n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - The impact of social network sites on the social health of University of Venda students, South Africa

Supplement 1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


An exploratory, descriptive research was conducted among 50 randomly selected male and female students at University of Venda, a rural university in South Africa. The aim of the study was to investigate students' use of social network sites (SNS) and their effect on the social health and well-being of students. The results showed that majority of students (89%) used SNS mainly to chat with friends and update accounts. and were the most subscribed SNS on the campus. The use of SNS have made impact on the social health of students: 74% maintained that SNS changed their lives, allowing them to speedily communicate with friends and find new friends (68%); on the other hand 63% thought that SNS caused social isolation and 64% of them preferred chatting to friends rather than meeting with them. About 88% experienced conflicts with their partners due to SNS use and over 87% felt peer pressure-effect. The research findings point to students' frequent use of SNS sites and exposure to a variety of social development opportunities that can promote social health on one hand, and negative effects such as isolation, anxiety, and interpersonal conflicts that can compromise their social well-being on the other. Moreover, the study findings indicated alteration in social interaction patterns and possible change in the meaning of friendship and friendship circles. Based on these findings, and considering the vast and excessive use of SNS by students, more research on this topic is recommended. It is also suggested that an intervention programme is introduced in undergraduate curriculum to make students aware of the pros and cons of SNS and teach them strategies that optimise their social health benefits and guard them against possible harms.

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