More than half of South African students admit to being “addicted” to social media, according to a new study, with the majority believing technology improves both academic study and social life.
The SA High-Tech Student 2013 research study – conducted by World Wide Worx and Student Brands – reports that 59 per cent of students say they are “addicted” to social media, while 85 per cent believe technology such as smartphones, the internet and social media are valuable tools for studying and 83 per cent feel it enhances their social lives.
The social media channel of choice for students is Facebook, with 96 per cent of those surveyed using the service, and 70 per cent of respondents using Twitter.
“For students, social networking and the internet is not a good or a bad thing in itself, but has become an integral part of their lives,” said Daryl Bartkunsky, managing director of Student Brands.
Apple’s iPhone holds the top spot in terms of most desired smartphone, with 40 per cent of students saying they hoped to acquire an iPhone as their next device. 29 per cent covet a Samsung smartphone and 15 per cent hope for a BlackBerry.
These aspirations jar with students current handsets, with the report revealing 57 per cent of students currently own BlackBerry devices, 20 per cent use Nokia phones, and Samsung and iPhone hold only 14 per cent and five per cent of the student market respectively.
“A critical question for cellphone brands is not necessarily who is using the device right now, but what they plan to buy next,” said Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx.
“Our findings in that regard were startling, and send a message to manufacturers about what students want from a phone.”
However, according to Bartkunsky, not many students will actually move to the iPhone as their next device.
“It’s an aspirational phone, but one they can’t afford, so many will go with the low-end BlackBerry because of the cost of the phone and the affordability of BlackBerry Internet access on the older phones. Low-cost Samsung and Nokia smartphones will also benefit.”