Digital Media Use and Social Engagement: How Social Media and Smartphone Use Influence Social Activities of College Students

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2016 Apr;19(4):264-9. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2015.0408. Epub 2016 Mar 18.


Social media and mobile phones have emerged as important platforms for college students' communication activities. This study examined how college students' psychological need to belong is associated with their use of social media and smartphones. In addition, it further investigated the effects of college students' digital media use on their social engagement. Findings revealed that students' need to belong was positively related with their use of social media and smartphones, which could further facilitate their social engagement. Moreover, the relationship between the need to belong and social engagement was mediated by college students' digital media use. This study offers empirical evidence of the positive effects of digital media on social behaviors and contributed to further understanding about the mechanisms by which need to belong leads to social engagement through digital media use.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Smartphone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Universities
  • Young Adult