SA students are obsessed with social media

2013-11-01 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s students are obsessed with their social media and some even believe it may help them during exam time.

This is according to the “SA High-tech Student 2013” research study, released by World Wide Worx and Student Brands yesterday.

The study was conducted at all universities and colleges across South Africa and interviewed 1 435 students. This is what they found:

• 59% said they were addicted to social media;

• 16% said they were very addicted; and

• 18% said they were definitely not addicted.

Instant messaging (IM) has similar appeal to students. In the study, 62% said they were addicted to IM, of which 22% said they were highly addicted to the quick fix of chat.

Of the students who were interviewed, 45% of them said technology, including smartphones, the Internet and social networking, gets in the way of their studies. Only 10% said it was a constant problem.

“At the same time, however, they do not believe it is a bad thing,” said the founder of World Wide Worx, Arthur Goldstuck.

“A surprising 85% said it improved their studies, with a similar proportion, 83%, believing it enhanced their social lives. Asked what impact technology like smartphones and the Internet had on their lives in general, 81% said it enhanced their quality of life,” Goldstuck said.

He said the study was a self-assessment and most of the students who said they were obsessed were constantly chatting, posting pictures and checking their status updates.

A self-confessed addict, Dineo Phati (21), a final-year journalism student at Durban University of Technology, said she could not cope when she recently lost her BlackBerry phone.

“I thought I was going to go crazy,” she said.

Phati loves Facebook, Twitter and BBM.

“A lecturer will be in class and I’m busy chatting to my friends on my phone. It is destructive, but you can’t just ignore the chat button,” she giggled.

She said her parents were also annoyed with her that she spent more time fixated on her phone than spending time with them.

However, Phati said her smartphone came in handy with her school projects — especially as a journalism student — and helps her get in touch with sources more easily.

The study revealed the social media mostly used by students includes:

• 96% use Facebook;

• 70% use Twitter;

• 47% use Google+;

• 39% use Mxit; and

• 29% use LinkedIn.

Among IM apps used, WhatsApp was popular, followed by BBM, Facebook Messenger and then Mxit.

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