Digital habits and use of the internet as source of sexual and reproductive health information among undergraduates in northern Nigeria
Background: Surfing the internet and networking via social media have evolved at a startling pace.
Objectives: To determine internet and social media habits and identify predictors of their use as sexual and reproductive health resource among Bayero University students.
Study Design: A cross section of 385 students was interviewed using pre-tested anonymous structured self-completed questionnaires.
Results: Nearly all students 98.4% (n=377) had accessed the internet and most 96.3% (n=363) had visited social media sites. Face book 57.3% (n=208), Twitter 22.3% (n=81) and Blackberry Messenger 8.8% (n=32) were the most popular among students. Of those with internet access,51.2%,46.2%, 39.2% and 38.5% mainly searched for information on HIV/AIDS, STI, sexual activities and menstrual problems respectively. There was more than two-fold likelihood of accessing online sexual information among female students compared to males, adjusted Odds ratio (aOR=2.52); 95% Confidence Interval (95%CI= 2.41-4.86). Similarly, ever-married students had more than twice the chance relative to single students (aOR=2.2, 95%CI=1.17-4.28). Furthermore, younger students (<20 years) were twice more likely to have used online resources compared to their older colleagues (≥30 years) (aOR=2.12, 95%CI=1.32-4.17).
Conclusion: Undergraduate students are increasingly turning to the internet for sexual and reproductive health information. This presents an opportunity for programming.
Key words: Internet, Social media, Reproductive, Sexual health, information source