Social media is often seen as having either a positive or a negative effect to its users while this research dwells on the harmful aspect of social media, we cannot fully neglects the benefits.
Today in our society, young adults, mostly youths are often found accessing the web in every slight time they ascribe to as being leisure moment which derails their social ethics.
Hence, the main focus of this study is to investigate the effect of social media on the morality of youths while using Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State as a case study. The population of this study consists of young adults between the age of 18 and 29.
A descriptive research design of exploratory type was adopted for the study. A total of 180 respondents were selected from different study level (100 levels to 500 levels) using simple random sampling technique. Out of those respondents 120 were found to be using at least one of the SNSs enlisted in the questionnaire and also completely filled and returned, given a return rate of 85.7%. Their responses formed the data that were analyzed for this study. Data gathered were analyzed using simple frequencies and simple percentages.
The findings showed that youths which comprises of students in the university spend many hours on social media, meeting people; both old and new friends, mostly because of boredom.
1.1 INTRODUCTORY BACKGROUND
The social media have become one of the most important communication means in recent times. Waleed and Mohd (2013) believes social media networking exist so as to provide communication among people regardless of the distance, making it open to people easily to share information, files, pictures, videos, create blogs and send messages, and conduct real-time conversations; these systems are referred to as social, simply because they allow communication with friends (buddies), family and co-workers so easily and effectively.
With the nature of the cyber world around us today and how youths and students are immersed in it, there is growing concern on how it affects them (Onyenka et al, 2013). Onyenka and his associates explain that the internet is more than just a means of seeking information. People discovered that the internet could be used to connect with other people, whether for business or commercial purpose, make new friends, reawaken old friends and long lost relatives. The emergence of Social Networking Sites (SNSs) simplifies the whole process as they are easier to use and navigate.
The favourites among the realm of social network are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger (BBM), and others. These websites and social forums are ways of communicating directly with other people socially and in media. The social media is playing a large and influential role in decision-making at occasions in the global world: economically, politically, socially, educationally and morally.
Nyland et al (2007) posits that the five motives of using social media include: meeting new people, entertainment, maintaining relationships, social events and media creation. Schills (2011) opined that the social media sites encourages negative behaviors for young adult students such procrastination (catching up with friends), and they are more likely to drink and do drugs.
Without doubt, there has been considerable discussion regarding the frequent use of social media tools (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Xanga, Friendster) by high school and college students, and the possible effect of those tools on students’ academic performance (Connolly, 2011; Hargitai and Hsieh, 2010; Karpinski and Duberstein, 2009).
Researches shows that this has wide spread implications particularly for the areas of education and the society at large, for instance, the identification and use of compatible teaching methods, the designs and implementation of complimentary curriculum decisions, and the design of non-classroom educational assignments; Communications, for instance, the identification of appropriate channels to exchange educational information among individuals; and Economics , for instance, the allocation of public financial resources towards educational and social services activities, and the creation of future business opportunities (Chen and Bryer, 2012; Anderson and Rainie, 2012).
Idakwo (2011) asserts that social interaction and school work have been affected at the advent of these social media. Undergraduates spend more time on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks through smart phones, laptops, and other browsing devices that are now in abundance among these youths. Many youths cannot go for 2-3hours without checking and updating their profiles on these social networks even at the detriments of other activities such as educational and career pursuit (Ajewole and Fasola, 2012).
In light of the above, whether social media is favourable or unfavourable, it is no doubt that many students made use of internet sites on a daily basis. Many lecturers complain of students’ poor performance in examinations, some lecturers advised students to surf the net for educational materials, parents worried about their children not studying during holiday or visits at home but rather spend many hours on social networks such as Facebook, 2go, Twitter, WhatsApp, BBM among others. It is also clear that many scholars must have studied the influence of social media on students, although few had studied the influence of this social media on students’ efficiency through their grade point average. It is in line with this that this study intends to study the effects of social media on Niger Delta University students and moral decadence amongst youths.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Considering the problems associated with the exploration of social media by youths and students; in Nigeria, in its bid to globalization complaint has popularized the internet involvement into almost every home. Be that as it may, there has been a sharp decline in the moral values of Nigeria as a developing nation and there is a stereotype that the internet has the bulk of blame for such derailment. Olubiyi (2012) posits that these days’ youths are so engrossed in the social media that they are almost 24hours online. Evidences from past researches have also shown that the internet use had interfered with addicts’ academic work, professional performance or their social lives (Louis and Paul, 2012). Zincz et al (2009) explain that youths are exposed to a higher risk of social network addiction because of their vulnerability since they are adjusting to a massive amount of developmental and life changes and this susceptibility and exposure to an abundance of new things are aided by the use of technology and social networks that ease new connections and relieve societal pressures.
Megan and Priscilla (2012) assert that many of these young adults use social media networks to communicate with family, friends and even strangers.
Despite the above functions of social media expressed as being an issue to higher education students and youths, Bello (2012) of the Sunday Observer, observes that if the dangerous trend of social network “obsession” is left unchecked it could further affect an already collapsing education system in Nigeria. It is a thought in line with Bello’s prediction and the increase patronizing of social media devices and sites among young adults and university students to which Niger Delta University is inclusive that prompt the researcher being an undergraduate student in the institution to undertake this study in order to examine the effect of these social media on youths’ moral and students’ academic performance.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. To examine the fading fortunes of moral living and the downhill behavioral structure among youths in the Nigeria society.
2. To examine the reasons for the use of social media networking sites by youths.
3. To determine the frequency of the use of social media sites by youths and students.
4. To determine the effect of the use of social media on the morality of youths and also on the academic performance of university students.
5. To provide policy recommendations for university officials to consider adapting to educational changes associated with the use of social media by university students.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study will investigate the following research questions:
1. Which of the social media network site is mostly used by youths?
2. How much time do youths spend on the social networking sites daily?
3. Why do university students use social media network sites?
4. How does the use of social media networks affect students’ academic performance?
5. Do students use the social media network for their academic assignments or for leisure?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study shall not only be carried out for the purpose of accomplishing the requirements for the partial fulfillment of the award of the degree of Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Sociology but shall be of significance; theoretically, practically, methodologically.
Theoretically, the study would increase the number of literature available on the effects of social media on young adults/youths and university students. With this, it would open doors to further studies as it would enhanced the peoples’ scope of knowledge and unfold certain areas that may demand the attention of other researchers and students to carry out further studies in order to ameliorate the negative effects of social media on youths and students.
Practically, it would be of relevant to policy makers, organizations and civil societies as it would act as awareness, indicating areas decisions should be made in order to improve effective usage of social media. It would also be useful to students, lecturers, counselors, non-governmental agencies and the general public who found the study interesting as it would enhance their capacities on how to give counsel and also enhance the effective use of social media network.
Methodologically, the methods and strategies employed to collect and analyze data by the researcher in order to achieve the objectives of the study would be of relevant to existing methodology as it would employ the available tools to test their authenticity and reliability in relation to the study.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Social media is a broad concept expressed differently by differently individuals, groups and communities of the world. It is a universal phenomenon carrying with it both positive and negative effects on its users and society at large.
For the purpose of this study, the scope is limited to social networking sites of social media such as GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, 2GO, TWITTER, WHATSAPP, YOUTUBE, BBM and SKYPE which exist so as to provide communication among people regardless of the distance, making it open to people to easily share information. In light of these, the study scope is also delimited to the effects of these social network sites on the Niger Delta University students.
This study has been narrowed down to Niger Delta University, with the view to represent all other tertiary institutions since it is difficult to reach all the youths and students in Nigeria.
