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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 18-22

Facebook addiction among health university students in Bengaluru


1 Department of Community Medicine, Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication13-Jan-2015

Correspondence Address:
N R Ramesh Masthi
Department of Community Medicine, Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2278-344X.149234

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  Abstract 

Introduction: Facebook was founded in 2004 and is one of the most popular social networking sites. Although Facebook is used to connect and stay in touch with friends and also to maintain relationships, there may be situations where an individual uses the site way too much. Relatively little research has been carried out to explain effects of usage to Facebook in terms of addiction in India. Objectives: The aim was to find out the burden of Facebook addiction among college students of health university. Subjects and Methods: This exploratory qualitative study was conducted in Bengaluru City covering six colleges attached to a health university using convenient sampling from May 2013 to July 2013. About 400 students had enrolled for the study. Results : It was observed that the burden of addiction was 7.25% and high risk was 24.75% in the study subjects. 61 (31.12%) males and 38 (18.62%) females were categorized as high-risk behavior subjects. 12 (6.12%) males and 17 (8.33%) females were categorized as having Facebook addiction. 64% of study subjects used Facebook daily. 32% of the subjects felt strain in the eye, 11% watering of the eye, 20% felt frustrated and 17% were anxious when they did not have access to Facebook. Conclusion: The burden of Facebook addiction and high-risk behavior was observed in one-third of the subjects.

Keywords: Facebook addiction, high-risk behavior , mental health, physical health


How to cite this article:
Ramesh Masthi N R, Cadabam SR, Sonakshi S. Facebook addiction among health university students in Bengaluru. Int J Health Allied Sci 2015;4:18-22

How to cite this URL:
Ramesh Masthi N R, Cadabam SR, Sonakshi S. Facebook addiction among health university students in Bengaluru. Int J Health Allied Sci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Sep 16];4:18-22. Available from: http://www.ijhas.in/text.asp?2015/4/1/18/149234


  Introduction Top


The modern world in the last decade with modern technology has dramatically opened up opportunities to countries of the world. The most significant advancement was noticed in the field of communication, especially with the advent of the internet and mobile phones that has bought people closer to each other. Today, more than ever before, people are finding ways to connect with friends, family members, co-workers and those they have just met using various social networking sites online. One of the most widely used social network site is Facebook, which was founded in 2004. Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. [1] Facebook is accessible to individual on various devices such as a computer, laptop, iPad, tablet and mobile phone which helps people stay connected at all times. Facebook already has a mammoth 1300 million active users, 829 million (computer) and 654 million (mobile) are daily active users as of June 30, 2014 and approximately 81.7% of daily active users are outside the US and Canada. [1] Although Facebook is used to connect and stay in touch with friends and to maintain relationships, there may be situations where the individual uses the site way too much and few studies in other countries have shown that overuse of Facebook leads to addiction. [2],[3],[4] Relatively little research has been done to explain effects of usage to Facebook in terms of addiction in India, and there are no studies available on Facebook addiction among health university students in India. Service for Healthy Use of Technology was a clinic set up in April 2014 by the country's premier mental health institution National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences to cope with the overpowering and sometimes destructive presence of technology on people and help mostly teenagers hooked to the internet and mobile texting. [5]

With this background, the present study was conducted with the primary objective: To find out the burden of Facebook addiction among the health university students and secondary objectives were to describe the demographic profile and Facebook utilization of the study subjects, to describe physical and mental health issues related to Facebook.


  Subjects and Methods Top


This explorative study was conducted in Bengaluru city covering six colleges attached to a health university using convenient sampling during the period from May 2013 to July 2013. The study subjects included medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy, and physiotherapy college students. From each of these colleges, classes were chosen randomly. In each class, all subjects willing to participate were included in the study. Based on the feasibility, 400 students were enrolled in the study. Students who had access to the internet connection on the computer or phone, age between 18 and 25 years and have had a Facebook account for more than 1 year were included. Students who did not wish to participate in the study were excluded. The study subjects were given a pretested, structured and self-administered profroma (nondiscloser of name). They were requested to read the questions carefully and answer honestly and informed that the information provided by them would be kept in absolute confidence. The questionnaire was divided into two parts, part A and part B. Part A consisted of questions on usage and clinical behavioral changes associated with the use of Facebook. Part B was the 5-point scale developed and used to assess Facebook addiction in the subjects. [6] The scale consisted of 23 questions. Each question was given a score of (1) Very rarely, (2) rarely, (3) sometimes, (4) often, and (5) very often respectively. Accordingly, one would score a minimum of 23 and maximum of 115. The scores were finally assessed as follows: 57 - Normal, 58-86 - High-risk behavior and 87-115 - as Facebook addiction.


