The effects of social media on the academic performance of female students at the University of Buea
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1.1 Background To The Study
Social media is defined by Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) as internet based applications that allows users as well as communities to create, collaborate and edit user content. Also according to Mathew Hodson social media is a series of websites and applications designed to allow people to share content quickly, efficiently and in real time. According to Boyd and Ellison (2008), social networking sites can be defined as web-based services that allows individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, articulate a list of other users within whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.
Andreas and Michael (2010), assert that social media is a group of internet based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of web and that allows the creation and exchange of user generated content. Kietzmann and Hermkens (2011), elaborate on this, stating that social media depends on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss and modify user-generated content.
Social networks are the main applications under the umbrella of social media. Social media is the fastest web application in the 21st century. Research shows that the age distribution of facebook users is concentrated on the younger category. It is believed that the emergence of social networking sites like facebook has created a lot of attention and patronage by all ages across the world but significantly people around college or university going age are mostly found on this social network. Valenzuela, Park and Kee’s study (2008), attest to this claim as it was found that students between the ages of 18 -29years have accounts on facebook and use online network daily.
In Saudi Arabia, it shows that academic performance is greatly affected by face book. In USA, research explored the impact of social media on students’ academic performance and it reveals that it greatly affects their performance. The use of social media affects the academic performance of students more negatively than positively. A study conducted on college women’s engagement in social media revealed that high usage of social media among college women negatively affects their grades (Davis 2013).The study also revealed that in a day, students spend 12hours on social media sites.Charlene Li et. al. (2007), also indicated that students visit social networking sites every day or even more. For example, the use of social media for cyber bullying, which occurs in most universities as highlighted by Walker, Sockman and Koehn (2011), research which surveyed 134 university students, found out that 62 percent of students had experienced cyber bullying and 40 percent of the students had taken part in the act. In 2010, a student called Tyler Clement who was a freshman at Rutgers University committed suicide over the broadcasting of an intimate encounter through a web camera over twitter. This camera had been set up by Tyler’s roommate (Pilkington, 2010). This tragedy highlighted the power of social media and the psychological impact it can have on students’ life and their performance. Also, the use of social media plays a variety of roles in education as it provides a platform to share ideas as well as allowing students study online, but the problem is how students tend to misuse it, instead of using it for their studies. Most University students now use social media as an arena for chatting with friends, loved ones, playing games and scamming just to name a few.
Studies show that social media helps to educate students at all levels, provide necessary information for studies, help in distance studying that is online studying. It still has a negative impact on the academic performance of students especially with the coming of new applications like WhatsApp and Snap chat. These applications have now become the owners of students that is, instead of the students having control over the media, the media now controls them. This as a result leads to poor performance of university students as they spend most of their time browsing and doing illegal acts instead of studying.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
Social media which is a tool for education, health, businesses and other issues has now become a tool of failure for the University of Buea female students. The media has now become a place where students spend most of their time. It has affected the university of Buea female students in various domains like via education, morals, physically and psychologically and in a socio-economic view. This is so because a lot of female students in the university spend most of their time on the internet looking for latest fashionable dresses, hair styles, music, celebrity life, night clubs and hotels just to name a few, instead of doing research which can help them in their studies. Many female students are usually victims of social media ills because they use it for nasty reasons like uploading naked pictures. This may result in psychological effects as the student lacks focus when these pictures are being exposed.
Moreover, social media affects the performance of female students as it is time consuming; as students spend most of their time on the internet, going through pictures and so on. It distracts some girls to the extent of them not having time for themselves and their families. For instance, a girl who lives in a family house and has household chores to carry out before and after lectures; hardly has time to perform the duties assigned because she spends most of her time on the internet.
The media also affects female students’ punctuality in the university as they are not time conscious because the students spend most of their time on their phones browsing.
In addition, social media affects the dressing and lifestyle of University of Buea female students as most girls tend to emulate celebrity dressing habits they see online which are most often indecent.
Although social media affects the academic performance of students positively, the negative consequences overshadow that of the positive results. This research therefore dwells on the negative impacts of social media on female students.
Specifically, the study seeks to answer the following questions;
What are the reasons for the use of social media by female students of the University of Buea?
What factors account for the variations in the usage of social media by female students?
What advantages/disadvantages does social media have on female University Students’?
How does social media affect the academic performance of female students in the University of Buea?
1.3 Research Objectives
This research is guided by the following objectives;
1.3.1 Main Objective
The main objective of this study is to determine the effects of social media on the academic performance of female students of the University of Buea.
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
The specific objectives of the study include;
To investigate reasons for the use of social media by female students in the University of Buea.
To determine factors which account for the variations in social media usage by female students.
To identify the advantages/disadvantages of social media on the academic performance of female students in the University of Buea.
To examine the effects of social media on the academic performance of female students in the University of Buea
1.4 Significance Of Study
This study aims at bringing out the various activities carried out by female students of the University of Buea on social media and its effects on their academic performance.
The research is going to highlight or create awareness on the benefits of social media and problems associated with the use of social media on female students of the University of Buea and girls in general.
It will also inform policy makers on the possible methods that could be adopted to mitigate the negative effects of social media amongst students in general.