Although, the main aims and objectives of this study is to examine the influence of social media on youths’ moral and students’ academic performance, but this cannot be effectively talked without considering the demographic factor of the selected institution in terms of experience, educational background, professional training, age, sex etc should be taken into cognizance.
1.7 DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
These are the specialized sense in which some concepts are used in this study;
SOCIAL MEDIA: According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, it defines social media as a web and mobile-based technology that supports interactive dialogue and produces substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities and individuals. In essence, users generate and share all types of content within their established networks; social media in this sense refers to Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Blogs, Twitter, BBM, MySpace, LinkedIn and so on.
THE INTERNET: Wikipedia defines the internet as a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link several billion devices worldwide. It is a network of network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronics, wireless and optical networking technologies.
YOUTHS/YOUNG ADULTS: The concepts youths and young adults are almost synonymous with each other and both can either be used simultaneously or interchangeably. According to Church of Nazarene, young adults/ youths are defined as people between the ages of 18 and 35 years old; this group includes people, who are college students at any institution of higher education, seeking full time employment, working full time, married, not yet married, parents, single parent, divorced, widow/widowers etc.
EFFECT: Thesaurus dictionary defines Effect simply as a change which is a result or consequences of other cause. It is something that is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence. For the purpose of this study, it is seen as the consequence of social network sites on the morality of youths and students involved in using it.
DECADENCE: According to Wikipedia, the word “decadence” which at first meant simply “decline” in an abstract sense, is now most often used to refer to a perceived decay in standards, morals, dignity, religious faith, or skill at governing among the members of the elite of a very large social structure, such as an empire or nation state and by extension, it may refer to a decline in art, literature, science, technology and work ethics or very loosely to self-indulgent behavior.
MORALITY: According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; it started that morality was derived from a Latin word “moralitas” which means manner, character, and proper behavior. Therefore, morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are good or right and those that are bad or wrong.
ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia refers to academic performance as the outcome of education, as the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goal. It is commonly measured by examinations or continuous assessment but there is no general agreement on how it is best tested or which aspect is most important – procedural knowledge such as skills or declarative knowledge such as facts. In this study, students’ CGPA would be considered as a perimeter for measurement.
LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORITICAL FRAMEWORK
The review of literature is necessary to create a basic foundation for the study. Thus, this chapter presents a review of relevant scholarly studies in relation to this study. However the depth of this study is a factor of attempting to substantiate or create new perspectives for understanding the effect of social media on youths/young adults and students.
The review of literature addresses the key areas in line with the objectives of the objectives of this study. Several researchers such as MacBride, Okunna and Omenugha, Ejiogu, Rao, Walter and Riviera, Bandura, Kanplan and Haelein, Tufekci, Chien and Bryer and a host of others have examine the effect of social media and internet usage.
The review is done under the following headings; THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL MEDIA, TYPES OF SOCIAL MEDIA, USAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AMONG YOUTHS/YOUNG ADULTS, EFFECTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON YOUTHS/YOUNG ADULTS AND STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE, IMPLICATIONS OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR EDUCATIONAL DECADENCE AND CAMPUS LIFE, REASONS FOR USING SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK SITES, THE INTERNET, MORALITY: EXPLICATION, DEFINITION, APPLICATION, MORAL DECADENCE.
It is also important to develope a theoretical framework which shows the conceptual model of how one theorizes the relationship among several factors that has been identified as important to the problem of the study. Technological Determinism and globalization theory are being identified as theoretical framework or orientation for this study.
2.1 THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is the relationships that exist between networks of people (Walter and Riviera, 2004). In explaining the social network of people and the interaction process, Kaplan and Haelein explained that social media include web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue. It is a group of internet-based applications that build on ideological and technological foundations of web 2.0 and that allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content (Kaplan and Haelein, 2010). Social media are technologies that facilitate social interaction, make possible collaboration, and enable deliberations across stakeholders (Bryer and Zavattaro, 2011, p.327; Chien and Bryer, 2012, p.88).
For further explanation, Sam Mozee (2013) posited that social media includes such tools as electronic blogs, audio/videos tools (eg, YouTube), internet chat rooms, cellular and computer texting, and social networking sites. In the light of this, Kaplan and Haelein (2010) noted that a striking feature of social media is that it goes beyond users being able to create and consume information themselves. Social media applications such as Facebook (a network that allows users create profile, add friends and exchange messages), Twitter (a social network and micro-blogging site that allows users to send and read text-based posts), YouTube (a video sharing website that allows users upload, share and view videos), LinkedIn (a business related social network site that allows users share pictures) and many other exist and has become popular among internet users.
Waleed M. and Mohd S. (2012) described that social networking exist so as to provide communication among people regardless of the distance, making it open to people easily, share information, files and pictures and videos, create blogs and send messages, and conduct real-time conversations. These systems are referred to as social, simply because they allow communication with buddies and co-workers so easily and effectively.
It is worth calling on your attention to remember that social network site is a part of social media as explained in the chapter one and social network sites being an area of interest to this study also has special definitions attributed to the concept. It is in line with that Boyd and Ellison (2007), opined social network site as an online service for users to create a public or semi-public profile, build a network with other users with whom they share a common link, and navigate other users’ profiles and networks. With the Social Network Sites, we have communities and groups of people with shared interests who stay more ‘connected’. There is no doubt that social medium such as Facebook has a great ability to instantaneously spread messages to the masses, unrestricted by time and space (Harlow, 2012).
Social Network Sites, Facebook in particular has proved to be a tool for social activism and a potent instrument for sparkling, stirring and setting in motion social movements in the recent times (Alabi, 2013).
(Boyd and Ellison, 2007) defined social network sites as public-web-based services that allow users to develop a personal profile, identify other users (friends) with whom they have a connection, read and react to postings made by other users on the site, and send and receive messages either privately or publicly. Tufekci describes that some items they may choose to include are: pictures, favourite book s and movies, birthday, relationship status, and location (Tufekci, 2008).
It is also crucial that this literature review briefly the historical event of the Social Network Sites as presented by Shahzad (2012). Shahzad explained this by citing Wasow. Wasow (2007) argues that from 1997 to 2001, number of social networking websites began to support various combinations of profiles and publicly expressed friends. Asian Avenue, Black Planet, and Mi-Gente allowed users to create personal, professional and dating profiles, users could identify friends on their personal profiles without seeking approval for those connections. Later, it came up with new features in year 2003 a new face of social networks LinkedIn.com and MySpace.com but in year 2003 Facebook.com and orkut.com change the total concept of social networks in the history of social media and web sciences, it changes the definition of social networks. After year 2003, social networks were very much advance with new features, by new features the user can change the whole front end appearance of the website on his profile which is a step towards evolution.
2.2 TYPES OF SOCIAL MEDIA
According to Tim Grahl (2014), there are six (6) types of social media:
1. SOCIAL NETWORKS: These are social media services that allow you to connect with other people of similar interest and background. Usually they consist of a profile, various ways to interact with other users, ability to set up groups, etc. The most popular are Facebook and LinkedIn
2. BOOKMARKING SITES: These are social media services that allow you to save, organize and manage links to various websites and resources around the internet. Most allow you to ‘tag’ your links to make them easy to search and share. The most popular are Delicious and StumbleUpon.
3. SOCIAL NEWS: These are social services that allow people to post various news items or links to outside articles, and then allow its users to ‘vote’ on the items. The voting is the core aspect as the items that get the most votes are displayed the most prominently. The community decides which news items get seen by more people. The most popular are Digg and Reddit.
4. MEDIA SHARING: These are social media services that allow you upload and share various media such as pictures and videos. Most services have additional social features such as profiles, commenting etc. The most popular are YouTube and Flickr.
