Desk. Social media plays an important role in forming opinions and attitudes among the majority of school students today, a new study has found.
The study by the behavioural and mental health department of Fortis Healthcare was conducted among 4,000 school students studying psychology in classes 11 and 12, from over 200 schools across 10 cities — Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Mohali, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Bangalore, Lucknow, Varanasi, Dehradun and Chennai.
The study has claimed that “social media plays a pivotal role in forming opinions and attitudes among the majority of the school students today”.
It also found that as many as 78 per cent of the surveyed students spent a lot of time on social media, the Fortis group said in a statement.
“A majority 92 per cent agreed that it is a conducive platform to spread positive narration about mental health,” it said.
The survey was done under the supervision of Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare.
The study also found that the content which the students see via various social media platforms do contribute towards “influencing their opinions and attitudes”.
“The role and influence of social media in shaping the belief systems and attitudes of the young generations is very evident,” Parikh said.
“The ability of the social media to influence the belief systems and attitudes of the youth cannot be contested. But it is heartening that majority of the students recognise social media as an effective means to create awareness about relevant issues.
“We need to capitalise on the role that social media platforms play in the creating alternative and positive narratives around social issues,” he said.
There is a need to evaluate the way society approaches mental health in the context of the young population and find better mechanisms of connecting and engaging with them on mental health, Parikh said.
The idea behind this survey was to understand the relevance of social media in present times, the impact it has and how it has the power to shape narratives which influence their opinions and attitudes, the statement said.
The survey highlighted the need for media literacy among parents.
Knowledge of social media would enable parents to understand their child’s perspective better and provide insights into how time spent on social media could be more productive and constructive, the statement said.