The Influence of Social Media on the Health Seeking Behaviour of University Students
Social media is an internet-based form of communication that allows users to share information, create web content and have conversations. Some of the popular social media platforms include Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Telegram, Snapchat, etc. This study aimed to establish how students use social media platforms to access health information. A cross-sectional survey design with a randomized sampling technique was employed. The research was conducted in 2019. Open and closed-ended questionnaires were used to assess the responses. The study found that all the 354 (100%) respondents were active internet users with an account to at least one social media site. The majority of them had an account on more than one social media platform. A total of 64 (18.1%) people answered in the affirmative to ever being influenced by social media to start medication or treatment, while 39 (11%) also responded positively to being influenced by social media to stop medication or treatment. The study found that out of the 354 completed questionnaires, only 134 respondents always discussed the authenticity of health-related information obtained on social media with health professionals. Based on the results of this study, it can be concluded that the majority of university students are active users of social media. Many university students access health information on social media and a considerable number of them relies on information obtained from social media to make decisions concerning their health, such as starting or stopping treatment or medication.