5. MICROBLOGGING: These are social media services that focus on short updates that pushed out to anyone subscribed to receive the updates. The most popular is Twitter.
6. BLOG COMMENTS AND FORUM: These are online forums that allow members to hold conversations by posting messages. Blog comments are similar except they are attached to blogs and usually the discussion centers around the topic of the blog post. There are many popular blogs and forums.
Tim Grahl (2014) who is the founder and president of Out:think, a firm that helps authors build their platforms, connect with readers and sell more books comment that we should keep in mind that , while these are the different types of social media, they can be overlap among the various services. He added, for instance, Fcaebook has microblogging features with their “status update”. Also, Flickr and YouTube have comment system similar to that of blogs.
2.3 USAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AMONG YOUTHS/YOUNG ADULTS
The mainstream of social media services and accessibility are predominantly youths “young adults”. Alabi (2013) posits that the growing explosion of social network sites comes as an observation of internet addiction and social network addiction as a psychological disorder becoming rampant all over the world. The mass appeal of social networks on the internet could potentially be a cause for concern, especially considering the amount of time adolescents and youths/young adults spend online. Lenhart et al, (2010) posits that about 57% of social network users are 18-29 years old and have a personal profile on multiple social media websites. Social networking has become part of the daily life experiences for an increasing number of people (Kuppuswamy and Narayan, 2010). In specific, Gemmel and Peterson streamline the word ‘people’ in their earlier research to Youths/young adults. They therefore describe that socializing via the internet has become an increasing important part of young adults’ life (Gemmell and Peterson, 2006). Ellison et al (2007), recent empirical researches have shown a significantly strong relationship between college students’ Facebook usage and their bridging social capital. Social capital is a construct that describes potential cumulated resources and benefits embedded in relationships with other people. Findings from Sam Mozee, (2013) study are exploratory focus group discussion and written survey segments confirm perceptions of high students’ usage of social media.
Gender is the only significant demographic variable affecting social media use, as there are some differences between usage by men and women. Women are more likely than men to have a personal profile on Facebook, bit men are more likely than women to sustain a profile on LinkedIn (Lenhart et al, 2010). Furthermore, women were four to five times more likely than men to use social networking sites (Tufekci, 2008). Moreover, Sheldon (2008) found that overall women were more likely to use social media for maintaining relationships with family and friends, passing time, and entertainment, but men were more likely to use social media to meet new people. Adult women were also more likely than men to use the internet for relational communication, such as contacts with friends, family, and romantic partners (Baym, Zhing, Kunkel, Ledbetter, and Mei-Chen, 2007).
Alabi (2013) opined that observation have shown many youths/young adults in Nigeria are undiscerning users of social network sites with many already tending toward excessive usage or are already entrapped in the “web” of addictions. Social network sites usage has become a global phenomenon. Educational experience of men and women seemed to play a factor in social media use as well. Men and women were more likely to use social network sites frequently if they had college experience (Lenhart et al, 2010).
Alabi (2013) asserted that today, more than 500 million users are active participants in the communities. A study by Kuss and Griffiths (2011), suggests that between 55% and 82% of teenagers and youths use Facebook on regular basis. The exponential increase in the regular social media usage over the last few years lends support to the availability hypothesis that postulates where there is increased access in the number of people who engage in such activity (Griffiths, 2003).
Baym et al, (2004) found that the quality and quantity of interactions in other media were not threatened by social internet sites. Online social interaction is only part of the total multimedia social relationship, not an entity in itself. Local social relationships are most likely to use face-to-face contacts and least likely to use the internet. Long distance relationships are maintained with the internet about as often as with the telephone. Internet interactions were perceived as high in quality as and only slightly lower than face-to-face conversations and telephone cells.
Internet is a very important element of life which cannot be ignored. Internet is used for educational purpose by a large community including majority of youths and teenagers who use internet for only social networking sites (Boyd, 2006).
Boyd and Nielsen (2006) reported that the top ten social networking sites developed with the passage of time, and its number of users increases from 46.8 million to 68.8 million. According to Shahzad (2012), this rating reveals the important information about how new generation interact with each other. He expressed further that in terms of law and jurisdiction it is international law that one must be 18years old minimum to use social networking sites, but unfortunately, Lenhart and Madden (2007) calculated a huge amount of underage users which must be violated. According to Lenhart and Madden (2007) calculation it has been analyzed that 41% of 12-13years old and 61% of 14-17years old users’ use social networking websites.
2.4 EFFECTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON YOUTHS/YOUNG ADULTS AND STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
It is quite obvious that recently, there has been considerable discussion regarding the frequent use of social media tools (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Xanga, Friendster) by high school and college students, and the possible effect of those tools on students’ academic performance (Connolly, 2011; Hargitai and Hsieh, 2010; Karpinski and Duberstein, 2009). In line with these scholars’ postulation, Cain (2009) stated that although social network websites can be practiced for good determinations but it is usually used for involvement of digital snapshots and information, exposing securities, and conducting online conversations because many other communities inside social networking websites motivate users for this kind of inappropriate actions. Wiley and Sisson (2006), argued that the previous studies have found out that more than 90% of college students use social networks. In the same way Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) stated that the students use social networking websites approximately 30 minutes throughout the day as a part of their daily routine life. This statement shows the importance of social networking websites in students’ life. The social interaction of users may make it easier to communicate with others by keeping in touch with friends and family on a regular basis more often than non-users (Megan and Priscilla, 2012).
According to Cain (2008) social network websites provide ease of connecting people to one another, free of cost and after connecting; one can post news, informative material and other things including videos and pictures etc. this free of cost factor fascinate students for communication and data sharing. Lenhart and Madden (2007) revealed through a survey that students strongly recommend social networking websites to stay in touch with friends to keep informed and aware. Coleman, cited in Lin, Weipeng, Sung Yeun Kim and Robert LaRose (2012) outlined the benefits of using social media to include: emotional support, useful information or functional assistance. It is also not surprising that communication relationships were more satisfying with mere acquaintances (Baym et al, 2007).
Sam Mozee (2013) explained that with the expected continued growth in the usage of these tools by students as early as the elementary school level (Anderson and Rainie, 2012; Lenhart, 2009), this issue has wide spread implications particularly for the areas in education (for instance, the identification and use of compatible teaching methods, the design and implementation of complimentary curriculum decisions, and the design of non-classroom educational assignments); communication (for instance, the identification of appropriate channels to exchange educational information among individuals); and economics (for instance, the allocation of public financial resources towards educational and social services activities, and the creation of future business opportunities)(Chen and Bryer, 2012; Anderson and Rainie, 2012). Young (2009) asserted that from psychological perspective, it may be plausible to speak of Facebook Addiction Disorder because addiction criteria lead such as neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, mood modifying experiences, tolerance and concealing the addiction behavior appear to be present in some people who use social network sites excessively. Alabi (2013) explains that the undesirable consequences emanating from excessive internet usage on individual lives has been described as Internet Spectrum Addiction Disorder. He added that the potential clinical relevance of Facebook Addiction has also been conceptualized under Internet Spectrum Addiction Disorder.
From research (Ufuophu, 2013; Mesch, 2009), it appears that youths are aware and actively use the internet but to what effect? This study by Shu-Sha, Angie Guan and Kaveri Subrahmanyann (2009) on youth internet usage: risks and opportunities, analyzed 75 researches, different reports on internet use among the youths in a bid to determine a trend. They were able to thematize the effects of the internet and social media into positive and negative. From their findings, they recorded that the negative effect has to do with addiction, exposure to inappropriate materials, online risks and cyber crimes and bullying. While providing a vehicle to promote cognitive, social, and physical development is generally seen as the positive effect. Specifically, they identify improvement in education scores, accessibility of the disabled especially the deaf to communicate effectively with the heavily visual medium of the social media.
