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1.1 Background to the Study
The emergence, growth and development of Information Communication Technology (ICT) all over the globe have improved communication a great deal.
Of course, communication has a long history as the existence of man but the invention of ICT has brought information to the finger tip of people.
One cannot dispute the fact that the emergence of computers and mobile phones coupled with the corresponding internet facilities has aided the development and growth of many social media.
People can now share ideas, thoughts, feelings, opinions, pictures, music, videos and make friends via different Social Networking Sites (SNSs).
Thus, the social media has indisputably become one of the most important communication means in recent times.
However, Social Networking Sites exist so as to provide communication among people regardless of the distance, making it open to people easily share information, news, 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 friends, family members, followers and co-workers so easily and effectively. It also strengthens the ties between people of those systems.
The favourites in the realm of internet sites are Facebook, Twitters, Youtube, Whatsapp, 2go, Instagram, Myspace, Skype among others.
These websites and social forums are way of communication directly with other people socially and in media.
The platforms can be used for teaching and learning processes, romantic relationship among others.
They are playing a large and influential role in decision-making in the global world of economy, politics, social, cultural and education. Asides our educational landscape, the world political, religious, social, media and business settings have been greatly influenced by the potential of social media.
We all need to realize that social networking communities are here to stay, considering the millions of users that they have.
A great deal of students is actively engaged in these online communities all minutes, all hours, all days and all nights.
The first activity early in the morning for many people today is to visit the social media sites while the last before going to bed is the same to check and update messages, pictures, news on the sites.
The trend has become viral that whether at home or at work, on the street or on the bus, in the dining or kitchen, in the classrooms or religious houses, people continue to visit these sites for one reason or the other.
In fact, those who do not patronize the sites are considered to be behind or not belong.
Every student including pupils in basic schools now struggle to have gadgets such as mobile phones to engage in the online communities. Some force their parents and guardian to buy the iPads, Smart phones internet enabled computers, many worked to buy it while some go to the extent of stealing Smartphone to get along in this mad rush to engage in social media communication and interaction.
Social media networks have created a phenomenon on the internet that has gained popularity over the last decade.
People use social media sites such as Facebook, Whatsapp, 2go, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, MySpace and a host of others to create and sustain relationships with others (Boyd & Ellison, 2007).
These social media sites allow those who use them create personal profiles, while connecting with other users of the sites. Users can upload photographs, post what they are doing at any given time, and send personal or public messages to whomever they choose.
These platforms are also used to send breaking news and advertise products as they cover a wide range of people. In this “information age,” social media sites seem to be growing in popularity rapidly, especially among young adults. Without any exaggeration, the fact remains that we live in a wired generation where information communication has become so easy and fast.
The information gaps and delays have been bridged with the new technology and access to the internet. People can source and get any information in any discipline without stress nowadays.
There is no doubt in the fact that an additional benefit of social technologies provided on the internet is that they are frequently free or require marginal investment, eliminating a potential barrier to adoption. Many internet service providers now give data to navigate through the internet free.
There have been various overviews and opinions which recognized four major advantages of social media use in education. These include, enhancing relationship, improving learning motivation, offering personalized course material, and developing collaborative abilities.
This means that social networking activities have the possibility of enhancing student contact and is used to improve their participation in class, particularly where introverted students are involved.
Students can function in online group learning, with less or no anxiety of needing to raise questions before peers at school.
This incredible development has helped students as well as academic researchers to have the limitless access to information through the internet and social media to advance knowledge.
However, as much as the social media has help to make access to information easy, it will not be an overstatement to say that there are negative dangers it poses to the users.
It has been observed that as much as there are gains in the social networking sites, there are also pains.
Students and researchers have the opportunity to either tap the gains in social networking sites or the pains in pursuit of knowledge. This current research is a careful investigation into the gains and pains of social networking sites on pursuit of academic excellence in selected secondary schools in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Armstrong (2012) said:
Students today have begun to rely on the accessibility of information that is available on the social media platforms specifically as well as the web in general in order to get answer. This means that there is a reduced focus on learning as well as on retaining information.
In addition, students are attempting to multi-task.