  Results Top


A total of 400 students (MBBS {250}, Bachelor in Dental Sciences {61}, Diploma in Nursing {40}, Bachelor of Pharmacy {29} and Bachelor of Physiotherapy [BPT] {20}) were included. 51% of the subjects were females and 49% were males. 60% of subjects were in the age group of 20-22 years. 51% subjects place of residence was home, 44% resided in hostel and 5% in paying guest. [Table 1] describes the results of a Facebook addiction scale analyzed, it was observed that 12% had often/very often blocked out disturbing thoughts about their life with soothing thoughts of Facebook. 18% had often/very often used Facebook when they are uncomfortable or sad about something happening in their personnel life, 38% often/very often wanted people to like their status updates or photos. 17% often/very often felt agitated when people did not like their photos, 25% often/very often got upset when a rude comment about them was made on Facebook. 27% often/very often stayed longer than intended on Facebook, 8% often/very often had feelings of euphoria when on Facebook. 7% often/very often opined that their college work suffered because of the amount of time they spend on Facebook. 6% often/very often choose to spend more time on Facebook over going out with others, and 19% had often/very often lost sleep due to late night Facebook logins.
Table 1: Response of subjects to facebook addiction scale (n=400)

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Based on the results from the scale, the subjects were classified as normal behavior, high-risk behavior, and Facebook addiction. From [Table 2], it was observed that the burden of Facebook addiction was 7.25% and high-risk behavior was 24.75% in the study subjects. Pharmacy and BPT students had more number of students with high-risk behavior and Facebook addiction than MBBS students; however as the sample size was small no statistical test was applied. 61 (31.12%) male students and 38 (18.62%) female students were categorized as high-risk behavior subjects and was found to be statistically significant (Z score = 2.89, P < 0.01). 12 (6.12%) males and 17 (8.33%) females were categorized as subjects with Facebook addiction problem. Out of the 177 subjects who resided in the hostel, high-risk behavior was observed in 50 (28.24%) subjects and Facebook addiction in 9 (5.08%) subjects. Among the 207 subjects who resided at home, high-risk behavior was observed in 43 (20.77%) subjects and addiction in 19 (9.17%) subjects. 16 subjects resided at paying guest accommodation , of whom high-risk behavior was observed in 6 (37.5%) and Facebook addiction in 1 (6.25%) subject.

Usage of Facebook: 64% of study subjects used Facebook daily, 43% accessed Facebook at home and 69% accessed Facebook on mobile phone. 70% checked Facebook as the first activity they did after logging online. Physical health: The commonly observed clinical problems with Facebook usage was that 32% of the subjects had strain in eye, 11% had watering of eyes, 16% had fatigue, 17% had headache, 12% had sleep disturbance, 12% had wrist pain, 4% had shoulder pain, 14% had neck pain and 10% had back pain. 2% mentioned appetite was disturbed and 1% said personnel hygiene was neglected. Mental health: 20% of the subjects felt frustrated, 17% felt anxious, 15% sensed anger and 10% felt lonely when they were not able to access to Facebook. 31% of the subjects were annoyed, 10% of the subjects yelled at the person, 13% felt angry and 12% felt sad when they were interrupted while using Facebook. 15% had opined that they are dependent on Facebook to lead a normal life. 7% were of the opinion that they had a mental health-related problem due to Facebook, 6% felt that they need help for Facebook addiction.
Table 2: Distribution of subjects according to the burden of facebook addiction

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Only 4% of the subjects were aware that there is treatment available for Facebook addiction, and only 2% were aware of availability of Facebook deaddiction centers.


  Discussion Top


Social media have become an integral part of networking activity of our daily life's. Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites available today. Anything in excess is known to cause problems and usage of Facebook is no exception to the rule. Psychiatric scales are one of the tools available for measuring the problem of Facebook addiction. There is no scale available that can be considered as the gold standard for measuring Facebook addiction. Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS) is one such scale and consist of the six core elements of addiction (salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, and relapse). Scoring "often" or "very often" on at least four of the six items may suggest the respondent is addicted to Facebook. [6] The scale used in the current study had similar questions from BFAS along with the additional questions related to addiction and scoring is based on the scale used to find out problem of mobile addiction. [7] The scale used in the current study has to be validated. Hence the results need to be accepted with caution and is one of the limitations of the study. However, validation of the scale is not part of the study. Moreover the scale can be used only as a screening tool and in any case confirmation of Facebook addiction is usually done by a thorough psychiatric evaluation. The other scales available are Addictive Tendencies Scale, Online Sociability Scale, Facebook Attitude Scale, NEO-FFI,

BIS/BAS scales and sleep questions. [6]