Be that as it may, there was no mention if any research was on Africa which means that the internet may not have the same effect as it did in the case of Shu-Sha et al, (2009). The difference might be attributed to differences in cultural, social, religious beliefs and even development levels. This angle may have prompted this present research to determine if there is a similarity in the effects.
The research by Chien Chou, Linda Condron, and John C. Belland (2005), reviews the research on the social effects of internet addiction. It was observed that students, mostly youths have become obsessed with the internet besides using it for academic purpose. In view of these observations, the researchers examined why the internet hooks students so tenaciously, lead them to new behavioural patterns, and even results in internet addiction. Specifically, the purpose of this article is to review the up-to-date academic investigations on internet addiction.
Before I delve further, what really makes the internet and social media addiction? “With its convenient communication options and the World Wide Web, the internet and social media provides remote access to other people and abundant information in all areas of interest. It is an environment that could be abused by virtually anyone, regardless of their interest in technology and science (Griffiths, 1998 in Chien et al, 2005:364).
Indeed, the popularity of the social media among youths/young adults and students is increasing, in addiction to ease of access and low cost, the social media is continuously expanding bandwidth continues to deliver multimedia resources in greater amounts and higher quality. The development of friendlier interfaces allows even those with low network literacy to use the internet more easily and comfortably. This can explain why addiction seems to be a dominant theme in almost all the reviewed literature.
It is worth also noting that there was a study carried out in Nigeria by group of researchers namely; Onyeka, Sajoh and Bulus (2013) which result shows that the use of Facebook does not have adverse effect on the academic performance of students in the Nigerian Universities. Although the acceptance or rejection of their research result by the researcher of this project will depend on this findings after data collection and analysis. According to Kuppuswamy and Shankar (2010) social network websites grab attention of the students and then diverts towards non-educational and inappropriate actions including useless and purposeless chatting. On the basis of the above statement we can say that social networking sites may badly affect the academic life and learning experiences of the student (Shahzad, 2012).
Tinto argued that extracurricular activities and academic activities are not enough to satisfy some student, those who are suffered by social networking isolation. This shows that social networks are beneficial for students as it contributes in their learning experience as well as in their academic life. From Lenhart and Madden (2007) point of view, social networking websites provide a virtual life to those students who use social networking websites to make new friends although every contact and friend is virtual and unreal. Some of the users register themselves in social networking sites because they want others to know about them, for such reason students get registered and make friends, students thought that the increasing number of friends could make them famous among other friends but unfortunately social networking websites provide virtual contacts.
Tinto (1997) argues that new information on social networking websites encourages growth and provides students with an ever growing learning community which in return substitute both academic and social success. In contrast to this Khan (2009) opined that Facebook users oftentimes experience poor performance academically. Similarly, (Englander et al, 2010) posit that social media is negatively associated with academic performance of students and is a lot more momentous than its advantages. Karpinski (2009) also supported Khan and Englander et al postulation and therefore pointed out Facebook users devote lesser time to their studies in comparison to non-users did and subsequently had lower GPAs. Waleed and Mohd (2012) explain that some researchers investigated the end result of social networking usability among college students’ and with their academic performance. They found poor effect and influence when the media is overuse in such a way that do not academically improve learning or its process.
2.5 IMPLICATIONS OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR EDUCATIONAL DECADENCE AND CAMPUS LIFE
In Nigeria, education for all its worth in its aims and functions, has really neither generated nor promoted the right values and priorities even among those who are supposed to be educated. In any case, we must all admit that education in the country has faced persistent crises including incessant strikes by the nation’s university lecturers owing to the gross underfunding of our universities. But what is easily seen as the perennial crisis in this country is the crisis of people’s values which are often base and selfishly materialistic, ironically even among the educated and intellectual segment of our society.
Education in Nigeria since independence has neither been relevant nor maximally functional. Its alienating effects still confront both those who are being educated and the educators themselves. Ocho (1988), for instance, reminds us of the rather sad fact of our experience that the more education a Nigerian has, the more European manufactured goods he would prefer. Ocho adds that despite the beautiful philosophy of adapting education to the needs of the people of Nigeria, little effort is made to put the philosophy into effect.
It is a sorry situation that because of encrusted prejudices, wrong values, wrong priorities, erroneous assumptions, disordered and disoriented ambitions which are the results of false options and philosophy of life, instead of Nigerians using their education or endorsing an educational philosophy to appreciate being more productive, they fall for anything that makes them a more consumer-conscious nation, making nonsense of their education. This is why their younger generation does not care as much about being knowledgeable as about obtaining academic certificates, which must be obtained by any means, cooked or straight. Hence, there is a need here to proffer ways of curbing educational decadence.
An average Nigerian student participates in the social media. Watching them on the road or in classrooms, one can see their heads bent and their fingers speedily typing while others are taking pictures of themselves to share on the social media. The social networks have spread their wings far and wide into the consciousness of students today. They engage in all manner of schemes to provide money to buy smart phones. The recent trend is how much skin a girl can reveal in her pictures to enable her to get more popular on social network platforms. The guys post all kinds of crude, brash and ugly comments in a bid to be more popular.
Social media encourage youths and students to be very public about their personal lives. They post updates about their families, homes, locations like saloon, party and village trips. If you have any reason to monitor particular students on a social network, you may know everything about them – which is often fake. The social media are a big distraction; because of their easy access to information, students use them to do research and rely heavily on any information they get from there. They use these media to kill boredom during their study time and this diverts their attention more than necessary. A student that is supposed to be doing an assignment finds himself or herself chatting, sharing pictures and recent updates. They get low grades; they don’t take proper rest or meals on time; they prefer living in the virtual world to living in the real world. This is why one might walk into a quiet class and find everyone on the phone, on BBM, Facebook or twitter.
Their exposure to on-line sexual images, behaviours and even predators makes their moral ethics very low. They are unmotivated to make meaningful relationships in the real world, preferring the numerous casual relationships cultivated on the social media.
The social media, while being a major factor in the increase in moral decadence among youths, can also be used to combat immorality. There could be Internet-based campaigns and seminars on the disadvantages of overexposure of private lives. A lot of pastors and ministers already engage in this. They send religious and moral messages that touch the conscience of these students and get them thinking on the overall effect of the social networks on their lives.
Already, the case of Cynthia Osokogu, whose facebook friend encouraged to visit Lagos and killed her, is a lesson in history. Ever since that incident, most reasonable students have put up a measure against exposing their private lives to strangers on the Internet.
Apart from pastors, there are also some churches that follow-up their members on the social network. When a student, church member or pastor is also on their list of friends on the social media and can thereby see everything the student posts on the media, whether good or bad, the student tries very hard not to post obscene images or comments. Even when they do post these obscene images or comments, the church members engage them in highly moral advice that sometimes gets the student to change.
Even family members could act as a check on these students. If a girl, for instance, has her dad on her BBM, twitter or facebook, she will be very careful not to post anything that might upset the dad and the dad, on his own, can give her fatherly advice on sensitive issues. The reason why students engage in all kinds of nudity and obscene language on the social media is that they lack official checks (cyber ethics) on these networks.
A school management or department could set up a group contact on the social network that will help the students to interact and exchange meaningful ideas. Some students create departmental group contacts on
BBM, face book and twitter where they meet themselves and discuss every obscene topic they can come up with. They even discuss their lecturers on this group contacts. If a department had an official group contact organized by the departmental lecturers, it would be a helpful platform for them to meet and discuss problems with the students and he students can air their views and have a change to be a part of an intelligent discussion every day. An educational institution or department could also set up an e-library where students can have access to books outside the Internet and reduce the dependence on information obtained from the Internet which is sometimes not reliable or trustworthy.
