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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 227-234

A study on the perspectives of pharmacy students and faculties on social networking sites

Department of Pharmacy Practice, JSS College of Pharmacy, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication15-Nov-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ponnusankar Sivasankaran
Department of Pharmacy Practice, JSS College of Pharmacy, Ooty - 643 001, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-344X.194089

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Context: People tend to use social networking sites (SNSs) often as a means of communication. Aim: This study was designed to find out the view, trend, and influence of SNSs among students and faculties of a Pharmacy School in India. Subjects and Methods: One hundred and eighty pharmacy students and 45 faculties received the questionnaire, out of which 132 students and 20 faculties provided their response. The questionnaire was framed using SurveyMonkey, an online paid survey tool to gather information from the responders. The questionnaire was sent as a link via E-mail to all the students and faculties with formal periodical reminders. Results: The response rate was 95.56% and 44.44% from the students and faculties, respectively. About 80.9% had regular access to SNS. Facebook was the most widely used SNS. All the student responders claimed that their study time as well as academic performance was not influenced by their involvement in social networking; in fact 72.73% of the students reported to have improved their academic performances even while using SNSs. Neither the students nor the faculties had any health-related concerns because of the use of social networking. Conclusions: The use of SNSs did not bring any changes in one's personal behavior or led to any health-related issues to worry. Instead it was helpful for learning purposes, professional activities, and to improve educational acquaintance.

Keywords: Facebook, health-related issue, pharmacy faculty, pharmacy students, social networking sites, student′s perspectives

How to cite this article:
Durai R, Roopa B S, Ravindra J, Indu T H, Gokul G, Sivasankaran P. A study on the perspectives of pharmacy students and faculties on social networking sites. Int J Health Allied Sci 2016;5:227-34

How to cite this URL:
Durai R, Roopa B S, Ravindra J, Indu T H, Gokul G, Sivasankaran P. A study on the perspectives of pharmacy students and faculties on social networking sites. Int J Health Allied Sci [serial online] 2016 [cited 2024 Feb 25];5:227-34. Available from: https://www.ijhas.in/text.asp?2016/5/4/227/194089

  Introduction Top

Communications have grown up to a passionate level among students after the advent of internet. [1] Nowadays, social networking sites (SNSs) have become a tool for communication, interaction, and sometimes to exhibit a social standard for some people worldwide. [2] The trend of using SNSs is prominent among the college students. [1] Various studies report that SNS form a platform for providing increased exposure of information, promoting good relationship between faculties and students, provide support for preparing and learning languages and topics for competitive examinations. [3] Social networking also involves in providing information in the medical field including clinical diagnosis, treatment patterns to be adopted and drug information. [1],[3],[4],[5]

At the same time, studies have questioned and reported the negative consequences of using SNS and that networking leads to the development of internet addiction disorder (IAD), depression, desire for loneliness, and other health issues among the young generation. [6],[7],[8],[9]

This study was conducted to assess the perspectives and influence of social networking among the students and faculties.

  Subjects and Methods Top

This study was conducted for a period of 6 months from January 2014 to June 2014 to evaluate the viewpoint, trend, and influence of social networking among pharmacy students and faculties of a Pharmacy School in India. This study has received exempt status from the Institutional Review Board of JSS College of Pharmacy, Ooty. The responders were informed about the purpose of the study. The questionnaire was framed using SurveyMonkey, an online paid survey tool to gather information from the responders. The questionnaire had five categories (general information, usage pattern, impact on social interaction, influence on work and education, and consequences on health). The survey questionnaire was sent as a link via E-mail to all the students and faculties with formal periodical reminders. The questionnaire was validated through a pilot study before the actual implementation of the survey. The anonymity of responders was ensured and partially completed or completely unanswered responses were not considered for analysis.


The results were analyzed using SurveyMonkey online and GraphPad Prism version 6.00 for Windows, Graph Pad Software, La Jolla, California, USA.

  Results Top

Study population

One hundred and eighty pharmacy students and 45 faculties received the questionnaire, out of which 132 students and 20 faculties provided their response. The response rate was 95.56% and 44.44% among students and faculties, respectively. About 80.9% of the responders had regular access to SNS. Among the students 45.45% were males and 54.55% were females, whereas in faculties, 50% were males and 50% were females. The responders among the students were in the age group of 18-24 (58.33%) and the staffs were in age group of 30-34 years (50%). Among the responders 95% of the faculties and 15.15% students were married.

