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This research project examines the extent to which University of Buea students rely on social media interaction, neglecting physical social interaction, and their views on making friends the old fashioned way. The research problem stemmed from the observation that students at the University of Buea frequently use social media to communicate and connect with others, and may be neglecting physical social interaction as a result. This reliance on social media interaction may pose a social problem, as it has the potential to impact their ability to develop strong interpersonal skills and form meaningful relationships.

The study utilized quantitative data collection methods. A survey was administered to a sample of 100 University of Buea students. The data collected was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics.

The findings of the study indicate that University of Buea students do rely heavily on social media interaction, but do not view making friends the old fashioned way as an obsolete practice. In fact, many students expressed a desire to engage in more physical social interaction but cited various barriers such as time constraints and lack of opportunities. Interestingly, the study found no significant effect of social media use on physical social interaction among University of Buea students.

Based on these findings, this research project recommends that University of Buea officials take steps to encourage and facilitate more physical social interaction among students, including promoting social events and clubs on campus. Additionally, the study suggests that further research is needed to explore the factors that may be influencing students’ reliance on social media interaction and the barriers to physical social interaction among University of Buea students.



1.1 Introduction

The first documented use of social media in Cameroon was in the 2000s with December 2000 having about 20,000 users (Bawack, 2022). Before the coming of social media, people depended on more conventional media like radio, television and newspaper for information. Statistically, there are about 6.1 million active users of social media in Cameroon and the numbers are climbing daily (Bawack, 2022).

The first chapter of this thesis provides an overview of the research project, outlining its background, aims and objectives, research questions, and significance. This chapter serves as a roadmap for the entire thesis, setting the stage for the research study and providing a context for the subsequent chapters.

Background to the study provides the reader with a brief history and context of the research topic. It outlines the key issues, concepts, and debates surrounding the research area, and highlights the gaps in the existing literature that the research aims to address. Aim and objectives outlines the overarching goal of the research, as well as the specific objectives that will be pursued in order to achieve this aim. It provides a clear and concise statement of what the research intends to achieve. Research questions also outlines the key research questions that the study seeks to answer. These questions are designed to guide the research process and help focus the study on the most relevant issues. Significance equally highlights the potential impact and significance of the research. It outlines the potential benefits of the study for the academic community, industry professionals, policymakers, and/or the wider public.

Together, these components provide a comprehensive overview of the research project, setting the stage for the subsequent chapters of the thesis and providing a clear and concise introduction to the research study.

  • Background to the study

Social media is a necessity to every student of the University of Buea today. The latter being an essential tool to the students as they learn, research, socialize and educate themselves with this revolutionary instrument, students spend a lot of time on these social media platforms largely carrying out activities that are more or less not related to the mental demands of the university.

Social interaction as defined by Goffman (1959) is the process by which we act and react to those around us. According to Manjur and Abdalla (2021), this concept is changing in the eyes and character of University students as by default they now pay more attention to interaction on social media and just less than 1% use it for academic purposes. None the less social media interaction as described by some scholars is unreal as individuals turn to hide and shadow their true identity and true self via these tools drawing examples from vivid cases like the use of filters and the anonymity of social media platforms like instagram, facebook and more.

Social media use is real, but most scholars fail to analyze student’s motivation in using social media. Nevertheless the argument whether social media use affects physical social interaction negatively or positively is still largely debatable as some scholars say it helps interaction (Manjur, 2021) and others say social media users are interacting less face to face than in the past because of the new found ability to stay in touch online ( Noble, 2020).

The continuous Social media use in Cameroon keeps increasing significantly as in the early 2000s active users stood at just 20,000 but in most recent years social media use in Cameroon stands at about 4.5 million active users this in a way poses an inconclusive social problem for the students as most of them turn to fail in the concept of physical social interaction, proper communication and self-expression in the many social settings.

Communication is in plain terms the backbone to any social setting more so a university where written and spoken communication is the way this society works. This study then seeks to find the effects of social media on physical interaction in University of Buea.

This study will therefore explore the potential relationships between social media use and physical interaction. It will further test the displacement hypothesis by looking into the students’ educational activities and motivation towards physical interaction because, much of the previously researches have forgotten to take students motivation towards social media use and their time spent on physical interaction into account. By doing so, this study may help address some of the limitations of previously research.

  • Statement of the problem

Social media is a tool made to connect people in a different way using various applications. More recently, social media can be used on phones, laptops, smart TVs, smart watches etc. From my observation, students of the University of Buea rely majorly on social media interaction neglecting physical social interaction. They equally do not find making friends the old fashioned way useful thus posing a social problem.

  • Research Questions

The research questions as gotten from the objectives are:

  1. What is the extent of social media use by University of Buea students?
  2. How much physical social interaction is there amongst students?
  3. What are the effects of University of Buea students social media use on their physical social interaction?
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