Research Key

Social Media and Adolescent Behavioral Adjustment of Secondary School Students in Kumba III Municipality

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This study entitled social media and adolescent behavioral adjustment of secondary school students in the in the Kumba III Municipality. The dependent variable being social media was operationalized into social networking sites, video sharing sites and online discussion forums.

The study had as main objective to find out the influence of social media on adolescent behavioural adjustment and also had three specific objectives.

The first specific objective was to investigate the influence of social networking sites on adolescent behavioural adjustment, the influence of video sharing sites on adolescent behavioural adjustment and the influence of video sharing sites on adolescent behavioural adjustment.

In order to attained these objectives, the population was drawn randomly made of all functional secondary schools in the Kumba III municipality and a sample of 150 students of ages 16 to 18 years was drawn purposively from three the secondary schools in the Kumba three Municipality.

The instrument used was questionnaire and the data collected was analysed using both descriptive statistics to analyze the demographic data and the software SPSS was used to test the hypotheses. The findings from the investigation, showed that there is significant influence of social media on adolescent behavioural adjustment.




This chapter discusses the introduction, background to the study, statement of the problem, research objectives, research questions, hypothesis, significance of the study, scope of the study and definition of terms.

In this chapter, though parameters of this research were not critically looked into, it served as a foundation for the subsequent chapters by focusing on the issues to be investigated upon.

Background to the study

As social animals, people have always relied on communication to strengthen relationships especially when the face-to-face discussions are impossible or inconvenient. They are everyday searching for easier and faster ways to communicate with ease.

Social media has come in to play this role. It has brought the world more than closer than before with the adolescent population making most use of this asset (, n.d).

Social media are internet-based tools that allow individuals to communicate; to share evidence, thoughts, personal messages, pictures, and other content; and, in some cases, to cooperate with each other users in genuine time (Abraham, 2020). Social media dates back as long as the existence of man. But has evolved and changes have occurred in its uses, materials and types.

Before the 550BC, communication was done through stone, clay and marble hand written correspondents and delivered using the horses and rider as most familiar means of transportation for transmission.

The first means of communication using instruments was the use of the telegraph in 1792 which was faster and more convenient. It was used in writing short messages to recipients in further distances. In 1890 and 1891, the telephone and radio was invented which transmitted information over longer distances and faster than the telegraph.

In the 1960s in the United States of America (USA), with the coming of the internet it came as a more flexible way of communication which sent messages in the form of electronic mails (emails) from one recipient to others. Many more adolescents got involved in the use of the internet.

By 1980, home computers had been in use. Adolescents used this medium as a swifter way to communicate with people, get information and resources from other parts of the world.

According to (n.d.), social media has been evolving since the invention of the internet from the first, email in 1971 and GeoCities in 1994 allowing everyone to set up their own personal homepage.

Social media has drastically evolved with the invention of Friendster in 2002 with over 100 million users using it, having adolescents as the majority of its users of these sites.

Sites like Myspace, Facebook, WhatSapp, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn which give users to the opportunity to share, post and play games, music, photos, buy, sell, visit companies/organizations and many others.

In 2008, Facebook took the lead of social media with a rate of 83% of adolescents around the world making use of social media to communicate, share and receive information and resources from all over the world.

Today, about 90% of adolescents are finding more comfort relating through social media as it makes it more convenient and easier for them to be in an environment though not being there physically (Hendricks, 2013). The rise of social media gained more grounds in Africa much later than in the western world.

Lanerolle (2013) after conducting a study in 17 African countries propound that, social media started gaining wide spread in African countries from 2008 which was highly influenced by the growth in mobile technology and more accessibility to the internet. 

By using social media, the behaviors of adolescents have been seen to be modified as they turn to give priority and spend more time on these social media platforms than they spend relating with the people around them face to face.

Cameroon had its pop-up in social media only around the late 1990s. Before then, CAMTEL was the lone telephone provider making their services to be limited to some areas. It was only in 1999 that Cameroon opened up its media space and this saw the launch of a new media provider, Orange Cameroon (Orange-Cameroon, 2017). 

This marked an increase in use of the internet amongst the youths. Though the usage of social media was still very timid in Cameroon, with the coming of MTN-Cameroon in the year 2000 the media sector was enhanced. This boosted the market of media to be a competitive one as everyone wanted to get the highest customer base.

The prices of mobile phones became cheaper and hence the usage of mobile phones for internet in general and social media specifically (Bettina, 2013). Social media through its social networking sites, discussion forums and video sharing platforms have become a virtual meeting point for people.

Social media has evolved tremendously in technologically advanced countries over the years, giving birth to many social media sites like social networking sites, online discussion forums and messaging/video/photos sharing sites amongst others.

Amongst them are Myspace, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, twitter, LinkedIn which give users to the opportunity to share, post and play games, music, photos, buy, sell, visit companies/organizations and many others.

Today, about 90% of adolescents are finding more comfort relating through social media as it makes it more convenient and easier for them to be in an environment though not being there physically (Hendricks, 2013).

Social networking sites are web based services that give an opportunity to individuals to create their own personal profile with the choice of their own list of users and thereby connect with them in an altogether public forum that provides them with features such as chatting, blogging, video calling, mobile connectivity and video/photo sharing (Khurana, 2015).

The first social networking site was the created in 1997. Though other schools of thoughts vary with it as the first social networking site, attracted more adolescents to using social media (Ritholz, 2010b).