The trend in use of social networking site

Most commonly used sites

[Figure 1] elicits the responder's favorability to different SNSs. According to the present study, 69.7% of the students and 40% of faculties prefer Facebook, followed by 30% of the faculties use LinkedIn as their second choice. Yahoo chat and Twoo carried no followers.
Figure 1: The preference for various social networking sites

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Frequency and time spent on social networking

[Figure 2] shows the average duration of the time spent on social networking per day by the responders. The data indicated that 70% of the faculties use the SNSs for <1 h and 30% use SNS for 1-2 h; 57.6% of students use SNSs for <1 h and 8.3% use SNSs for >6 h. It was observed that 45.5% of the students and 30% of the faculties were found to be using SNSs for the past 4-6 years [Figure 3].
Figure 2: Average time spent by respondents on social networking per day

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Figure 3: Duration of social networking

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Place of access of social networking sites

Ninety percent of faculties and 93.94% of students use social networking when away from their work and study place as presented in [Table 1].
Table 1: Place of access of social networking sites

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Reason for social networking

As per the present study, 45.46% of students and 60% of faculties use SNS for maintaining and to gain contacts. About 30.3% of the students use SNS to maintain liaison with their friends and faculties [Table 2].
Table 2: Reason for using social networking sites

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Type of information shared

The commonly shared information among students was entertainment aspects, whereas faculties were involved in sharing educational information followed by entertainment [Table 3]. 27.27% students played games that are available in SNS. The faculties and students used their laptops (70% and 54.55%, respectively), for social networking activity.
Table 3: Type of information shared and device used

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Initiation for use of social networking sites

54.55% of the students started using SNS through their friends referral followed by 33.33% who started on their own, whereas 70% of the faculties started using SNS on their own followed by 20% through their friend's referral.

Psychological status of the responders when they are away from social networking site

Most of the faculties (90%) and the students (69.70%) claimed that they had a neutral mood when not using SNS. Nearly, 6% of students and 15.15% of faculties, respectively, experienced depressed or anxious moments when they abstained from social networking.

Influence on health, work, education, and social interaction

In order to evaluate the influence of SNSs questions on certain parameters which include headache, tearing of eyes, insomnia, body mass index, and time spent on physical activities such as playing outdoor games, exercise, time spent for meditation, and the incidence of mental stress were also included in the questionnaire [Table 4].
Table 4: Influence on health, work and education and social interactions

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In this study, 75.76% of the students and 90% of the faculties reported that they never experienced headache, 24.24% of the students reported they experienced headache 1-2 times, and 10% of the faculties experienced 3-5 times such incidents in recent times. [Table 5] shows the frequency of headaches among the responders.
Table 5: Incidence of headaches during social networking in recent times

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This study shows that 70% of the faculties and 72.73% of the students reported that they have adequate time to do meditation in spite the use of SNSs and that the time spent for physical activity by the students (66.67%) and the faculties (70%) were not altered because of using SNSs [Table 6].
Table 6: Time spent on physical activity

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About 48.48% of the students and 10% of the faculties reported that they experienced tearing of eyes; 30.3% of the students; and 50% of the faculties faced eye sight problems after they started using social networking. Insomnia was the most commonly faced adverse effects by the students (84.85%) due to social networking. About 57.58% of students and 50% of the faculties had normal body mass index. Among the responders, 15.15% of the students experienced mental stress after the regular usage of SNS. None reported stress-related injury to fingers or a history of initiation of antistress agents after the use of social networking.

In spite the fact that students and faculty spent their major free time in SNS, time spent for reading was also assessed. It was expected that many would not spend time for online reading; however, the result from this study shows that 81.82% of students and 100% of the faculties spend quality time in updating knowledge through reading e-journals, magazines, and newspapers. Through the usage of SNSs, 63.64% of the students and 70% of faculties could able to maintain a good relationship among them. About 60.61% of the students and 70% of the faculties highlighted that they were aware of various regulatory aspects such as pharmacist licensing procedure, pharmacy licensing procedure, and role of pharmacist in other nations through social networking. It also seems to have a positive impact on the technical competency levels as 81.82% of the students and 50% of the faculties answered "yes" to the question "Have SNS usage helped you in increasing the technological competency levels?" Similarly, 57.58% of the students and 65% of the faculties joined new courses through the information gained from SNS. All student responders (100%) and 80% of the faculties strongly believe that social networking shall enable them to improve the pharmacy education on the whole. Around 54.55% of the students and 50% of the faculties expressed that they have started committing spelling as well as grammatical mistakes while talking and writing after they were habituated to social networking.

