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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 86-94

Addiction and usage of social media among dental students studying in dental institute of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh

Department of Public Health Dentistry, ITS-Centre for Dental Studies and Research Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission16-Jan-2021
Date of Decision29-Apr-2021
Date of Acceptance27-Dec-2021
Date of Web Publication25-Feb-2022

Correspondence Address:
Shivangi Varshney
J and K Pocket, Dilshad Garden, Delhi - 110 092
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_3_21

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Background: Social media is frolicking as an utmost priority in today's livelihood, and it is such a milieu today to see people browsing and surfing social networking sites, reading blogs, or chatting by using laptops, mobile phones, or other sophisticated devices anywhere and at any time and enjoying with their favorite social apps – Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, etc., Aim: The aim of the study is to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practices of social media usage and addiction among dental students. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was done among 360 students of a dental teaching institute in Uttar Pradesh, India. A questionnaire was prepared which had three sections - related to demographic details and usage and frequency of social media apps based on “Social Media Addiction Scale,” developed by Arslan A and Kırık. These were used as the data collection tool to measure social media addiction among dental students. Responses were recorded in 5-point Likert scale – strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 23. Results: Out of total 360 participants, 276 (76.70%) were female while 84 (23.30%) were male. 238 (66.11%) were undergraduates (UGs) followed by 122 (33.89%) postgraduates (PGs). A significantly higher number of UGs were engaged with their patients in personal conversation on social media platform, while a significantly higher number of PGs believed that social media had a positive effect on dentistry. Questions on social media addiction scale by Arslan A and Kırık revealed that out of total study participants, 48.7% of UGs agree on the belief that new media technologies change human life, whereas 39.4% of PGs agree on the same and the result was statistically significant (P ≤ 0.05). Conclusion: Social media networking sites and apps have attracted students in its digital web and hold strong position with new horizons whether in comprehensive or educational, interacting, entertainment, or spending leisure time.

Keywords: Dentistry, knowledge, social media addiction scale, social media usage

How to cite this article:
Varshney S, Menon I, Gupta R, Sharma A, Arora V, Bashir S. Addiction and usage of social media among dental students studying in dental institute of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2022;20:86-94

How to cite this URL:
Varshney S, Menon I, Gupta R, Sharma A, Arora V, Bashir S. Addiction and usage of social media among dental students studying in dental institute of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2022 [cited 2024 Feb 27];20:86-94. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/aphd/pages/default.aspx/text.asp?2022/20/1/86/338516

  Background Top

The ubiquitous nature of social media is unquestionable and at its utmost priority among people of every age group. Social media sites and applications have also found their way into the bureau of medical students, residents, physicians, and medical educators across the universe.

Globally, social media and networking sites are defined as world wide web that allow users to interact with each other by sharing information, opinions, knowledge, and interests by shaping human interactions in diversified ways.[1] It has been estimated that 94% of adults worldwide own a social media site account and have visited or used one within the last month. Approximately 73% of adolescents use social media. Examples of social networking services or sites (SNSs) are Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flicker, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Snapchat, Yahoo, Hike, Gmail, WeChat, Skype, Imo, and Viber. Social media users create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities, and they are able to network with other members who share similar or common interest, dreams, and goals.[2] Social media apps have led the globe turned from real life to reel life. People have been implicated with digital world and have built virtual reel room in real homes. Social media is frolicking as an utmost priority in today's livelihood, acting as a set of activities essential to everyday life that are conducted over one's life span. It is such a milieu today to see people browsing and surfing SNSs, reading blogs, or chatting by using laptops, mobile phones, or other sophisticated devices anywhere and at any time. Undoubtedly, social media is one of the briskly mushrooming segments on the internet.[3]

In one study, ≥30% of medical students admitted that using Facebook had a negative effect on their academic performance, and 44% reported that they surfed Facebook during their study hours. Around 27% of these students reported that their grade point average (GPA) had decreased compared to 9% who reported an increase in their GPA.[4]

The figure of internet users had increased over the years in rural as well as urban areas and is expected to cross the 600 million streaks by the end of 2019.