A great many students of this generation find the social networks more alluring than their academic work. They spend or invest and expend much more time and energy on social networks than on their academic assignments. A student may simply say “I want to go online for my assignment” but ends up either tweeting or facebooking.
The heavy use of the social media has serious implications for the morality of the young adult students. It has positive and negative effects. On the positive side, social networks help students, friends, classmates or course mates stay connected to one another, even if they are worlds apart in the real world. The social media keep students up- to- date with happenings around the world. It is faster to get digital news from the social media than from switching stations on the orthodox broadcast news channels or getting news from the print media. Global, national and local news spreads faster on the Internet than elsewhere. And because life seems to be made easier on the Net, a student who is not on facebook, twitter or any other social media platform seems to be missing or locked out of modernity.
For the student, social networks have eased mobility. Instead of stressing yourself doing a physical movement to have a full chat with some folks, you may decide to ping with the fellows.
Social networks are a rich source of livelihood for many people who are roaming the labour, sorry, favour market, in search of job opportunities as a lot of job vacancies are advertised on-line. With the information posted there, one can apply for suitable positions and be meaningfully engaged. The enlightenment acquired through the social media motivates students to study to become good website designers.
Socializing with friends in cyberspace has helped many introverted students to have their shyness broken. Through social networks, some students that are good at blogging can share the links of their blogs and other people can start advertising in their websites. Brainstorming sessions among serious-minded students on teething academic topics can be held on-line through the social media, where time does not permit their coming together physically to hold their discussions. For group assignments that require pictorial demonstrations, students can download existing video clips from Youtube and use them for PowerPoint presentations.
The regular exposure to bad and ugly messages online has as much corrupting influence as it does the moralizing influence from good messages. In May or so, this year, a spill-over female student went into an examination hall in one of our universities. After the course examiner and the invigilators had arranged all the candidates for the examination, the question paper was distributed to them. The girl in question wrote down all the questions she intended to answer in her handset which she had smuggled to where she was seated; and sent the questions out as a text message to a faceless distant helper. In no time, answers started coming via text messaging into her phone. Her uneasy composure and fidgety disposition attracted the attention of one of the invigilating lecturers who caught her with the phone and uncovered the trick just before she could start copying from the phone. For as long as the examination lasted, the phone was in the hand of the lecturer who caught her cheating and for that long, answers kept coming in but sorry, the phone was not in the targeted criminal’s hand. An improved technology of examination malpractice! She had to answer for her lawless act. Worse things than this happen on campus via GSM and other social media tools. Some students pretend to be searching for course or study material online and before you know it, they have been attracted to one nasty site or another.
The frequent visitation of these sites has successfully started reducing learning and study time capacity. They start losing interest on academic performance and concentration. The more times they spend on the social network, the less they spend in socializing in person with others. It has led to reduction of communication skill because communication is no longer effective with others; students begin to lose credibility over language and writing skill because most times they use slang and writings in shortened form when chatting.
The use of social networks has led to a reduction in the capacity for reading, as many students believe that they can Google anything.
An addiction to Internet use could have an adverse effect on the health of the user. Some students are so engrossed in surfing the Net that they sometimes forget to take their meal at the appropriate time. Instead, they take excessive amount of coffee to keep them active – an act that is not healthful – instead of investing all that energy in reading the recommended texts.
You might stumble on a link while on-line and when you click on it, it could lead you to “sex clips” (pornographic video) and because it is enticing, some persons keep it in their cell phones. This promotes immorality. Many students would rather satisfy their social media needs than their academic work.
Let educated men, women, and concerned youths, mainstream and citizen journalists as well as all nongovernmental organizations who worry about the apparent flight of morals from the Nigerian society, especially from among the youth, use the weapons of text messaging and social networks – which, incidentally, the youths are more friendly with, to mobilize the citizenry to instill discipline in themselves and their children; and to urge every government in power to be genuine in its efforts to fight corruption, jettisoning its cosmetic approach to the hydra-headed problem.
2.6 REASONS FOR USING SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK SITES
The reason for using social media network sites by students, youths or young adults was explained by Heng-Li Yang and Jih-Hsin Tang (2003). They explained, thus, a web based forum may offer an excellent medium for students to communicate with each other, a chance to express themselves (Seale and Cann, 2000), and an environment with fewer problems, such as those connected with shyness. If knowledge is mainly constructed through interaction among students and between students and their instructor, then interaction among students should be strongly encouraged. Then, a web-based forum may provide students a field where they can freely discuss, ask questions, give opinions, and learn after class. There are several methods that can enhance online learner’s interactions, such as provision of a controversial topic for debate or structuring a controversy (Clark, 2001). Stimulating students’ interaction and providing appropriate feedback may become a teacher’s main tasks.
Nyland et al (2007) identified five motives of using social media and these according to him includes; meeting new people, entertainment, maintaining relationship, social events and media creation.
Past researches show that online users who happen to find themselves involving in social interaction and communication are generally being intrigue by almost same factors which are both intrinsic and extrinsic in nature depending on the geographical setting.
According to Amarasinghe (2010) these factors includes altruism, curiosity, sense of efficacy, pleasure of sharing, reciprocity, affiliation, power, collaboration, reward and recognition.
According to Megan and Priscilla (2012) the principal reason reported for using social media networks was to maintain relationships with existing acquaintances that were already part of their social network (Sheldon, 2008). Although, they opined that there are exceptions, most social network site users primarily interact on these sites to support pre-existing social relations, as opposed to meeting new people (Boyd and Ellison, 2007).
Study also found that Facebook and instant message were not used to meet new people, just to maintain existing social ties (Quan-Haase et al, 2010). In addition to these, passing time and entertainment were other major factors in using social media sites (Sheldon, 2008).
Shahzad Kan (2012) study shows that most of students and youths use social networking websites due to their friends and its total average is 67.3% of total sample, they mostly use social media for entertainment.
2.7 THE INTERNET
“Throughout history, human beings have sought ways to improve their ability to receive, and assimilate information about their surroundings and at the same time to increase the speed, clarity and variety of their methods for transmission of information”
-MacBride et al 1981 in Okunna and Omenugha (2012:1).
I want to state that from the above statement and explanation by MacBride of what communication involves, I can confidently say that man has found that medium that combines speed, clarity, and variety of methods and that is the internet.
Originally, the channels of mass communication were basically print and electronic but recently, it added internet which has become the most popular, most efficient and the most important. It has rolled the previous media into one in that one can read newspaper online and most, if not all TV networks, all have websites for online users. Owing to its availability, importance, power and efficiency as a channel of communication, there is therefore the need to be wary of its effects. What then is the internet by way of definition?
The internet is an umbrella name for a fusion of networks. According to Okunna and Omenugha (2013), the internet is a combination of thousands of computer networks, sending and receiving data from all over the world. In the same vein, Bell in Okunna and Omenugha (2012:138) saw the internet “as a collection of computer networks that connects millions of computer around the world”…it is a vast source of information that is constantly changing and expanding. Since its inception in the 1960s, it has grown immensely and is now used by over 400million people all over the world, from those in commercial and educational institutions to individual consumer. Bell was right about the ever changing nature of the internet and the computer. A decade ago saw desktops but nowadays, the desktops have evolved into laptops, palmtops, ipads etc. internet connection which was exclusively for the rich has been subsidized by the communication networks so much so that most handsets have internet connection. What has the internet done for users?