They are trying to check various social media sites why they study.
This leads to a reduced academic performance. Besides, their ability to concentrate on their task at hand get significantly reduced due to the distractions that is brought about by all these social media sites.
The other negative effect on students is that they are spending too much time on social sites and lesser time on socializing in person.
In fact, there is a lack of body signals besides other non verbal cues, including tone and inflections in case of social networking sites.
Thus, they cannot be considered as an adequate replacement for any face to face communication.
Not only are these, students who are spending a great deal of time on these social networking sites, not able to communicate in person in an effective manner.
These social media sites have become so popular in short time because the information gets published in a fast way.
This has actually created a lax attitude for using proper spelling as well as grammar.
In fact, the students are unable to write effectively without the aid of the check feature of a computer.
In his opinion, the kind of anonymity that is available on the internet has made many students forget that they need to filter any information that they post.
According to him, many colleges as well as potential employers tend to investigate the social networking profiles on an applicant before they grant any acceptance or an interview.
There are many students who are not constantly evaluating the content which they are publishing online. All these can lead to negative consequences even later in their life (Armstrong, 2012).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The world today is a global village in which the internet is the most important source of information. Since the advent of social media sites in the 1990s, it is assumed in some quarters that the academic performance of students is facing a lot of distractions and other challenges.
The educational system in Nigeria is faced with so many challenges which have certainly brought about a rapidly decline in the quality of education across levels.
There is a deviation, distraction and divided attention between social networking activities and their academic work.
It is observed that students, especially in secondary schools and colleges devote more attention to social media than they do to their studies and this invariably posed a negative effect on their internally and external examinations.
There have been a lot of complaints among school authorities, teachers and parents on why students fails the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations organized by National Examination Council (NECO), West African Examination Council (WAEC) and others. Of course, education thrives where there are no distractions, but with the advent of social networking sites, students’ concentration in the class has been drastically reduced.
Though the curricula are less difficult when compared to what it used to be in the past, many failures are still recorded in the schools today.
Many factors are responsible for this situations and one of them is not unconnected to students’ addictiveness to social networks.
Students’ frequency of exposure to social networking sites has diverted their attention from the activities in the classroom. No wonder, many schools have banned or considering the option of banning the use of phone and gadget that exposed the students to social media.
Social media networks that students are more exposed to and the influence of social media as a medium of interaction between students have been part of discussion in recent times and which have imparted on their academic performance negatively.
However, no matter how small, there are some gains in the sites too if sincerely approached.
Instead of students reading their books, they spend their time chatting and making friends, sharing obscene materials via the social media and this might definitely have negative influence on their academic performance, because when you do not read, there is no way you can perform well academically. It is a common thing to see a student chatting in sensitive and highly organized places like church, mosque and classroom environments.
Some are so carried away that even as they are walking along the highway, they keep chatting, the scenario that has made some to lose their lives after they are hit by cars, motorcycles or crushed by trains.
The trend had even made the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to banned the use of phone while driving because of its risk to life as many drivers have lost their lives, wasted the lives of their passengers and pedestrians as a result of chatting, pinging, face booking, twittering, 2going, etc behind the wheel on the road.
The manufacturing and distribution of equally sophisticated cellular phones has complicated the situation, as students no longer need to visit a cybercafé before they send and receive messages, pictures, music, videos, etc. Attention has been shifted from visible to invisible friends, while important ventures like study and writing might be affected in the process.
This phenomenon has become a source of worry to many who believe in knowledge and skills acquisition.
In recent times, social media have been a major stay in the minds of students and the world at large thereby causing a lot of concern to teachers, educational administrators and government at large.
It is therefore of great importance to explore some of the trending issues facing students’ academic performance as a result of social media.
Students at all levels of learning now have divided attention to studies, as a result of available opportunities to be harnessed from social media. Whether these opportunities promote studies or not, is a question that requires an answer.
Thus, the effect of social networking sites on students’ academic performance should not be treated with levity as education is the bedrock for all development and technological advancement. The study, therefore, investigates the influence of social media networks on the academic performance of the secondary school students in Alimosho Local Government area of Lagos State.