India has 560 million active internet users as of 2019 and is the second-largest online hub leaving behind China. It is estimated that by 2023, there will be around 650 million active internet users in India. The majority of India's internet users are smart phone enjoyers, who take advantage of cheap alternatives to expensive broadband/Wi-Fi connections that require computers, laptop, and other sources. All-inclusive master web and data tailback in India has increased by 47% in 2019 taken by continued 4G consumption. Indians have 1.2 billion mobile phone subscriptions downloaded in 2019.[5]

In the specialty of health sciences, it helps in practice of evidence-based medicine and dentistry, research and learning, access to medical and dental online databases, managing patients from unreached areas, and academic and recreational purposes. A recent study reported a prevalence of 0.7% among Indian adolescents. Young individuals (i.e., between 18 and 24 years) were more vulnerable to become internet addicts than old individuals.[6] Social media initially provided a means for socialization but are increasingly use for education purpose. 85% of medical students and faculty use smart phones daily.

Affordability of the internet as compared to paper-based circulation of information and being available worldwide instantly on demand provide an easier, eco-friendly, and nominal communication approach for health-care professionals and have key intimation for dental education. 75% of adults aged 18–24 years and 57% of adult aged 25–34 years use SNSs.[7]

Dentistry has shown an interest in sprouting its arms to the world. Social media is a popular, facile, and affordable way to advertise a dental practice where an individual or a doctor can read news articles related to health or tweet on that, listen to experts, attend online lectures and clinical skills workshops, work on researches, post their clinical works, consult about any case regarding patient's treatment and issues, practice management challenges, make referrals and market or promote their business, and make referrals and also most important patients each and every information can be recorded into a software.[8] In this pandemic situation of COVID-19, work from home has been implicated by government, and in–out and around globe, everything is being done from home. Classes, seminars, journal club presentations, webinars, research studies discussion, and survey through web technology through zoom and meet apps have been implicated in dental education.

Many studies have described the use of social media tools to enhance clinical students' understanding of communication, professionalism, and ethics.

Hence, social media is emanating day by day.

Based on the previous studies done on personality and social media, it is timely that comprehensive study has to be done to perceive the inference of social media on browser personality. Considering the enormous amount of time spent on social media, it is important to analyze the knowledge, attitude, and practices among dental students how they deal, interact, or use the platform. This research was conducted with an aim to understand the frequency and ways in which social media is used by the dental students in Uttar Pradesh (UP). The study also provides a context in which the impact of the digital world on the dental professionalism. There is scarcity of data regarding the social media usage among dental students in UP. Hence, the aim of the study was to analyze knowledge, attitude, and practices among usage of social media and addiction among dental students.

  Methods Top

A cross-sectional study was conducted among 360 study subjects of a Dental Teaching Institute to assess the addiction and usage of social media in Ghaziabad, UP, in December, 2019. There were a total of 378 dental students (including 250 undergraduates [UGs] and 128 postgraduates [PGs]) who were randomly approached to participate in the study. Study population consisted of dental UGs, interns, and PGs. Attendance of every batch was taken as per the registered biometric list from the administrative section of the Institute. The study subjects who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were enrolled in the study.

Inclusion criteria

  1. Subjects who gave informed consent
  2. Subjects who were present on the day of questionnaire distribution.

Exclusion criteria

  1. Study subjects who do not use android phones or social media apps
  2. Study subjects who were absent and not willing to participate in the study.

Ethical approval and informed consent

The study protocol was approved by the Institutional Ethical and Review Board (ITSCDSR/IIEC/RP/2019/016), and written informed consent was sought from all the subjects after explaining them the aim and objectives of the study.

Time period of the study

The study was conducted in December 2019 in a dental teaching institute of Ghaziabad, UP.

Pilot study/preliminary test run

Before the commencement of study, a pilot study was carried out among 25 subjects to evaluate the feasibility and validity of the questionnaire. The respondents were also asked for feedback on clarity of the questions and whether there was any difficulty or ambiguity in answering questions as to what sort of answers were required. Based on the responses, few modifications were done to improve the understanding of the questionnaire.