In a bid to answer the question above, it is the position of the paper that the internet has a double edged sword characteristic, in that it can be used for both good and bad. For one and on the good side, it has made education very easy and more accessible. One can be in his/her home and get a degree. From Wikipedia, “Educational material at all levels from pre-school to post-doctoral is available from websites. Examples range from CBeebies, through school and high school revision guides and virtual universities, to access to top-end scholarly literature through the likes of Google scholars. For distance education, help with home work and other assignments, self-guided learning, whiling away spare time, or just looking up more detail on an interesting fact, it has never been easier for people to access educational information at any level from anywhere” (Bell, 2010).
The internet in general and the World Wide Web (www) in particular are important enablers of both formal and informal education. It is that same internet that has increased the quality of education, which has caused the decline in the quality of education. How can one reconcile the two? By spending more time on the socialization networks instead of academic sites, the time meant for studying have been directed towards socializing and it negatively affects education. However, if the same time is spent surfing educating sites, it will increase academic performance (Bell, 2010).
Economic/Commerce wise, one can be at a place and buy goods from any part of the world. That is the power of internet, online shopping has boomed both for major retail outlets and small artisans and traders. By its availability, it has also increased the value of the choices available to consumer. This also increases competition which translates into quality goods and services so as to be a strong competitor in the global market (Okunna and Omenugha, 2013).
Furthermore, it has financially empowered few users who understood the mechanics of the internet. It did that through internet businesses, website creation and management, and even foreign exchange trading. It has opened a new online market where a calculated move translates into money for the user (Okunna and Omenugha, 2013).
From the above explanations, it can be deduced that originally, it should be a blessing but several applications within the net have been a contributing factor for the internet to be identified with social vices. Such applications include the social network sites, chat rooms, skpye, and the online gaming or gambling as the case may be.
This paper is concerned with the internet viz-a-viz the social sites. For McQuail (2010), social media sites often known as just “social media” comprise a number of internet websites that have been set up to enable and encourage users to create networks of acquaintances and also share messages and audio visual materials, often available to wider public. This sharing could allow users to either influence or be influenced by the contents that zap through and fro on the information super highway.
A similar definition by Dedane, 2009 in Upuophu-Biri (2013) sees the social media as “tools used for information dissemination, especially among friends and colleagues who are not media practitioners but are connected through the internet”.
While I agree on the information sharing part, I am however wary of such effects on the users especially as it relates to the value of morality on the important users. In communication, it is not enough to send a message to a receiver because the feedbacks in terms of reactions to the effects of the message always complete the communication process.
2.8 MORALITY: EXPLICATION, DEFINITION, APPLICATION AND MORAL DECADENCE
Moral responsibilities should go hand in hand when obtaining or sharing information online. A lack of moral responsibility in anybody’s behavior in cyberspace is not the fault of the internet technology; it simply betrays the deficiency in the person’s general moral status. The totality of people’s thinking patterns, attitude and religious principles, folkways, norms and customs – all of which one can call the building blocks of a cultural heritage.
It was upon these moral stands that the virtues of accountability, dignity of labour, respect for law and order among Nigerians stood before the overthrow of values by corruption and indiscipline, bred by greed. Although the contemporary Nigerian society is morally decadent, nay, rotten, moral living is not alien to Nigeria. Ejiogu (2000) cites examples of cases in Nigeria which demonstrated the enthronement of moral living. During the rule of Uthman Dan Fodio, there was a strong condemnation of bribe taking, nepotism, oppression of the weak by the strong and ostentatious display of wealth. The National Policy on Education generally emphasizes a great need for citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in, and contribution to the life of the society as well as character and moral training and the development of sound attitude. Then in particular terms, the National Policy on Education, in articulating the aims and objectives of secondary education in Nigeria, seeks the development of “generations of people who can think for themselves, respect the dignity of labour, and appreciate… values such as respect for the worth and dignity of man, moral and spiritual values, interpersonal and human relations and a shared responsibility for the common good of society” (quoted in Ejiogu, 2000, pp.2-3).
Ejiogu recalls with nostalgia the good old days when the village teacher, though poorly paid, was happy, proud and enthusiastic as he tirelessly and selflessly performed the chores of teacher, baby minder, catechist/imam, local justice of the peace and marriage counselor simultaneously. It was in the same spirit of patriotism that Nigeria’s nationalists fought to secure independence for the country, freeing it from the claws of oppression and uniting it that it might be prosperous. They counted no cost, nor did they enrich themselves unlawfully or immorally. Some of them like Dr. Michael Okpara, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Tafawa Balewa even died without bequeathing even a decent house, property or monetary wealth to their offspring.
Still talking about morality, it is on record that the undergraduates of the pre-1970s while at home on their long vacations, would go to nearby schools to coach the younger ones free of charge. In those days, newspaper vendors were said to drop heaps of their newspapers and magazines at designated points on campus and depart for other parts of the city. On their return in the evening, they would meet accurate amounts of money for papers taken away in their absence by students. No papers were stolen nor was any money missing.
Thus, to establish that there are moral mountains to move for the betterment of society, we shall now turn our attention to a review of the moral and religious institutions as well as folkways, norms and customs, drawing copiously from the ideas and views of sociologists (especially Rao, 2012).
Morality, when simply defined as good behaviour, is synonymous with goodness, integrity, virtuousness. Its other name is moral character, or a set of culturally defined virtues such as honesty, integrity, probity and fair-mindedness. The converse side of morality is, of course, immorality, often used in reference to sexual perversion or promiscuity. “A person is equally immoral if he or she is treacherous, is a liar, tyrannical, cruel, greedy, avaricious and corrupt. Immorality, unlike morality, is evil and wicked” (Ejiogu, 2000, p.1).
Immorality is synonymous with turpitude, decadence and depravity. Immorality is indeed horrible, which is why we are all warned in the Bible, There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked (Isaiah, 48:22), and a warning that firmly vindicates Euripedes’ affirmation that evil men by their own nature cannot ever prosper.
Morality which is often equated with moral code is sometimes taken for those rules of behaviour which are admitted at large in society. In this sense, it is equivalent to mores and mostly coincides with customs, conventions, fashions, etiquettes and folkways. In sociology, there is a distinction between moral rules or code and other kinds of social rules. Moral principles, ideas and notions are crystallized in the form of an institution called ‘morality’. Morality has been a vital factor in all the societies of the world. Moral rules which prescribe the wrong are the very basis of our collective life. Hence the evolution of the group life of man is connected with the evolution of his notions. Moral notions are at the back of the give-and-take policy without which group life is difficult. Because of moral force, an individual tries to suppress his impulsive behaviour and individualistic tendencies. Moral principles get the sanction of society and strongly support the general system of values.
Since moral ideas are inculcated in the personalities of the children from the very beginning of their coming to this life, they become habituated (accustomed) to honour them and obey them. Most of the moral norms are internalized by the individuals during the period of socialization and hence they obey because of some internal pressure. The pressure is sometimes so strong that some individuals, even in critical situations, may not be prepared to go against it. They are more powerful than laws and legislations. Sometimes the people who are prepared to break the laws on some grounds are not ready to go against the dominant moral values. Morality is one of the fundamental social institutions. Religion and morality are usually considered to be among the most effective guides of human behaviour. Both formulate rules of conduct of society. Each has its own code of conduct as such. Religious ideas are embodied in the religious code and the moral ideas are embodied in moral code. Both act as powerful means of social control.
Strictly speaking, morality deals with the rules of conduct. It prescribes good behaviour and prohibits undesirable ones. Moral values are an important element in our normative pattern. Moral values are the most dynamic, creative and important driving force behind human actions and endeavours. Such concepts as justice, honesty, fairness, righteousness, conscientiousness, disinterestedness, prudence, incorruptibility, freedom and mercy, are purely moral concepts because they represent moral values. They are capable of deeply influencing and also changing the course of society. Political and social movements are normally hinged upon the values of this kind. Moral development therefore involves the formation of a system of values on which to base decisions concerning “right” and “wrong”, or “good” and “bad”. Moral development is concerned with changes that occur over time in behaviour, emotions, and cognitions relative to the realm of morals (Ratcliff et al 1991 in Rao, 2012).
