Online Recreation High, Social Media Literacy Low

Iranians spend 5-9 hours a day on cyberspace  and social networks.Iranians spend 5-9 hours a day on cyberspace  and social networks.

The amount of time spent by Iranian users on social media is less than the global average, but Iranians spend more time on leisure activities online compared with the rest of the world, said Morteza Mousavian, director of Information Technology and Digital Media Development Center affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

“Based on the available figures, Iranians spend 5-9 hours a day on cyberspace and social networks,” he was quoted by Mehr News Agency as saying.

Sixty percent of online users make use of the Internet for recreation and less that 5% for educational purposes. According to research, the average time spent online globally is 16 days a month, while the figure is 6.5-11.5 days a month in the country.

Strengthening social media literacy is the best strategy to counter social harm due to the pervasiveness of cyberspace.

Over 30% of children and adolescents who fall victim to cyber harassment and bullying come from families lacking web and media literacy, according to Shirin Ahmadnia, head of the Social Harm Prevention Department at the State Welfare Organization.

“Unfortunately, the negative consequences of new information technologies outweigh the positive sides,” she said.

Online connections have replaced face-to-face quality time among people, weakening social bonds. Iranian families spend roughly only 17 minutes talking to each other on a daily average.

Social media illiteracy in families further widens the generation gap and brings about additional social problems. About 80% of Iranian youth have constant access to the Internet, with the age group 14-22 on the top of the user list.

Over 114 social networks are active in Iran, most of which operate for entertainment. More than 50% of users spend more than one hour a day on social networks including WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.

According to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, 13 million Iranians are currently using Telegram, a social messaging application for smartphones, through which an assortment of information with no authentic sources, and a mix of fact and fiction are circulated on a daily basis.

With more than 22 million smartphones in the country, the need for an effective system to deal with the socio-cultural impact of cyberspace is being felt more than ever before.

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