Psychometric properties of the questionnaire

Data collection

The final questionnaire comprised 3 sections. Section A solicited general demographic details including gender and year of dental course, Section B consisted of 22 questions regarding usage, frequency, and purpose of social media apps and relationship between dentists and patients, and Section C included 25 questions based on “Social Media Addiction Scale,” developed by Arslan A and Kırık,[1] used as the data collection tool to measure social media addiction of the young people. This scale was used for the first time in India. Besides addiction factor, it also has ethics and convergence factors. As the survey is taken from article in which the think about was drained outside nation so to check to check the legitimacy of the outlined survey, it was created some time recently four specialist dental practitioners/experts to exhort their level of agreement to the address articulations employing a five-point rating scale. Questionnaire was in English language. Responses were recorded in 5-point Likert scale, ranging from strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, to strongly disagree. Questionnaires were distributed to UG students in their theory classroom and were advised to fill it out before beginning of their classes while PGs were given the questionnaire in their respective departments. They were guided that if they do not understand any item on the questionnaire, they can ask the investigator. Sufficient time was given to them to fill the questionnaire. The students were followed up 2–3 times for getting 100% response rate.

Statistical analysis

The returned questionnaires were coded and entered on computer, using IBM SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) software, version 23. Descriptive statistical method was applied, Chi-square test was applied to compare the usage of social media among the UGs and PGs, and Mann–Whitney U-test was used to compare the mean differences between the groups. The level of significance was set at P < 0.05.

  Results Top

The total study subjects comprised 360 participants, of which 84 (23.30%) were males and 276 (76.7%) were females. 228 (63.0%) were pursuing Bachelor of Dental Surgery and [Table 1] 132 (36.7%) participants were pursuing Master of Dental Surgery Responses of the study subjects regarding ethics and usage of social media apps in dentistry revealed that 224 (98.25%) were UGs and 130 (98.49%) used social media networking sites.
Table 1: Distribution of study subjects according to demographic details

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WhatsApp was used among 68.9% of PGs when compared to 57.01% of UGs, whereas higher prevalence of Instagram usage was observed among UGs (26.76%) when compared to PGs (17.42%) and the difference was found to be statistically significant (P ≤ 0.05).

Mobile was the foremost regularly utilized gadget utilized by both UGs and PGs (87.71%) and (85.60%) PGs taken after by computer/laptop and tablet. Majority of UGs, 75 (32.89%), spent 1–2 h on social media platforms per day, whereas PGs, 32 (24.24%), spent 3–4 h. Majority of UGs (34.64%) posted professional content on their social media account sometimes, whereas majority of PGs (45.45%) rarely posted professional content on their social media profile. Nearly half of the study participants were not aware of code of conduct to be followed on social media use as health professionals. The main purpose of using social media among UGs as found to be communication (69.53%) followed by connecting with patients (13.59%), whereas among PGs, the main purpose was communication (69.69%) followed by marketing (29.21%), and the difference is found to be statistically significant.

A total of 84 (36.84%) UGs and 66 (50.0%) PGs always took prior consent from the patients before posting their cases on social media profiles. For the question has use of social media contributed to your success as a dental professional, 30.7% of UGs and 35.6% of PGs responded negatively. Among PGs, 56 (42.42%) felt that it is always easier to handle patients who have prior information gathered online through social media and a statistically significant difference was observed. Overall majority of UGs and PGs believed that social media had positive effect on dentistry [Table 2].
Table 2: Responses of study subjects regarding ethics and usage of social media apps in dentistry

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From [Table 3], of total study participants, 48.7% of UGs agree on the belief that new media technologies change human life, whereas 39.4% of PGs agree on the same. Around UGs (57.9%) and PGs (40.2%) believed that they were being followed or stalked by someone on social media and the result was statistically significant (P ≤ 0.05).
Table 3: Social media addiction scale by Arikson and Kırık

Click here to view

  Discussion Top

The present study mainly focused on smart phone addiction and its association with different indicators of smart phone use with the help of a social media addiction scale by Kırık et al. among dental students which is the first of its kind in India. The present study depicted that a majority of female dental students, 276 (76.7%), were addicted to smart phones than the male participants, that is, 84 (23.3%). This may be attributed to more females taking admission in dental colleges in North India as compared to males.[9] A study conducted in 2012 by Jali et al.[10] in Rajasthan among dental students reported gender distribution to be 56.5% of females and 43.5% of males. Another study conducted in 2015 in Indore city by Kumar et al.[11] among dental students reported that there were 87.1% females and 12.9% males, which is similar to another studies conducted by Deogade et al.[12] in 2017 among dental students in Madhya Pradesh reported that there were 71.7% females and 28.3% males and Bhatt and Gaur[13] in 2018 among dental students of Himachal Pradesh reported that there were 78.8% females and 20% males.

