Prevalence of internet addiction and effects of social media usage among a private medical college students, pondicherry

Niranjjan R., Anand Raj R., Prasad T and Manikandan S

Background: There will be 550 million internet users in India by 2018. College student group uses internet more frequently than the general population. They are more prone to internet addiction which results in various physical health and behavioral problems. Hence this study aims to find the prevalence of internet addiction and the effects of social media usage among medical students in a private medical college, Pondicherry.
Methodology: A self-administered pretested semi-structured questionnaire was used. Informed written consent was obtained. Young’s Internet Addiction test was used to assess the internet addiction. Data was entered in Microsoft Office Excel and analyzed using SPSS version 20. Kruskal-wallis test was used to compare the groups.
Results: Among 200 study participants, 93.5% were using smartphone to access internet. Three fourth of them revealed that their main purpose is to access social media. More than half of the study participants were (53.5%) average internet users and 33 (16.5%) were possible internet addicts. Thirteen percent of students had less than 5 hours of sleep and also high internet users. There is weak negative correlation (correlation co-efficient r= -0.15) exist between hours of sleep and time spent in social media. More than half of the students felt that they tend to avoid outdoor games followed by their studies were affected & reduced sleep (35.5%)
Conclusion: There is an emerging burden of non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and mental disorders among young people mainly due to reduced sleep hours, lack of outdoor games & stress. Appropriate health education and motivation is needed to improve routine physical activity among medical college students to stay physically and mentally healthy.

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