J.F. Fondevila-Gascón1, G. Miotto2, M. Polo-López2, P. Mir-Bernal3

3Unav (SPAIN)
Instant messaging service WhatsApp in university is a topic with an increasing interest. The use of smartphones and their corresponding mobile applications as a tool for communication between users and pedagogical tools is a growing reality. The research is of an observational and descriptive nature. The methodology is qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (statistics). It was carried out at the University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain) during 2017, following a personal interview model similar to the one used by Fondevila Gascón et altri (2014), where the model of the Kimberly Young addiction test is adapted to Internet for the use of instant messaging. The final sample consists of 332 interviews with university students, of which 144 are men and 188 are women.

The study shows that Spanish university students have a high degree of dependence on instant messaging applications. A high percentage of them suffer from anxiety and stress derived from excessive use, which can lead to both health problems and worse academic performance. Around 97% of the interviewees use the application more than 10 times a day, and 52.40% recognize losing hours of sleep by having nightly WhatsApp conversations. 50% of the interviewees suffer from the syndrome of "phantom vibration" and 37% check their phone in case of not receiving messages or calls in a few hours. For 54.22% and 59.04%, reading or writing a WhatsApp is their first and last daily activity, respectively.

Another indication of the addiction that young people suffer is that 93.67% find it annoying, more than two thirds feel stress when having to answer immediately and 53.89% acknowledge that they would feel alone if they could not use it during a time.

From the point of view of the educator, this dependence is worrisome, since it can directly affect reducing the concentration and therefore the performance of the students when supposing a clear source of distraction. It can also indirectly affect studies, as it generates stress and anxiety, which accentuate this decline in academic performance. Comfort and gratuitousness encourage the educational use of WhatsApp. Most students use WhatsApp for university-related issues and belongs to some group chat related to their studies and which is an application used by university students for academic aspects.