Some 70 percent of modern information technology users in Kuwait are hooked for more than five hours a day to telecom devices, thus sacrificing long hours of their daily real living for the “unreal world,” according to Kuwaiti experts.
The virtual world started to emerge late last century and rapidly developed early this century, “penetrating our actual world in the last two decades,” information expert Bassam Al-Shemmeri said, explaining how this realm of presumed reality is increasingly overwhelming peoples’ real daily life and conventional styles of living in many countries, including Kuwait.
Shemmeri, along with his fellow Ahmad Safar, has conducted a field study, polling a sample of 506 social media users; on the occasion of Al-Qurain Cultural Festival. The sample, equally divided between men and women, comprises people of various ages.
Up to 72 percent of the modern telecom tools, in Kuwait, excessively use the internet on a daily basis, Shemmeri’s study concluded. This segment of the society gets immersed in the virtual world up to five hours daily, using two-to-four applications fixed on their devices, Shemmeri said.
Proportion of setting up the chatting program, WhatsApp, reaches as high as 90 percent, followed by Snapchat, 40 percent, then Instagram, 38 percent, followed by twitter, 25 percent. Quarter of the polled individuals, particularly productive persons whose age ranges between 31 and 40, use social media means by a proportion of more than 50 percent per day, the Kuwaiti expert’s study revealed.
Moreover, the study has proven anew that rumors spread like fire via the virtual world and that fabricated reports have snowballed by 65 percent in the country. Shemmeri also said that 54 persons, 30 to 40 percent of the chosen sample, had encountered lies, deception and racism while interacting with others in the unrealistic world.
The study sounds the alarm bell as to the users’ well-being, for it shows that the health of 69 percent have been negatively affected, mentioning eye problems, neck ache and insomnia. Social life of 34 percent has been undermined.
Social issues dominate topics of conversations and chatting on the social media; followed by cultural affairs, then politics and religious issues, Shemmeri said, noting the study in this respect has proven that these devices “have been soundly applied in our society.” Ideal usage on record can be seen with initiatives’ launch, studies and information swap, he said asserting the positive benefits of this entity that has facilitated interaction among peoples. Safar, who directly supervised selection of the polled people, urged for serious consideration of this study for sake of realizing some “balance between our real and unreal lives.”
He affirmed that the social communication program WhatsApp lures the majority of the online means’ users, and called for mapping out “policies” in government departments and schools “to ensure productivity of the employees and students,” warning that the addiction to these tools weaken personnel or students’ focus.
Safar called for health guidelines for the society, namely parents, children and youth, of the illicit health hazards caused by the devices. He also urged for guiding the people to use them for useful purposes, such as information and ideas’ exchange and marketing projects.