Poll: Saudi Snapchat Users Not Afraid of Covid-19

Poll: Saudi Snapchat Users Not Afraid of Covid-19

Snapchat users in Saudi Arabia feel more prepared to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to a survey from the social media firm.

Four in five of those who took part in the survey said they were in a better position than they were a month ago to combat the global health emergency.

Other findings from the survey showed that the app’s users were also aware of avoiding misinformation and fake news about the pandemic, with 67 percent of those surveyed turning to official government sources for information on the outbreak, 26 percent tuning into TV news and 30 percent using general online news sources.

A lockdown was imposed last month in Saudi Arabia, with people only allowed to leave their homes for essential purposes such as accessing health care or buying groceries.

The curfew, which is in place until further notice, has seen Snapchat users spending the time at home for personal growth.

Almost half said they were looking after themselves through self-care activities, 36 percent were working on their physical fitness, while 33 percent said they were using the curfew period to learn a new skill.

Snapchat has millions of active users in the Kingdom and is reported to be more popular than Instagram or Twitter.

Abdulla Alhammadi, MENA business lead of Snap Inc., said that people in Saudi Arabia were spending more time to connect with their close friends, families and loved ones because of the impact the outbreak was having on daily life.

“Shedding light on how the community is facing the current situation has helped us to provide people with creative ways and tools to interact with their family members or co-workers in a fun and engaging way, while ensuring they have access to credible, fact-based information about coronavirus,” he said.

People were finding ways to maintain their mental well-being despite the disruption of COVID-19, according to the survey’s findings which said that 44 percent of participants were spending time with family and friends to keep calm during the upheaval. Video games and fitness were also given as examples of relieving stress.

Some Saudis believed the pandemic and curfew would give people pause for thought about future lifestyles.

“Coronavirus was not a barrier for many Saudis but, during this pandemic, there is an opportunity to reconsider our daily lifestyle and find useful ways to build family and social relations,” Dr. Majed Abdullah Al-Hedayan, a senior legal consultant and analyst, told Arab News.

He said there was time to explore the role of technology in helping students complete their formal education and the development of their personal skills through virtual classes. The rise in remote working would also have benefits for the community, he added, while quarantine had revealed the ability of citizens to invest their time positively, citing reading, cooking, exercise and playing traditional games as proof of how Saudis were discovering new talents and interests.

Zafar Hasan, an electronic learning consultant at the King Saud University, said the survey painted a reliable picture of peoples’ activities given how extensively the app was used in the country.

“I agree with the fact that people are spending time on personal development and fitness, and the survey seems to project a current reflection of peoples’ activities during this time,” he told Arab News.

Snapchat has in recent weeks rolled out new features and content to help Saudis deal with the challenges of the pandemic.

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