Moral development occurs when the child imitates the actions of responsible adults and is commended for engaging in socially acceptable behaviour and punished for socially unacceptable behaviour (Bandura, 1965).
2.9 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
A theory is an account of the world which goes beyond what we can measure. It embraces a set of interrelated definitions and relationships that organizes our concepts and understanding of the empirical world in a systematic way (Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, 2005).
The relation of theory and research is one of concern to most social scientists; this implies that a good research must be guided by a sound theoretical base.
In the light of this, the theories that will be applied in the explanation of the effects of social media on the morality of youths are; Technological Determinism Theory and Globalization Theory.
2.9.1 TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM THEORY (TDT)
Mesch (2009) employed the Technological Determinism Theory in trying to answer the question; if there is any relationship that exists between advancements in technology and social change which may either be positive or negative?
He was of the conclusion that technological advancement like “the internet” is an innovative force that has profound influence on children and youths; technology generates new patterns of expression, communication, and motivation.
For him, “much of what happens in electronic space is deeply inflected by the offline culture – the material practices and imaginaries that take place outside the electronic space. Digital space is not exclusive conditions that sound outside the non-digital. Digital space is embedded in the larger societal, cultural, subjective, economic and imaginary constructions of lived experience and the systems within which we exist and operate” (Mesch, 2009:55).
On the whole, he attributed the power of change to the internet because through its constant presence and use, it has affected the culture in ways that are radically different from those of the previous generations.
From his explanation of the internet as either culture or as a cultural artifact, this paper wishes to see the internet as a cultural artifact because it has become a part of life of the average Nigerian Youth.
What is Technological Determinism Theory (TDT)? Technological determinism theory is a reductionist theory that presumes that a society’s technology drives the development of its social structure and cultural values. The term is believed to have been coined by Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929), an American Sociologist and Economist.
The most radical technological determinist in the United States in the twentieth century was most likely Clarence Ayres who was a follower of Thorstein Veblen and John Dewey. William Ogburn was also known for his radical technological determinism.
The first major elaboration of a technological determinist view of socio-economic development came from the German philosopher and economist Karl Marx. Marx’s theoretical framework was grounded in the perspective that changes in technology, and specifically productive technology, is the primary influence on human social relations and organizational structure, and that social relations and cultural practices ultimately revolve around the technological and economic base of a given society. Marx’s position has become embedded in contemporary society, where the idea that fast-changing technologies alter human lives in all – pervasive.
Technological determinism theory seeks to show technical developments, media, or technology as a whole, as the key mover in history and social change. Instead of considering technology as part of a larger spectrum of human activity, technological determinism sees as the basis for all human activity.
According to Kunz W. (2006) most interpretations of technological determinism share two general ideas, which are;
1. That the development of technology itself follows a predictable, traceable path largely beyond cultural or political influences; and
2. That technology in turn has “effects” on societies that are inherent, rather than socially conditioned or produced because that society organizes itself to support and further develope a technology once it has been introduced.
Smiths R. M. and Leo M. (1994) asserted that the key governing force in society is the belief in technology and the idea that technological development determines social change. It changes the way people think and how they interact with others and can be described as…a three-word logical proposition: technology determines history (deducible from the origin of social media and social network sites). It is in the belief of technological determinist that “You can’t stop progress”, implying that we are unable to control technology. This implies that we are somewhat powerless and society allows technology to drive social changes because, “Societies fails to be aware of the alternatives to the values embedded in it (technology)” (Staudenmaier S. J. and John M., 1985; Smith M. R., 1994).
As postman (1992) maintains, in the world of technology “the printing press, the computer (phones, laptops, ipads etc) and television are not therefore simply machines which convey information. They are metaphors through which we conceptualize reality in one way or another. They will classify the world for us, sequence it, frame it, enlarge it, reduce it, and argue a case for what it is like. Through these media metaphors, we do not see the world as it is, we see it as our coding system are. Such is the power of the form of information (Postman, 1992).
This theory explains the origin of social media tools such as computer which includes phones, ipods, laptops, and social media network sites such as Facebook, 2go, WhatsApp, BBM, YouTube among others. The inability of the Technological Determinism Theory to capture some salient aspect of the study such as how these technological devices (social media/network sites) are spread from one country to other countries of the world.
2.9.2 GLOBALIZATION THEORY (GT)
Globalization Theory (GT) emerged as a result of a series of developments internal to social theory, notably the reaction against earlier perspectives such as modernization theory (Robinson, 2007). Globalization is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views products, ideas, and other aspects of culture. Advances in transportations and telecommunications, infrastructure, including the rise of the telegraph and its posterity the internet, generate further interdependence of economic and cultural activities. Thomas Larsson defines globalization as the process of world shrinking, of distances getting shorter, things moving closer. It pertains to the increasing ease, with which somebody on one side of the world can interact, to mutual benefits, with somebody on the other side of the world. Globalization is the spread of worldwide practices, relations, consciousness, and organization of social life (Ritzer, 2008) from one nation to another. Globalization theory could be analyzed culturally, economically, politically, and institutionally and for each type of analyses, a key differences is whether one sees increasing homogeneity or heterogeneity.
Ulrich Beck (2000) enlisted the following elements to explain the transnational relationship and network in the globality of globalization theory:
1. Every day life and interaction across national borders are being profoundly affected.
2. There is a self-perception of this trans-nationality in such realms as the mass media, consumption, and tourism.
3. Community, labour, and capital are increasingly placeless.
4. There is a growing awareness of global ecological dangers and of actions to be taken to deal with them.
5. There is an increasing perception of trans-cultural orders in our lives.
6. Global culture industries circulate at unprecedented levels.
7. There is an increase in the number and strength of trans-national agreements, actors, and institutions.
In light of the above, globalization theory in relation to cultural convergence explain that globalization leads to increase sameness through the world. Cultural practices of different parts of the world changes sometimes radically as a result of globalization. The cultures of the world are seen as growing increasingly similar, at least to some degree and in some ways. This theory also sees global assimilation in the direction of dominant groups and societies in the world.
It could be inferred from the above that the globalization theory explains the spread and the movement of one social media devices or social network site from one part of the world to another either through the more developed countries to the less developed countries or vice versa.
The inability of the globalization theory to capture more salient aspects of this study such as the relationship between the reasons for using social media and the effects of social media on Youths resulted in employing the previous theory.
2.9.3 INTEGRATING THE THEORIES – CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
The Technological Determinism Theory (TDT) explains the foundation of social media and social network sites and the effect of this social media/network sites on Youths, it also shows how the emergence of technology leads to Globalization. The Globalization Theory (GT) explains how it makes a product (technology) of one society or country to get to other countries of the world resulting to Social Networking from one person or group to another.
Inter- national integration
Inter- national integration
Effects on youths
For objectivity in any research work to be achieved, suitable and acceptable method of gathering data is important.
Thus, this chapter dealt with the following issues; RESEARCH DESIGN, POPULATION OF THE STUDY, SAMPLE SIZE, SAMPLING TECHNIQUE, METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION, METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS, RESEARCH LOCALE, and ETHICAL CONSIDERATION.
3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN
Ogunbameni (2003) defines research design as the plan, structure and strategy of investigation conceived so as to attain answers to research questions and to control variables. Thus, this study adopted the descriptive survey research design. This survey method specifies the nature of given phenomena (Usuala, 2005) and also involves direct contact with a population or sample (Dada and Idowu, 2006). This descriptive survey was considered because the research sought to obtain undiluted information directly from the students and youths of Niger Delta University.