Influence of social networking on social interaction was also analyzed in this online survey. About 87.88% of the students and 100% of the faculties did not have any kind of alteration in eating habits. The time spent by 92.42% of the students and 90% of faculties along with their family and friends or for hobbies was not decreased due to the use of SNSs. All the responders probably use the SNSs with the purpose of developing contacts with alumni. About 75.76% of the students and 80% of the faculties agreed that continuous use of SNS helped them to be creative. A few responders (24.24% of the students and 10% of the faculties) faced privacy issues during SNS usage but none from this study population experienced issues of cyber bullying and litigation.

Faculties perspective on online teaching and career guidance

Nighty percent of the faculties are involved in advising the students regarding their career/higher studies and 80% of the faculties are involved in clarifying the doubts of the students raised through SNS and were involved in at least ten such activities during the last academic year.

Students perspective on using social networking

All the student responders claim that their study time and academic performance was not influenced by SNSs in fact 72.73% of the students reported that they have improved their academic performances because of SNS. About 93.94% of them reported SNS helped them to achieve good scores in competitive exams such as The Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Examination and North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination.

  Discussion Top

The SNS are widely used and is also an ever expanding mode of communication that redefines how the people work and communicate both personally and professionally in today's world. This survey was conducted to know the attitude, perception, and influence of using various SNSs among students and faculties of Pharmacy School in India. The survey consisted of questionnaires that were framed under five categories and the target groups were asked to provide their responses. Almost all the responders among students are in the age group of 18 and 24 years.

The response rates for this study were 95.56% from students and 44.44% from faculties. The survey questionnaire was framed in such a manner that if the responder is a not a user of SNS the person will be exited from the survey. This practice helped to avoid the data capture from responders who are not users of SNS. The reason for lowest response rate among the faculties was unknown and the same has been reported in another study conducted by Cain et al.[10] More than a decade before, technology had not improved and people would move out of their individual comfort level to meet and interact with new individuals but today people use SNS to establish contacts and make new friends. SNSs, on the other hand, now allow people to sit in front of a computer and stare at it for hours, disregarding the face to face interaction and even face to face interaction. The most commonly used SNS site is Facebook followed by Twitter and LinkedIn. The Yahoo chat and Twoo were not used by our study population. The reason that Facebook is widely used and popular among the individuals might be that it offers services to members for free and has a high extent of privacy and security features. [2] It also allows users to form a group who can share information of common interest. Searching a former college roommate, first grade teacher, or an international friend is easier or faster in Facebook and LinkedIn when compared to Yahoo chat and Twoo. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter also have extensive features of privacy settings. Erfanian et al. reported that the average use of SNSs is 50 min/day in Iran. [11] Often, users of SNS view their profiles many times during a single day to check others status. In the present study, faculties use SNS less than an hour and fewer percentage of students reported using SNS for more than 6 h a day due to easy availability of smart phones among the students. [12],[13] This can be avoided by giving counseling to the parents. [14] However, none of the study responders got into issues of stalking. The response to one of the important questions "who introduced the SNS sites to these responders?" most of the faculty mentioned as self, followed by friends and family members. As most of the SNSs are very popular there was no need for anyone to introduce it to faculty. Faculties were comfortable to receive "add requests" from their students and they more often accepted requests from students who are familiar to them. Usually, SNSs are considered as time killers as the long hours of online chatting ultimately ends up with decrease in the quality as well as the productivity of efforts, [15] which was reflected in the study conducted by Leftheriotis et al.[9]

In the present study, it is observed that most of the students and faculties accessed the SNSs, while they were away from the work and study place which did not affect their daily work schedule and time.

A survey conducted among 1000 people across the United States found that many were getting addicted to SNSs, 56% users check Facebook at least once a day, and 29% can stay only few hours without checking their account. [16] However, this present study population was not influenced to that extent as the responders were not depressed or anxious when they abstained from SNS.

