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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 8  |  Page : 2573-2576  

Medical students' life and virtual social networks a guide for educational managers and parents


Assistant Professor, Health Information Technology Department, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan, Iran

Date of Submission24-Apr-2019
Date of Decision22-Jul-2019
Date of Acceptance25-Jul-2019
Date of Web Publication28-Aug-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Yousef Mehdipour
Assistant Professor, Health Information Technology Department, School of Allied Medical Sciences, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_336_19

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  Abstract 


Introduction: Social networks have revolutionized the world. Students in Iran after entering the university often enter the college far from family, so the effects of such networks become more evident during the students' period. However, considering the role of the university in the training of specialist human resources, the researcher in this study, the status and application of virtual social networks in the life of students of Zahedan University of Medical Sciences were studied. Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive-analytical study that was conducted cross-sectional in 2018. All students of Zahedan University of Medical Sciences were the statistical population (4,600) that a sample of 900 people was selected as the final sample. The data gathering tool was a researcher-made questionnaire. To determine the content validity of the questionnaire and its confirmation, the opinions of professors and experts were used, and its reliability was measured by a test-retest method and confirmed by Cronbach's alpha (0/75). After data collection, SPSS software version 16 was used to analyze the data. Results: The average daily student use of social networks was 2 h and 40 min, most of them were subscribed to Telegram, and connecting with friends was the main motive for joining social networks. There was no significant relationship between the use of social networks and the average student's lessons and also most of them had a moderate dependence on the Internet and had a high dependence on the social networks. In addition, there was a significant difference between Internet dependence and the gender of students. Conclusion: A large percentage of students have become members of various social networks. There was excessive and unplanned use of the internet and social networks among them. Hence, by creating good opportunities and attractive social activities in universities to provide more participation of students in the real world, this can provide suitable times for them and prevent their dependence on virtual social networks.

Keywords: Education, internet, medical student, social network, Zahedan University


How to cite this article:
Mehdipour Y. Medical students' life and virtual social networks a guide for educational managers and parents. J Family Med Prim Care 2019;8:2573-6

How to cite this URL:
Mehdipour Y. Medical students' life and virtual social networks a guide for educational managers and parents. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Sep 19];8:2573-6. Available from: http://www.jfmpc.com/text.asp?2019/8/8/2573/265572




  Introduction Top


Information and communication technologies have entered into all social, organizational, and individual spaces in human societies and influenced everyday life, work, and knowledge in varying degrees.[1] However, one of the most influential services provided on the Internet is social networks, which in turn has created tremendous transformation in the social system of the countries of the world,[2] and according to various definitions, social networks are referred to as a set of people that they interact with each other and share things, such as information, needs, activities, and thoughts. In other words, social networks are databases that using a search engine and add some features such as chat, e-mail, image, and audio, allowing users to connect in a network of individual and group relationships.[3] The main reasons for creating social networks are personal relationships, working relationships, academic relationships, interests and shared recreation, and social motives.[4]

The trend toward social networks around the world is still growing, and today, social networks have become an integral part of many people's lives,[5] and networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, My Space, Orkut, and Flickr are virtual social networks that have grown rapidly over the short term and are becoming more and more popular among people.[6] The growth rate of social networks is so high that the total number of users of the most popular Internet social networks has reached more than a billion people,[7] as Hampton reported, the number of social network users has nearly doubled between 2008 and 2010, and the population of users of these networks is growing rapidly, (79% of adult Americans use the Internet, and about half of adults or 59% of Internet users generally subscribe to at least one social network). This number is nearly double the figure for those users in 2008, and the average age of users has changed from 33 years in 2008 to 38 years in 2010, Of which, 56% of them are women and 92% of users are on the Facebook network.[5]

The most important features of social networks are Easy access and breadth of use, low cost, multimedia, collectivization and human networking, interactivity, utilization without the need for skills and expertise, instant communication, and continuity.[8] In addition, the other benefits of social networks are the rapid and free dissemination of news and information, increased analytical strength, and reinforcement of critical morale.[9] Social networks have unimaginably increased the connectivity of humans around the world. However, some information technologists, sociologists, and psychologists say social network users have become more intimate and self-evident than others who are not users. Disorders such as internet addiction, depression, social isolation, identity impairment, feelings of deprivation, and lack of self-esteem are among the common abnormalities of using social networks.[10]

