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Chulalongkorn research reveals 15 biggest risks on social media

Feb 09. 2020
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By The Nation

Most people spend on average three and half hours to eight hours a day online, with the four main activities being entertainment, connection, reading news and work or school matters, Dr Phnom Kleechaya, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Communication Arts at Chulalongkorn University, said based on the results of a study on risks and engagement in online platforms.

The data collected came from both qualitative and descriptive research. In-depth interviews covered four generations -- teenagers and young people aged 15-22; young people aged 23-39; adults aged 40-59; and elderly people aged 60 and above. Seventy-four people were interviewed between January and May 2019.

Dr Phnom Kleechaya,

Following the interviews, the research was developed into questionnaires to conduct survey research in all four groups of 2,580 samples in 11 provinces -- Chiang Mai, Tak, Phitsanulok, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nong Khai, Ubon Ratchathani, Chanthaburi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla, and Bangkok.

Research on media platforms found that Line, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter were the most popular, with usage frequencies of 7-8 times a day and each usage being half an hour to an hour per time.

The most favoured activities were: posting own content, followed by commenting, sharing a story and making a live video. The sample group had on average 101-500 friends online. They followed 16-25 public pages, with 11-20 discussion groups. The sample group said they would feel uncomfortable if they had to stop using social media.

Dr Phnom said the 15 most-discussed issues on social media, according to the survey, were violence, advertisement of exaggerated products, false health information, fake news, pornographic content, online lottery, online gambling, being tricked into buying fake products, being deceived and persuaded to earn illegal money, being hacked, online Ponzi scheme, being tricked by strangers, personal data exposing, online shares and being bullied. The top five risks are violent content 63.02 per cent, overloaded ads 62.87 per cent, unreliable health content 60.66 per cent, fake news 60.39 per cent and pornographic content 51.59 per cent respectively.

However, separated by each age group, it was found that the seven risks in terms of age groups were:

15-22 years -- visual violence, exaggerated advertising, fake health information, fake news, pornographic content, online gambling, and being deceived and persuaded to earn illegal money.

23-39 years -- online scams like exaggerated advertising, violence, false health information, fake news, pornography, online gambling and being tricked into buying products as they are working group with purchasing power.

40-59 years -- exaggerated advertising risks, fake health information, violence, fake news, pornography, online lottery, and online gambling.

60 years and older -- online risk, including false health information, fake news, violence, online lottery pictures, exaggerated advertisements, pornographic images and online Ponzi scheme respectively.

The research showed that Thai people of all age groups face many online risks. The working group in the 23-39 age group were found to have more risk than other groups as they had the purchasing power.

As for digital literacy skills and social media awareness in all seven areas, the sample group found that the subjects had five general skills: Access, Information Evaluation, Utilisation, Identity and Citizenship, and Risk Reduction, which are different for each age group.

Meanwhile, the other two skills claimed to seek an improvement in all groups. “The two skills that need to be improved are ‘social communication’ such as commenting and using media with awareness, and ‘Understanding Media Text’. To understand content on media, both direct content and hidden agenda, both skills need to be developed,” said Dr Phnom.

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