A survey on the likelihood of young people getting addicted to social media and the internet has shown that 8.3% of Cypriot youth is faced with symptoms of addiction to social media, while the replies of 24% of participants suggested an overall problematic use of the internet.
The survey, carried out by the Alexander Research Centre in September 2020, sampled 1,059 people aged 15-35, including 465 secondary school students and 594 university students. The research findings, that was funded by the Cyprus National Addictions Authority, the Cyprus Youth Organisation and Hellenic Bank, were presented before the parliamentary committee on education on Wednesday. MPs were briefed on the public health risk posed by social media and internet addiction.
In statements after the committee meeting, Alexander Research Centre manager Costas Christodoulides said that similar studies probing social media and internet addiction among youth and adults have been carried out abroad, seeking to study the darker side of a relationship that has in many ways had a positive impact on society.
According to Christodoulides, “our survey of a sample of 1,059 young people, school students and university students in Cyprus revealed that a significant percentage, which should be noted by the state, is faced with an addiction problem."
The problem of addiction to social media and the internet exists and constitutes a danger for public health in Cyprus that requires the attention of the state, Christodoulides noted, suggesting that positive initiatives by the government could focus on schools and take the form of awareness programs promoting a positive use of technology.
The study’s results which found that 8.3% of Cypriot youth is faced with symptoms of addiction to social media, while the replies of 24% of participants suggested an overall problematic use of the internet. Additionally, 17% of participants said that due to an excessive use of social media they faced problems with their studies at school or university.
Christodoulides also spoke of the time factor involved with addiction. "Our survey showed that 30% of participants spends 4–8 hours daily on the internet," he said, adding that 9% replied that they spend 8-24 hours on social media on a daily basis.
Chairman of parliamentary committee on education Kyriakos Hadjiyianni expressed concern over the findings and said that if steps are not taken this would have an adverse impact on both the individual, the family and society as whole.