In a study in the University,
A study entitled "new media in Saudi society: reality - influence - ways to deal) issued by the Research and Consulting Studies Institute at King Khalid University uncovered that 89.5% of users of social networks in Saudi Arabia belong to youth category (18-35 years). This was noticed when applying on a random sample that has been selected electronically. The sample included 1388 Saudi Arabian nationals who frequently use social media means; 48% of them were men and 52% were women.
Dean of the Research and Consulting Studies Institute, Dr. Abdul Latif Al Hadithi explained that the importance of this study lies in the nature of the phenomenon the study dealt with, and its influence on forming social behavior. Al Hadithi indicated that this phenomenon has grown dramatically, especially among youth and adolescents categories. Furthermore, the lack of studies and research about this phenomenon increased the importance of this study.
The study aims to find out the real status of the new media and to what extent Saudi society use its means. The study also aims at identifying the classes of the community which frequently use social media, in addition to knowing the most important political implications, security risks, social, ethical, health, business and marketing influences. The study also seeks to take part in guiding officials and decision-makers in order to develop a strategy that could be able to counter the negative effects of the new media, and strengthen the positive effects on the family, Saudi youth, and society.
According to the study, it was noticed that 72% of respondents deal with social media only through their mobile phones, via applications such as snap chat, Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp and others. And 7% of the respondents prefer to interact with means of communication during the morning period, 38% said they use them off-duty, 55% admitted they interact at all times without exception.
The study also showed that 32.6% of respondents spend from 1.5 to 3 hours on using means of communication per day, while 46% spend from 3 to 5 hours per day, and 20% of them spend five hours or more a day. Concerning preferred video clips, 70.9 % preferred comedy sections, 45.2% preferred religious clips while 40.7% preferred news
According to the sample of the study, there were main motives of using social media. First, the spare time, resulting in poor time management, which makes the individual does not feel its value, and looking for ways to spend it; social media is one of these ways. Second, curiosity, social media is considered a virtual world that is full of ideas and renewable technologies which stimulate individual to try them then use, both in his scientific or practical life. Third, making friends as social networks facilitate making friends. It combines realism and virtual friendships, and provide an opportunity to link relationships among people of the same community or from other communities. Fourth, unemployment, which is one of the most important economic problems the individual suffers. This problem pushes youth to find out solutions, even they are virtual. Fifth: family problems. Lack of safety and family warmth push the individual to look for an alternative to compensate deprivation. It may happen in the absence of the role of parents or one of them or because of family disintegration or life concerns.
The study confirmed on holding courses, workshops, and regular meetings to educate young people
It is noteworthy that the study recommended establishing an independent center for monitoring, characterizing, and analyzing what is published on social media, in order to be subjected to study then we can detect public opinion trends. The study also confirmed on holding courses, workshops, and regular meetings to educate young people, to take advantage of the pros of social networks and avoid its drawbacks. In addition, there were many recommendations which support the positive impact of the means of communication and promote prevention and awareness.