Background: Social media has been used for the past 10 years, by changing our way of communication, exchanging, and gathering information easily. The present survey was carried out to identify the prevalence of social media use among students at Qassim University, Qassim, Saudi Arabia. Additionally, this survey aimed to assess the impact of social media use on the academic performance of students and to compare social media use among medical and non-medical students.
Methodology: All university students belonging to six medical and non-medical colleges were recruited. They answered a self-administered questionnaire, including socio-demographic information, and questions related to social media use. The majority of students either agree (41.3%) or highly agree (35.8%) that excessive use of social media is an issue affecting their academic life and 462 (43.6%) agree that social media distracts them from college.
Results: The study included 1,060 participants. The prevalence of social media use among the study participants was 99.5%. There was a significant association between social media use and the grade point average of students (p = 0.001). It was found that participating in academic discussions on social media improved academic performance (53.3%). Also, 62.2% reported using social media to spread knowledge among their classmates. A high percent agree (41.6%) or highly agree (31.6%) that using social media for research purposes helped to improve their grades.
Conclusion: Social media usage for academic purposes is high among Qassim University students. Most students were aware of its positive as well as negative influences on their academic performance.
Key words: Social media, student, perception, college, Qassim, Saudi Arabia