Interplay between and Influence of Facebook on the Academic and Social Environments of Undergraduate University Students
This paper presents and discusses preliminary qualitative data gathered from undergraduate students of some public and private universities in Peshawar. The data were gathered using semi-structured and in-depth interviews from 30 male and female undergraduate students of various departments from the universities. Thematic data analysis approach was used for analyzing the data. Main findings show that young undergraduate students join and use Facebook for various reasons. Most students had started using Facebook when they were at school and this posed huge challenges for them and predisposed them to falling prey to a number of ills and problems. Students shared that due to peer pressure, motivation and persuasion, they were compelled to join the Facebook. Early experiences of most respondents were not good as they lacked expertise in using the Facebook and knew little about the dangers of sharing personal information and material. Moreover, most students used Facebook for entertainment and infotainment, which included creating and sharing religious and political posts. Many students also shared the academic benefits accrued using Facebook. However, for a majority of the respondents, in addition to privacy issues, videos of violence and brutality were aspects that needed controlling and having a knock down effect on them. For most of the respondents Facebook use entailed huge amount of their time that they argued led to compromising their academic time and performance. There is a need for parents and teachers to train and educate children and students for productive, effective academic and safe use of the Facebook and social media. In this regard, classroom discussion, peer support and workshops could play an important role in sensitizing and educating students about the strengths and limitations of the social media.