According to the present study, mobile is the most widely used device by 87.73% UGs and 85.60% PGs, which is similar to previous studies conducted by Sen et al.[14] and Shimray and Chennupati[15] among dental students in which 100% of participants owned smart phones. Another study conducted in 2016 by Vaidya et al.[16] among college-going arts and commerce stream youths showed that 97% of the students were using smart phones and only 3% of the students were not using smart phones. Another study conducted by Alosaimi et al. in 2016 among dental students of a private college in Saudi Arab reported that around 71% study subjects owned smart phones.[17] Another studies conducted by Makkar et al. in 2015,[18] Kumar et al. in 2015,[11] and Deogade et al. in 2017[12] reported that 100% of dental students in the studies had smart phones. This rise in spike of owning keen phones may be due to developing utilize of organizing locales, rise of e-learning and instruction by means of distinctive apps for day by day work such as chatting and class, inquire about work. This could be due to the fact that most of students stay away from home in hostel or outside and need mobiles to communicate. This is an alarming indication too as students spend most of their time on mobiles and social media apps.

In our study, 98.25% UG and 98.49% PG dental students used social media apps or SNSs. WhatsApp (61.4) was the most widely used networking app by the study subjects followed by Instagram (23.30%), YouTube (9.70%), and Facebook (5.60%), whereas previous studies conducted by Naguib et al.[19] and Kırık et al.[1] found that Facebook is the most widely used platform. A study conducted by Deogade et al.[12] in Madhya Pradesh in 2017 among dental students reported that 35.3% of dental students used Facebook and 29.3% of dental students used WhatsApp. Another findings from a study conducted in 2016 by Sen et al.[14] found that Facebook (44%) and WhatsApp (44%) were equally used. This may be due to the emergence of newly developed apps in vogue or trend which has evolved as the top priority among the common people. According to a recent survey on usage of apps, it states that as of October 2018, WhatsApp is the highly ranked global messenger app with some 200 million more users than Facebook Messenger.[5] Therefore, the attraction of connecting with like-minded people privately and multiple personal and professional groups free of cost is making WhatsApp a perfect tool.

Study subjects in the current study spent on an average of 3–4 h on social media which is in contrast with the previous studies done by Hamid et al.[20] among undergraduates of arts and law students and Kırık et al.[1] among young students where study 50% subjects spent less than 3 h on social media apps, and in the latter study, 48.2% of the students spent >3 h. Comparable finding was found as our current ponder reported by Bhuvaneshwari et al.[21] among dental understudies of Chennai that 62% dental understudies utilized social media apps for inexact 4 hours. Increase in timings of social media usage may be due to development of more apps in the past few years, and all the works and assignments have been converted into digital mode from conventional mode. In this devastating time of COVID-19, the whole country is shifting towards digital education in the country and even the dental institutes are using social media apps as a ladder to encourage e-learning among students so that studies should not be at loss and students can continue with their usual seminar presentations, lectures, and webinars.

In our study, 69.73% UGs and 69.69% PGs used social media apps for communication as the utmost priority, and the results are similar to another study conducted in 2017 by Bal et al.[22] among college students of different departments, reporting that all participants used apps for communication purpose for the first use as they believe that social media and apps usage in education makes communication skills better and improves the cooperative learning of the students. A study conducted by Makkar et al. in 2015[18] among dental faculties of Devangere city reported that 53.4% study subjects used social media applications to communicate with other dental professionals and referring of articles. Another study conducted by Sunar et al.[23] in 2018 among students contacted through survey planet link reported that 57% study subjects used social media applications for chatting purpose. There are common groups to discuss patient's cases, seminar, post notes, and pictures through a common group involving many colleagues in one group. Moreover, there are several dental educator apps which have free access to ample of research articles, latest advancements in dentistry, etc., Getting a handle on all these at one put which is free of fetched, obtainable, and on a single tap, communication with the instructors and among companions and classmates or any specialist on the globe to communicate through distinctive apps has made less demanding which centers on centered instruction that's exceptionally fundamental. Utilization of gadgets such as portable workstations, mobiles have gotten to be one of the foremost crucial accessories of social and proficient life.[24]