3.2 POPULATION OF THE STUDY
The population of the study consisted of the young adult students’ population of Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State. This include youths aged 18-35 of male and female, single, married, divorced or separated, employed and not yet employed students of the university. The population of the study to which this research relied on is basically the population of Niger Delta University Student. It is also out of this population that we derived our 140 sample population.
3.3 SAMPLE SIZE
A sample size is a subset of the population usually selected in such a way that it is representative of the population and on which the research study is carried out (Amara and Amaechi, 2010). Thus, due to the vastness of the university population and its area of concentration being the youths’ population of age 18-35; 140 respondents of male and female students were selected as sample to represent the entire population of the study.
3.4 SAMPLING TECHNIQUES
A simple random sampling technique which is a probability sampling method was used for getting the respondents that took part in this study. This means a total of 150 (one hundred and fifty) undergraduate students were randomly selected and administered questionnaire to. To fall with the final sample selection criteria, every respondent must be a regular internet user and must have at least one functional social media – network site (such as Facebook, 2go, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, BBM, and Skype). This means a total of 150 questionnaires were administered to 150 respondents but only 140 copies of the questionnaire were adequately filled and returned, and also indicated using at least one of the stated social network sites. This 140 adequately filled questionnaires of social network students’ users later used for the analyses.
3.5 METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION
Considering the nature of this research, a combination of primary and secondary source of data was used to collect data since the researcher has the objectives of the study in mind. Thus, questionnaires were used to collect primary data while the secondary source of data was textbooks, internet, government publications, magazines, journals, newspaper and past projects. Further discussions are made on the instruments of the data collection, they are as follow:
1. Primary Source of Data: Questionnaire
With regard to the nature of the study and the adoption of descriptive survey research design together with the sample size, their locations and time intervals, prompted the use of questionnaire as an appropriate instrument for the primary source of data collection.
A questionnaire is a document containing a set of questions which are uniquely designed to elicit responses on specific objectives of the study to which the respondents (the sample) are required to give their responses. Thus, same questionnaires were given to all the respondents so that proper comparison could be made. The questionnaires were structured and unstructured to obtain complete information from the respondents. The questionnaire was divided into sections. Section “A” which comprises the respondent ‘socio-demographic characteristics’ and section “B” which consist of the substantive matters of the study. A total of 140 questionnaires adequately filled were used for further analysis.
2. Secondary Source of Data:
The data were collected from the summary writings of recognized authorities and previous findings in the area of the study. The necessary materials and information used were textbooks, internet, government publication, magazines, journals and newspapers, and already written students projects as a guide. These secondary sources of data in conjunction with the primary source of data were carefully collected and used to achieve the objective of the study.
3.6 METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS
The data generated from the administration and adequately filled – retrieved questionnaires were checked, cleaned, coded and analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Various relationships were discussed using tables, frequencies and percentages since the study is largely descriptive.
3.7 RESEARCH LOCALE
This study was carried out in the Main Campus, Off Campus and also the New Site of the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Amassoma, Bayelsa State.
The university was established in the year 2000, and it is located in Wilberforce Island, about 30-40 kilometers from the capital city Yenagoa – Bayelsa State. The university logo reflects the riverine and petroleum-rich milieu of the state, while its vision and mission are summarized in the motto: “CREATIVITY, EXCELLENCE and SERVICE”.
3.8 ETHICAL CONSIDERATION
Ethics is the application of system of moral principles to prevent the harm or wrongs to others, to promote the good, to be respectful and be fair. The protection and safety of research process is considered a key preoccupation of ethical guidelines.
In the light of the above, ethics of social research would strictly be adhere to. Approval would be sought from the students’ respondents. The focus of the study would be explained to them. The participants in the study would be made to voluntarily participate. They would be assured of the confidentiality of the information given. They would be made to understand that it is purely for academic exercise and that the information supplied would not be used against them.
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SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
This research has shown much indication that social media with regards to Social Network Site (SNSs) has become one of the fastest and most important means of communication in recent times. It power is mostly comparable to a magnetic force which draws or connect people from different part of the world. It is obvious that every insurgence in technology advancement, including information and communication technology comes with its good and adverse side effects if not well administered or misused. This is mostly applicable to social network sites usage by youths/young adults.
In contrast to the above, the researcher in summary also acknowledgement and take cognizance that the user of any devices must be influenced either directly or indirectly by such devices. Investigations were carried out to know the effects of social media on the morality of youths. The study acknowledgement that the use of social network sites (SNSs) has effect on the youths’ morality, emotion and interaction with other member of the society both within and outside its environment.
Survey research design was used to carry out this study. This concludes that social networking sites have created a phenomenon over the past decade and its effects are rapidly observed in our present society in the behavioural lifestyle of our youths/young adult.
Whatsapp followed Facebook and BBM have surfaced as the most popular among network sites and have continued to grow in popularity and usage among youths and young adults. Some youth, as found in the study are now addicted to the sites, that if they do not have access to them daily they fell emotionally imbalanced and unsatisfied.
The advent of the social media following the popularization of the internet has marked a watershed all over the world in virtually every sphere of life especially in the area of communication, socially, economically, emotionally and even development wise. One glaring fact is there was already a shift in value system in Nigeria before internet stepped in and catalyzed the whole process. People were in denial of what had been happening but internet just amplified it to becoming obvious so much so that the table had been turned around to blame it (internet) for moral decadence.
Considering the fact that social media has bought about a lot of positive changes in the lives of the users throughout the world in so many ways that has lead to improvement, progress and development, it was hard to dwelt on the negative effects but yet it has to be done especially with the breed of youths Nigeria has today.
Based on the findings, the following recommendations were put forth by the respondents and the researcher to ameliorate those negative effects attributed to the use of social media network sites on youths/young adults.
1. Firstly and most importantly, what a system like Nigerian system needs is fundamentally a character formation system that will repair and retune the character of its people and it has to begin with the family from every home. Most problem of the world begins with the family, increasingly, children are no longer spending time with their parents, and they tend to imbibe what they see on the TV and the internet, and internalize it as the accepted way of life.
2. There should be a proper guidance, parents should pry or reduce their children access to TV, Ipad, internet etc. prying in this case doesn’t mean that they would no longer use it (internet devices) but set a limit of a time schedule so that most of their socialization time will not be spent online.
3. Africans especially Nigerians need to believe in themselves and that should start from mind liberation. The major problem Nigeria is not the internet but with Nigerians as a whole. We blame the internet for everything but yet there is no conscious effort to change the status quo.
4. The major problem that is affecting the Nigeria Youth is that of unemployment. There should be provision of functional employment to fight unemployment and idleness. In Nigeria, many youths have turned to the internet out of frustration from job scarcity and to fight boredom. Cybercrimes and poverty have all been linked to employment for the youths it will give them a sense of fulfillment besides detaching them a bit from the apron of social media.
5. It is also wise to consider insistence on value on original human thinking. In fact, there should be some kind of Award for morals and originality based on merit and not nepotism. This will challenge as well as motivate others into a healthy competition because human by nature always strives for attention and recognition. Here, exemplary leadership comes into place because parents in the family and leaders in the society cannot be morally bankrupt and in return expect moral soundness from youths and others.
6. Finally, there was recommendation for enlightenment and education of the public on the implication of addiction and abuse of the internet. At this point, there is a serious need for reorientation because some users are not even aware of what they are doing to themselves and to the society in general. It should be a duty for agency in partnership with schools and socialization agents to educate minds.
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