Resist social media addiction, Chigbo urges medical students

Maureen Chigbo (3rd left) and other participants 

Maureen Chigbo, publisher of Realnews Magazine Online, has enjoined medical students of Bingham University, Karu, Nasarawa State, to shun spending hours on social media so as not to perform poorly in their academic studies.

Chigbo, who is also the president of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, stated this while speaking on "Social Media in Medical Training and Profession" July 9, at the symposium organised by Nigerian Medical Students Association, NiMSA, Preclinical Forum, North Central in collaboration with Bingham University Medical Students Association at the Architecture auditorium, Bingham University, Karu.

According to her, social media addiction can negatively affect academic performance, citing scholarly studies which showed that students who spend up to three hours on social media performed poorly. Quoting a study done by Bhandakar Ajay et al in 2020, she said that 41.5 percent of students use social media for up to three hours per day. WhatsApp, 98.25 percent and YouTube, 91.75 percent were the most commonly used social media application by the students while 73.3 percent used social media to read health related news; 71.5 percent used it to complete assignments and more than 50 percent used it for seminar preparations.

However, the study showed that "academic performance of female students was better than male students. There was a significantly higher use of social media among academically low performing medical students compared with high academic performing medical students." 

Also, there was a weak negative correlation between academic performance and social media usage and a strong positive correlation between social media usage and social media addiction score. The study concluded that social media has a negative impact on academic performance of 21st century undergraduate students, Chigbo said.

"As students, you can use social media to share ideas about your lectures, hold discussions and revisions on your class work as your examinations approach, and for other worthwhile engagements, and not just for gossips, sharing pictures, jokes and other irrelevant acts that will not augur well for your academics and career," she advised.

Noting that there are concerns about the use of social media in medical profession, Chigbo, told the students to be sensitive to ethical issues in their relationship with patients through the social media. She said this is important because the matching of patients and physicians via social media entails some risks and may lead to speculation and misunderstanding.

According to her, ethical issues arises from the fact that social media, web and mobile technologies are increasingly used in healthcare and direct support-patient-centred care. She said that patients benefit from disease self management tools, contact to others and close monitoring.

She said that researchers study drug efficiency or recruit patients for clinical studies via these technologies, adding that low communication barriers in social media, limited privacy and security issues leads to problems from an ethical perspective, according to K. Denecke et al (2015).

The GOCOP president cited a study by K. Denecke et al on medical students from Afyoin Kocatepe University, Faculty of Medicine, Afyonkaratusar, Turkey, which revealed that 93.4 percent of medical students used social media while 89.3 percent used it for professional purposes. 
The study showed that attitude toward s social media were based on five factors such as professional usefulness, popularity, ethics, barriers and innovative.

During the programme, there was a panel session which featured Kardi, former president of the Bingham University Medical Students Association, who is now a medical doctor,m; Emmanuel Idodoh, the NiMSA Vice President, Internal; Collins Ijah, NiMSA fund raiser assistant and Tsavsar Manaseh, general secretary of the Northern Caucus. They discussed issues about the medical school life, surviving the hustles and tussle of medical school and also shared their leadership experiences in NiMSA and beyond.

It was a momentous interactive event as many preclinical students learned a lot, asked questions and also sought mentorship avenues as well as opportunities in NiMSA.

Notable guests who attended included Associate. Prof. Danborno, who represented the Dean Faculty of basic medical sciences. She commended the organisers of the event and emphasized on the need for students to strike a balance between academics and extracurricular life and also take up opportunities as they come while delivering on every given task. 

Ogene, BhUMSA Patron, Preclinical arm; Ben Odebe, member of Academic planning Unit, Bingham University; Choji Ebenezer, NiMSA SAIP Coordinator; Onminyi Paul Mathew, SSA on special duties to the Uamsa president; BhUMSA clinical and Preclinical Executives; The Asson president and Med lab presidents, Bingham University, 

The organisers expressed appreciation to NiMSA NEC for their constant support, adding that they are determined to do more as a forum for the growth of the Preclinical students and NiMSA's generations to come.
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