also found that faculty encourage the students to use SNS, however, percentage of teachers who do not encourage is also considerable. The study recommends that since internet and social media are accessible to a large population, particularly students, its usage may be planned in a responsible fashion particularly in educational institutes. It is also recommended that detailed guidelines to be developed by the concerned authorities for restricting social networking sites and other online sites during certain times for the students. To conclude, the findings of this research bring awareness regarding the good and bad impacts of this resource on students’ academic as well as personal habits.