Smartphone Usage Practices, Preferences and its Perceived Effects in Medical Students at a Tertiary Care Medical College
Background: Smartphone usage has increased over the past few years in both students, professionals and the common man. Owing to this a model of excessive smartphone and smartphone addiction has been developed. The aim of the study was to assess the amount and types of smartphone usage amongst medical students. Methodology: The setting was a tertiary care medical college and a cross sectional design was employed. The subjects were 145 undergraduate (UG) and post graduate (PG) students studying in a tertiary care medical college. They were divided into two groups UG and PG. They were administered a semi-structured proforma and the App Usage Tracker (AUT) and Whatsapp usage statistics (WUS) app was installed to assess their smartphone usage pattern. The study compared two groups and chi square test, Mann Whitney U test, odds ratio and Pearson’s correlation was done using computerized statistical software. Results: There was no difference in data consumption and perceived time spent on smartphone between UG and PG groups. Undergraduates sent and received far greater messages than post graduates (p=0.0385 and p=0.0004). Participants who reported physical problems after smartphone use sent out significantly more number of messages on whatsapp over a period of 7 days (p = 0.046). Number of messages sent from whatsapp showed a significant positive correlation with number of messages received on whatsapp (r = 0.729, p < 0.001) and size of the media sent from whatsapp (r = 0.338, p < 0.001). Size of media sent from whatsapp correlated significantly with the number of messages received on whatsapp (r = 0.561, p < 0.001). Conclusion: Smartphone usage is an issue that needs to be looked at seriously amongst medical students and the emergence of problems related to smartphone usage in this population warrants further research.