In the present study, majority of UGs (49.56%) and PGs (63.63%) neither used to upload treated cases nor believe in interacting with patients through apps and similar findings were reported from a study done in 2014 by Ventola,[25] which may be due to a risk that can reflect unfavorably on students and affiliated institutions. Social media conveys information about a person's personality, values, and priorities, and the first impression generated by this content can be long lasting.

In this study, the addiction factor of “Social Networking Status Scale,” developed by Kırık et al.,[1] was used as the data collection tool to measure social media addiction among dentists. The reliability and validity tests of the scale had been conducted. Besides addiction factor, it has also ethics and convergence factors.

No significant difference in responses to questions on social media addiction scale was found between UGs and PGs. Significantly higher UGs (57.9%) and PGs (40.2%) believed that they were being followed or stalked by someone on social media.

Findings of our study when compared with the study conducted in 2015 by Kırık et al.[1] showed contrast findings with several questions. According to our study, around 59.2% of UGs and 51.5% PGs strongly think that new technologies have changed human life and this finding is similar to a study done in 2016 by Sen et al., stating that 51.4% study subjects think the same. Differences in results can be due to the gap in both studies and extended exigency of internet among users due to studies, leisure time, or communication. This broad spectrum of social media has the ability to cover, interact, and develop. Whether reel or real aspect, social media has acquired a personal room in everyone's life.

When subjects were inquired whether ponder subjects see at the shared photos on social media, look for their companions in the social media stages and feel around the connective control of social media, to which 50.9% UGs, (80.6%) PGs understudies agreed and (34.50%) subjects oppose this idea, individually. Around 43.4% UGs and 51.5% PGs from the present study agreed to the statement that they spent free time in surfing the internet.

Students or people of any age group want to see digital media to be used to facilitate more effective interactions and communication with each other regarding any work to make it easier and eco-friendly. In addition, at the time of COVID-19, staying at one put and surfing and utilizing sends, WhatsApp groups for talk has been demonstrated more successful. The increased use of digital media is changing people's everyday lives and the way they connect and collaborate in the broader societal context, at work, and everywhere.

Everyone seems to be logged-in, remain online, and connected ignoring what the schedule timings permit. We are eager to search for information and, at times, casually interact with others on topics that relate to anything and everything fusing our professional and social lives. Dental students nowadays are in trend to involve in blogs to promote their thoughts regarding career, dentistry-related topics, and modern dentistry, henceforth becoming pro-processors. Updating profiles on distinctive enlistment destinations and apps making a step clear toward work or clinic setup. Additionally, making and maintaining the records of patients from a long time back to a long time more on app making the dental student's work simpler. At the time of pandemic, devastating situation COVID-19, on-stage conferences, webinars, seminars, etc., are taken by virtual platforms making the digital acceleration at highest peak during this time. All this together has increased self-esteem, well-being, team work, and peer-to-peer learning, and somehow positive effects on budding dentists.

  Conclusion Top

Social media networking sites and apps have attracted students in its digital web and hold strong position with new horizons whether in comprehensive or educational, interacting, entertainment, or spending leisure time. Although control measures have been instituted and implemented, further research is needed to be done to effectively challenge the problem of social media addiction in India. As dental practitioners, further discussions should be carried out for a better understanding of implications of addiction in both academic and professional scenarios.


  1. Social media is a double-edged sword. It is recommended that dental students should use networking sites for research and academic purposes more as compared to personal work. It has proven to be a boon in this COVID pandemic time
  2. It is recommended that dental students should get engaged into dental apps for searching new advancements and articles and creating blogs to create awareness and promote education and thoughts with the world to build up themselves using these social media platforms
  3. Institutions should encourage students to engage with patients through video counseling and virtual live sessions on health education, promotion, basic first-line treatment therapies and oral hygiene instructions, etc.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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