There were more number of MBBS students among the study subjects because of feasibility. In the current study, subjects having Facebook addiction and high-risk behavior were identified and was observed more among girls. Addictive use was 3.5% for social networking sites. Internet and Facebook addiction was more among singles. [5] Addiction was defined in terms of four Cs as markers - Craving (continuous desire to engage in it), Control (not able to reduce it), Compulsion (where one feels one just has to use information technology) and Consequences (experiencing effects-physical or psychological). [5] 5.1% of the students were addicts, and 22.6% of the students were in the risky group. [2] 39% are self-described Facebook addicts. [3] Facebook addiction is a common problem among young people under 22 than older people. [4] 98% of the respondents were addicted to social network chatting at medium level. [8] Women are more at risk of developing Facebook addiction, probably due to the social nature of Facebook. [6] Males were more addicted than females on internet usage. [9] Those who spent more time on social network sites also reported higher addictive tendencies. [10] Prevalence of mobile addiction was 3.2% and high-risk subjects were 28%. [7] Facebook dependency was observed as compulsion to check Facebook, high-frequency use and using Facebook to avoid the offline responsibility among postgraduate students. [11] A glance at Google trends, shows that "Facebook addiction" has been climbing steadily since late 2008, It is now 4 times what it was then. [12]

In the current study, information is obtained only on Facebook addiction and not on what among the different activities on Facebook, the subjects are addicted to. We need to clarify what it is that people on social networks are really addicted to. With the fast pace at which electronic media and sites that started primarily for social networking, are changing and offering an increasingly varied number of activities, "Facebook addiction," like "Internet addiction" may already be obsolete. Thus, what is needed now is a psychometrically validated tool that specifically assesses "social networking addiction," rather than Facebook use. As an example, BFAS does not distinguish between addiction to Farmville, and constantly messaging Facebook friends. [13]

It turns out that as many as one in every three people who use social media like Facebook experience feelings of jealousy and envy after spending time on these sites. Significant emotional damage was experienced by users who were looking at positive posts and posts of Facebook friends who were smiling and looking happy. The more college students spent on Facebook, the worse they felt about their own lives. [14] Students were describing feelings of anxiety caused by their lack of connection. 40% of the respondents fear their life without chatting would be boring, empty and joyless. [8] Anxiety levels and neurotic personality traits increased with addiction severity levels. [9] There was a strong positive correlation between Internet addiction and depression, anxiety and stress. [9] Those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face. [6] Excessive use of the internet can lead to a mental disorder of the addictive type, which can particularly affect adolescents and young adults. [15] Emotions such as change in moods, depressed, irritable, anxious, frustration, etc., was observed in subjects in the current study. The commonly observed physical problem associated with long hours of working on the computer such as wrist pain, neck pain, shoulder pain straining of eyes, headache, etc., was also observed with Facebook usage in the current study. Eye strain and psychological distress (decreased sleep, irritability, and restlessness) were found in 3% among those active on social networking sites. [5]

Significant percentage of people check Facebook even before they get out of bed. [16] 21% admit to checking Facebook in the middle of the night. [3] 48% of social media users check or update Facebook after they go to bed, and 56% feel compelled to check Facebook at least once a day. [16] 37% of the respondents lost sleep due to late night chatting. [8] 57.8% of users have attempted to minimize or cut-off the using of social networks. 51.2% of users were upset they could not login. 81.3% of users have a desire to know what happened online when they are offline. [12] 55% of the respondents often stay online longer than they intended. [4] These findings are higher than those observed in the present study.

Facebook addicts have a problem with their families, friends, jobs and school environments and remain at home almost all day. Teenagers showed dysfunctions in areas of academics, social life, and were seen losing out on recreational activities. People turned to technology to manage boredom, and get a sense of "well-being", or due to family conflict and as a way to use free time. [5] They can be too passive to the events that occur in their environment when they are in front of Facebook screen. [4] 57% of women in the 18-34 age range talk to people online more than face to face conversations. [5] Many respondents have more social contacts due to the use of Internet, but there is a decline in face-to-face contacts. [17]

The results indicate that the extensive use of Facebook by students with extraverted personalities leads to poor academic performance. However, students who are more self-regulated control their presence on these platforms more effectively. [18] 57% of the respondents grades are affected in college because of the amount of time they spend for chatting. [8] 11.3% of users are absent from academic activities because of using the social networks. Negative effect on academic performance is very high especially among females. [19] These findings are different than those observed in the present study.

Based on above discussions, there is a need for appropriate agencies to do more research and focus on these emerging mental health problems associated with technology. A larger study covering a wide geographic area with proper sampling techniques needs to be done for generalization of the study results.


  Conclusion Top


The burden of Facebook addiction and high-risk behavior was observed in one-third of the subjects.

 
  References Top

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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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