With this social networking site, one could set up a profile page, create lists of connections and send messages within networks within a twinkle of an eye. In 2000, social networking sites had over 1 billion users with Facebook leading the networking users’ table and the most popularly used with over 2 billion users.

During interactions with strangers, individuals especially teens turn to pick informative, constructive and deviant behaviours from what they read, see, hear and like on these social media platforms and will always want to put these behaviours in practice (Subrahmanyam& Greenfield, 2008).

Video sharing sites are a form of social media that includes uploading or sharing videos and broadcasting them to some combination of friends and/or strangers (, n.d.). YouTube and Vimeo are the two video sharing platforms with the highest usage by adolescents. YouTube counts over 1 billion users each day (, n.d.). People visit video sharing platforms to post or watch videos.

This in turn plays a lot on the behaviors of the visitors with youths who turn to imitate these idols in their way of dressing, talking, walking and singing blindly without paying much attention that these behaviors of their idols.

Online discussion forum (ODF) is a web-based application that brings people together with shared interest and mind-set (Alabo, 2014a). A typical example is blog.  Discussion forums are another type of social media.

Online discussion forums are used to develop critical thinking of learners and are more of a tool for interactive learning for enhancing students’ learning (Edeh et al., 2019).

Before the advent of computers and sophisticated information and communication technology equipment, interactions between students and their facilitators in an educational environment was possible only when they come face to face.

The introduction of Computer Mediated Communications (CMC) has brought about new forms of asynchronous discussion, which makes up a significant and very important component in distant interaction (Alabo, 2014b).

Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical, psychological and hormonal development that generally occurs during the period of puberty to legal adulthood (that is, age of maturity characterized by rapid and extensive physical, hormonal and psychosocial changes (Erikson, 1968a).

Adolescence is characterised by rapidly changing and unpredictable behaviour( Freud, 1905). It is a developmental stage that begins from ages 12 right up to 18 years., (n.d.) categorizes these ages of adolescence into 3 stages. Early adolescence; from 12-14 years, mid-adolescence; from 14-16 years and late adolescence; from 16-18 years.

Erik Erikson calls the adolescence stage of human development as identity vs identity confusion. At this stage, they want to develop a sense of “self”. Hence, exploring different adult roles.These adolescent developmental characteristics are most pronounced in late adolescence (Erikson, 1968b).

Adjustment defined as the behavioural process by which humans and other animals maintain equilibrium among their various needs or between their needs and the obstacles of their environments (Ganai & Ashraf, 2013). A sequence of adjustment begins when a need is felt and ends when it is satisfied.

To be in an adjustment period, means undergoing through a process of change and are searching for some level of balance or acceptance with the environment, others, or themselves. When a need is felt and this need is satisfied, then there is an adjustment which has taken place.

On social media, adolescents come, they like, they comment and they share because on social media, you like what you like or you like what others like. This has much impact on their behavioural adjustment.

Theories as defined by Kaplan (1964) a group of related generalisations that indicate new observations which can be empirically tested for the purpose of explaining or predicting.

The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) was developed by Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen in 1975. This theory assumed that the ability to adopt a behaviour is dependent on an individual’s intention.

The theory of Technological Determinism Theory was developed by Marshall McLuhan in 1962. McLuhan used a radio and television which required people to develop a sense of hearing and television engages both hearing and visual senses.

They then transfer those developed senses into their everyday lives and use them again. He concluded that technologies of mass media make sure culture transmission in social fabric change man’s social behaviour hence shaping the way we think, feel and act. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) was developed by Icek Ajzen in 1985.

In the TPB, Ajzen tries to explain and predict an individual’s intention to engage in a behaviour over a specific time and place and that individuals have total control over adopting a behaviour when there are no practical constraints. Social media somehow influences the behavioral adjustment of adolescents.

Statement of the problem

The usage of social media by youths has become a way of life.  Many studies have been carried

out on youths usage of social media, its impact on their social behaviour, education, academic performance as well as the positive and negative impacts social media platforms have on this adolescent population and the factors that influence the usage, ethical usage and many more.

Although limited information is known on the impact of social media on adolescent behavioral adjustments social media impacts different areas of our society in allowing individuals to make their views and life public.

Youths’ social lifestyle is influenced by the usage of these social media platforms. They visit these platforms to interact with their peers, share or download videos, data, send messages and visit areas which they are not able to visit in the physical.

In this twenty first century where adolescents are termed “android generation”, adolescents are more than ever clung to social media almost every free time they have. And it has been observed that their behaviours are being adjusted (both good and bad behaviours).

Seemingly, social media is playing a role in the adjustment of their behaviors. Though social influence the behavioural adjustment of adolescents, the question is ‘to what extend does social media influence adolescent behavioural adjustment?’

Research objectives

Main objective

The main objective of this study was to find out the influence of social media on adolescent behavioral adjustment.

Specific objective

  • To find out the influence of social networking sites on adolescent behavioural adjustment.
  • To find out the influence of video sharing sites on adolescent behavioural adjustment
  • To find out the influence of online discussion forums have on adolescentbehavioral

Research questions

Main research question

What is the influence of social media on adolescent behavioural adjustment?

Specific research questions

What is the influence of Social Networking Sites on adolescent behavioural adjustment?

How do Video Sharing Sites influence adolescent behavioural adjustment?

How do Online Discussion Forums influence adolescent behavioural adjustment?

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