The student responders were mostly involved in exchanging information on entertainment aspects, creating an individual profile, and interacting with each other. SNSs provide a platform for creating unique groups involving others, posting interesting information and blogs that enable to develop and update the current knowledge by accessing more informative articles as stated in the work of Landman et al.[17] This study also shows that the present generation utilizes SNSs to update and improve their knowledge by posting and sharing informative journals, interesting articles among their groups. [18],[19] Reports are lacking mentioning the relationship between students and faculties through social networking. In the current study, the students and faculties exchange many different kinds of educational materials, podcasts, webinars, and the outreach community programs. [20] Students are mainly involved in posting and sharing their ideas, photos, especially their service at community setup and videos of public interest. To complement the traditional learning method, students and faculties are involved in online discussion that can improve their academic performances. This increase in communication used in an appropriate manner is beneficial to both students and faculties. [15]

Moreover, the SNSs provide certain opportunities to enhance and have direct interaction with alumni and eminent personalities in the field of interest; that not only is helpful in having the educational materials posted but also helps to maintain a good rapport with them and thereby avail the information on job opportunity and help in their career guidance. [10],[21] SNSs can also help the students to share the information regarding the competitive exams such as important dates, syllabus, and study materials among themselves.

The present study reports that a good percentage of the students make use of this opportunity SNS. Most of the study responders felt that they are more prone to make spelling as well as grammatical mistakes while speaking, writing, and use of wrong punctuation after they are accustomed to social networking. They embrace shortened texts and sentences that are many times carried to their classrooms. The students and faculties primarily use laptops to access SNSs followed by the use of smart phones. [8],[11]

SNSs affect one's health in many ways. [20] Apparently being in front of computer and smart phones for a long period of time leads to no physical activity. If users tend to use these sites for an entire day it implies that they are simultaneously eating and using the SNS. The health status of populations globally has been compromised due to increased physical inactivity. Social networks have been shown to affect physical activity, but in this study, it is observed that the physical activity is not affected and has been agreed by 66.67% of students and 70% of faculties. The responders also had enough time for meditation and could also maintain their weight at a normal level. Students are engaged in outdoor games and it was found that the responders did not have any changes in the pattern of their eating habits, hobbies, and the time spent with friends and family. It was also found that most of the people experienced tearing of eyes, especially more among the students when compared to the faculties. About 30.3% of students and 50% of the faculties have issues with their eye sight. 24.24% of students and 10% of faculties have experienced headaches recently.

A study conducted in the USA mentions that people under 25 years are more likely to lose sleep due to the habit of keeping an eye on their friends' post. [16] In this study, 84.85% of students experienced insomnia and none of the faculties experienced any such issues with sleep patterns. [22] The reason to poor sleep patterns might be that students do not use the SNS during the study hours and the only time they get to catch up with friends' post on SNS sites is late night hours. This in future may be linked to a number of adverse effects on health but as of now no responders have any issues related with stress. With extensive use of SNS sites on the smartphones and laptops, there can be a trend of hyper texting and having repeated stress injury in fingers but fortunately none of our responders had any such symptoms.

Many SNSs regularly make changes that need anyone to update settings recurrently in order to maintain privacy and it is difficult to discover whether those settings are at an appropriate level for privacy due to this many users do not apprehend what details to be excluded and how much of the details to be made public. Tagging of anyone's details is as an incursion of one's disclosure until unless such options are disabled. When SNSs have a "tagging" option, the friends or acquaintances might be able to tag the posts or photographs that may reveal sensitive data. However, in this study, it is seen that most of the responders do not have any issues with the privacy setting offered by SNSs. Most of the teenagers will limit the access of posting an online profile by using appropriate privacy settings. None of our responders had experienced any such privacy issues and or got involved in any legal issues.

The present work is not without any limitations, though the response rate was fewer among faculties there is a chance that the sample size is not the actual representation of a larger body of institutes in the country, also viewpoints of nonresponders were not assessed. The chance of inaccuracy in reporting in this study cannot be negligible as the survey was based on self-reporting.

  Conclusions Top

The trend in use of SNS sites in the present study concludes that SNS has not significantly changed social and personal behavior in the life of students and faculties in a select population in India when compared with the Western countries. A higher use from the student indicates that SNSs are used to do various things such as sharing educational materials, having contact with alumni students and social activities. At first, it was easy to assume that the use of SNS has a negative impact on academics of students but the outcome did not advocate the same. It demonstrates that students and faculties are effectively managing the time they spend on the SNS and ensure it does not disturb their academics and work. Students and faculties are open to use of internet and are frequent users of SNS. They are not reluctant toward using it for learning purposes and professional activities so as to improve their educational acquaintances. Internet facilities offered by their institution have helped students achieve their academic goals and improve e-learning. The negative consequences of habituation to these networking sites such as development of IAD, depression, desire for loneliness, and other health-related issues among the young generation were not reported in this study.


Many thanks to the faculty and student participants for their valuable time in completing the survey. We also acknowledge JSS University, Mysore, authorities for providing support in conducting this study.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]


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