In Iran, the effects of such networks become more evident during the student period.[11] Although social networks can facilitate communication with friends[12], they can disrupt the study process by reducing the study time of students.[13] Considering the fact that in recent years social networks have found a significant place among students, the study of the problem of overuse and abuse of social networks among students is very important,[6] and because students in any country are the main capital of the country, so, examining students' specific issues, successful education, and providing their physical, mental, and psychological health are among the most important goals of government educational planners.[14] However, owing to the role of the university in training qualified and skilled human resources in society,[15] the aim of this study was to investigate the status and application of virtual social networks in students' life of Zahedan University of Medical Sciences (ZAUMS) students. It is hoped that this research will help to identify the status of social networks among students to improve in the future plans of the government and the educational authorities of the universities for the proper use of social networks by students that improve their academic achievement.


  Materials and Methods Top


This study is a descriptive-analytic and applied study that was conducted in 2018. The research population in this study was all students of ZAUMS (4,600 students). Of these, 900 individuals were selected through simple random sampling. The research instrument was a researcher-made questionnaire designed by using the literature and related articles. To determine the content validity of the questionnaire, the opinions of the professors and experts of the university were used, and its reliability was measured by the test-retest method. The correlation coefficient was 0.75. The questionnaire was then distributed by the researcher among the students. After collecting the questionnaires, the data were entered into SPSS 16 software. The results of the present study were analyzed using descriptive measures (mean, standard deviation, and percentage) and analytical (independent T and Pearson correlation coefficient) and in the form of tables presented.


  Results Top


  • On the basis of the findings of the research, 52% of students were male, 77% were single, 71% had a total score of 15–17, 83/5% of students were aged 20–25 years old, and 69/5% of them were undergraduate students
  • The mean daily student use of social networks was 2 h and 40 min. However, 87% of the students are members of the Telegram network, 86.5% are members of WhatsApp, 66% are members of Instagram, 24.5% have Facebook membership, 18.5% are members of the Line, 17% are members of Viber, 7.5% are members of the Tango, and finally, 10% of the students use the Skype
  • The finding showed that 40/5% of the students had been members of social networks before entering the university, 41% of them entered the social networks during the first year of study, and 18.5% of them during the second year of the university
  • The motivation factors to join social networks: 70.5% of students aim to more communicate with friends, 58% aim to entertainment, 43.5% aim to join interest groups, 43% aim to more academic and scientific learning, 41.5% aim to communicate with relatives, 28.5% aim to find old friends, 24% aim to learn about Iranian and world news, 22% aim to curious, and 17.5% aim to find new friends
  • In total, 59% of students said that at the start of the day after awakening, they first surveyed social networks on their mobile phone (as the first daily activity)
  • On the basis of the analytical findings of the research, there was no significant relationship between the use of social networks and the students'average grade of lessons
  • Approximately, 12% of the students were normal users and had no internet dependence, 64.5% have a low dependence, 23% have a moderate dependency, and only 0.5% have a high dependence on the internet and social networks
  • There is a significant relationship between the use of social networks and the gender of students, so that female students use social networks more than male students
  • Finally, the results showed that there is no significant relationship between the use of social networks and students' marital status.



