Students’ social media use, addiction levels and its perceived impact on their social life: a case of Copperbelt colleges of education, Zambia.

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Silomba, Jordan, Harry
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The University of Zambia
Social media has recently become an indistinguishable part of students' daily activities. It has continued to grow, connecting many students in previously impossible ways. A growing body of literature suggests that problematic social media use leads to various negative social life consequences. Despite this, very few studies of this nature have been undertaken in less developed countries like Zambia. As such, this study was born out of that contention to explore students' social media use, addiction levels, and perceived impacts on their social lives. A quantitative, descriptive research survey based on the sample size of five hundred and seventy-nine (579) students drawn from three (3) public and three (3) private colleges of education on the Copperbelt was used in this study. Two sampling techniques were utilized namely, stratified random and simple random sampling. However, to provide an equal representation of students from each stratum, a proportionate stratified random sampling formula was used to select the specific number of respondents. The adapted, standardized Social Media Addiction Scale (SMAS), Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS), and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) scales were used to collect data. Personnel and processes for adapting and modifying the standardized instruments were made available. To draw conclusions, data were analyzed by using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) to obtain statistical interpretations. The results showed that Facebook and WhatsApp were the most popular social media platforms. It was also discovered that students were visiting social media platforms once or several times a day, and we're spending less than three hours and more than 30 minutes per visit daily. This tendency suggests that students spend a significant portion of their daily lives online. Besides it was found that the extend use of social media use was, consistent across the incorporated demographics. It was further discovered that students' motives of use were centered mainly on leisure gratifications (killing idle time; entertainment), social gratifications (connecting with others; facilitating interaction with friends; keeping up with what others are doing), and instrumental gratifications (information seeking, learning new things). The trends reflect students' strong incentives to pursue their inner and outer gratifications.. The study further showed that increased use of social media beyond a certain threshold is associated to students' social life challenges that include perceived symptoms of depression (rho = -0.158, p = 0.001), anxiety (rho = -0.099, p = 0.017), stress (rho = -0.160, p = 0.001) and Sleep deprivation (rho = -0.113, p = 0.006). However, the addiction and social life challenges, on the other hand, indicate a weak negative link. This entails that when social life impact overwhelms, a spike in online media's compulsion levels becomes evident and vice versa. Findings suggest that the relationship between addictive social media use and its impacts on students' lives is bidirectional. Thus, it may indicate that social media usage inhibits the possibility of both positive and negative impacts on students' lives. Therefore, the study has concluded that the use of social media among students is relatively high and alarming owing to the evidence of the perceived impacts on their social lives. Results have a significant bearing on the implication for practice, policy, and theory. Thus, the timely prevention and detection of social media addiction and its impacts should be prioritized through awareness programs for students. College-based social media policies and regulations formulation should be highly considered. Further research has also been suggested.
Social media in education. , Education, Higher--Effect of technological innovations on. , Social media. , Social media--College students.