Main Article Content
This study aims to determine the prevalence of social networking addiction among Saudi university students and its association with demographic variables. It also aims to assess students’ perceptions of the benefits of social media and explore the relationship between social media usage and students’ preferred social networking platform.
Method: This cross-sectional study was conducted in April 2019 on male and female students enrolled at Taif University, Saudi Arabia. An online questionnaire was distributed through popular social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp). The questionnaire included questions on demographic characteristics, items that reflect addiction, and the advantage of social networking site use scale. Pearson’s correlations test was used to assess the association between continuous variables, including the students’ perceptions of social media addiction, advantage of social media use, usage of different social media platforms, and daily hours of social media use.
Results: Of the 996 university students invited to participate, 697 completed the survey, representing a response rate of 70.0%. Overall, the mean rating for the students’ perceived social media addiction was 2.71/5. Conversely, their overall perception of the advantages of using social media was 3.31/5. Students’ perceived usefulness of social media significantly exceeded their perceived addiction to social media (p < .001). Pearson’s test indicated that students’ perceptions of social media addiction correlated significantly and positively with their perceptions of the advantages of social media use (r = .38, p < .010). Overall, the hours of daily social media use, frequency of social media use during lectures, Snapchat use, and students’ perception of the advantages of social media were predictors of social media addiction.