  Discussion Top


  • According to the results, the average daily student use of social networks was 2 h and 40 min, which is in against the results of Javadinia et al.[16] study that the average hours of using social networks per day is not more than 50 min. It is also in line with the results of Dastjerdi et al.[17] and Mojaradi et al.[6] studies. In fact, the results of these studies show the high penetration of social networks and the overuse and excessive use of it among students. Hence, this could be due to the lack of proper entertainment for students to spend their leisure time, and in fact, it seems that social networks have become a place to meet the needs of students, students with the help of virtual social networks can bring everyday events of their lives to others, and this will make them happy
  • The results of the research indicate that the use of social networks, especially Telegrams and WhatsApp, are popular among medical students, these results are against the results of Javadinia et al.[16] and Mojaradi et al.[6] studies, and are in line with the results of Islami study (2012). From the researcher's point of view, owing to the filtering of the Facebook network, users are inclined to other social networks that have Facebook appetite but are safe from the filter
  • The results of this study showed that students' motivation for membership and activity in social networks is more related to their friends and the least motivation is to find new friends, whereas 43% of their motivation was academic learning factor. The main reason for the use of social networks in this research is more communication with friends, which is against to the results of Javadinia et al.[16] research and the results of study by Pempek et al.[10] that the main reason for using social networks was communication with old friends, but study results are in line with the results of the research by Mojaradi et al[6]
  • Results showed that there is not significant relationship between the use of social networks and the average of lessons. However, it can be said that this phenomenon will effect on academic performance. Therefore, it is necessary to provide educational packages and cultures in this field led students to reduce the use of social networks and focus more on academic performance
  • The results indicated that 12% of the students are normal users and do not have any Internet dependence, 64.5% of them are low dependency, 23% have moderate dependency, and only 0.5% have a high dependence on the Internet and social networks. The results of this study are in line with the results of Hasanzadeh's[18] study and Salahian et al.[19] However, the results of the research agree with the results of Treuer research,[20] in which the use of the Internet, significantly reduced the student's mental health, and students with excessive use of social networks showed more psychological problems compared to students who did not have such an experience. The reasons for the expansion of Internet and social networks dependency from Yang's perspective are rooted in seven main reasons: marital dissatisfaction, work problems, financial problems, insecurity, anxiety, family quarrels, and limited social life[21]
  • According to the research results, there is a significant relationship between Internet and social networks dependency with students' gender, and female students are more dependent on the Internet and social networks than male students. These results are against with the results of Ghasemzadeh[22] research and are in line with the results of Mohammadi et al.[21] and Hasanzadeh[18] studies. It can be said that the more use of women compared to men in social networks can lead to changes of frameworks and limitations and increases their awareness of the environment, society, and so on. Increasing awareness and gaining different experiences in a male-dominated society can change and effect on women motivations, attitudes, and behaviors[23]
  • Finally, the results of the study indicate that there is no meaningful relationship between the dependence on the Internet and social networks with marital status. This conclusion is against the results of Mohammadi et al.[21] but is in line with the results of Salahian et al.[19] and Dastjerdi et al.[17]



  Conclusion Top


The results of this study showed that a large percentage of ZAUMS students are members of various social networks, and social networks have become an important part of their lives. As students in the busiest situations visit social networks, the extreme use of the Internet is also common among them; hence, it can be said that there is a close communication and strong relationship between the use of social networks and Internet dependency in students. Therefore, it is necessary to plan and use the experiences of other countries toward the culture and proper use of these networks, also by providing cultural and recreational facilities to reduce the process of joining these networks, can prevent from social damages caused by excessive use of these networks. Therefore, the following suggestions are provided for use by authorities and planners:

  1. Owing to the emergence of social networks and its high prevalence in students society, the cultural institutions of the community are introducing its basic and defining its advantages and disadvantages among families, youth, and adolescents
  2. An attempt is made to replace these networks with native social networks; to promote its use among the community, the effective and useful facilities and attractiveness of other social networks are included. So that, there is no contradiction with the beliefs of the people in Islamic countries and be able to compete with world famous social networks
  3. By applying adequate supervision on the social networks by parents and examining the use of children from various social networks, the results bad effects are reduced; and also, by filtering out inappropriate and immoral sections of social networks (if there are), the negative effects can be reduced
  4. Display cultural programs in the field of the proper use of these social networks in the national media of the country. Because many students use social networks, so, suggested that display some informative programs by national media for the proper use, privacy protection of individuals, non-publication of private photos and family films owing to the publicity of the social networks environment
  5. Students' parents avoid any kind of retaliation and punishment in the use of students from social networks because such behaviors result in complete reversal and instead promote the proper use of new technologies among their children
  6. Because the social networks have many educational facilities, the main emphasis is placed on the use of sciences and academic education with the incentive mechanisms by the family, community, and university professors
  7. The family's deep role in providing a hot spot and paying attention to children, their needs, and providing them with the necessary entertainment will lead to a diminution of the role of social networks. Factors such as family-based instability, isolation, loneliness, lack of appropriate recreation, social inactivity, and depression can encourage individuals to use social networks
  8. Finally, by creating good opportunities and attractive social activities in universities to provide more participation of students in the real world, this can provide suitable times for them and prevent their dependence on virtual social networks.


Acknowledgments

I would like to thank all the ZAUMS students, who participated and helped me in this research.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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