CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.0 Background to the Study
Over the years, the media has been in the forefront in terms of influencing the way people think and behave; through the various ways in which messages are disseminated. As Melkote and Steves (2001) suggest, communication has a way of affecting and changing one‟s attitude in the long run, positively or negatively. This is possibly because of the importance man attaches to communication. Just as man strives for food and shelter, so he does for communication. Thus, communication is the lubricant that makes the machinery of human relation to function smoothly.
It is crucial for man to survive the everyday struggle. From the early age, man has always pushed for a better form of communication at every stage he finds himself. This has brought about the metamorphosis of communication from symbols, cave paintings, sounds, rock carvings, pictograms, festivals, formation of letters, and to the popular media we have today such as Radio, Telephone, Television, Computers and the Internet.
Furthermore, communication and development go hand in hand as the former determines the achievement of the latter depending on the structural frame used (Serveas, 2002). The conventional media gave its audience no chance to determine the form and content of the message. Messages and ideas are preconceived, packaged and transmitted to the mass audience without their contributions and thus the audience become passive. In view of this, the audience (receiver) are bereft of a sense of belonging in whatever message the sender transmits. However, time has revealed that the lives of people do not get any better even with the rise in GNP, neither with the availability of technology or influx of technological ideas and so on. Man is still
hungry, un-employed and inequality has grown even stronger. The weakness of the dominant paradigm paved way for the emergence of the alternative paradigm to development which sought for cultural edification, employment opportunities, greater food output, good health, equality and so on (Salawu, 2006).
The alternative development suggests a course of development that is need oriented, endogenously defined, with a primary focus on those who have been deprived and exploited. It recognizes the importance of equality, freedom of expression, and creativity. Here, each society is left free to operate according to its values and cultures and articulate its own vision of the future. Hence, the motivational force of development, and then the kind of information that surrounds a people for whom development is targeted is very important. Taking a look at the younger generation and in particular students, who are considered as the “leaders of tomorrow”, there is so much influx of information, more than what they can assimilate at a time! The new media has made this possible even to their bedrooms and even on the streets (Melkote and Servaes, 2001).
The social media revolution has completely transformed the landscape of information and communication locally and internationally. The revolution that is enabled by the breakthrough in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has greatly impacted every aspect of endeavour and development be it social, educational, economic, political, technological as well as the defence capacity and capabilities of nation around the world. The dynamism of the social media especially through its usage of the Internet protocol that is high in terms of interconnectivity and interactivity, has greatly improved information search and file sharing to other online resources and databases with the aid of computers.
The social media now combines dynamism of services like text, audio, graphics as well as visuals through sites like Facebook, Twitter, instagram, MySpace, Linkedin, 2go and WhatsApp. The act in which young people tethered to their cell phones to text and access social interactive sites while walking on the street, boarding transportation, travelling, at school and in the comfort of their living room are common scenes in Nigeria. Like it or not, we are a digital society and in the age of cellular phones, video games, and computers.
Despite the plethora of digital gadgets, reading continues to be a problem to young people‟s life (Kaiser Family Foundation, 1999). An average student is only more concerned about the social platforms available on any mobile device. Entertainment seems to be what sells now and man on the other hand, is weight down by so many disturbing issues that require a break away from the harsh realities of life. For example, a student who has been looking forward to owning a personal computer or mobile phone is mainly interested in its social features. Hand over a phone to a child for instance and he goes straight to the games. Invariably, too much time spent on entertainment kills the brain cells (Katas 2004) making students unable to concentrate on their studies.
According to Katas, the brain consist of the pleasure and the pain site (PLS and PAS). These are the sites that regulate the activity of the body. “Anytime an individual engage in a pleasure giving activity such as playing video games chats and so on, the pleasure site in the brain gets really activated “lively and wide awake, while the pain site is deactivated. When it becomes a habit, the brain and the body cells get acclimatized and lively only to such activities. Any other activity that is not pleasurable the body will hotly revolt against. When a Student who is given to amusement and pleasure wants to read to sit down and do some reading, it becomes a very painful and discomforting activity. He sits for 10 minutes, gets up, drinks water, visits the toilet, and looks around and so on; the body will crave for those amusement and pleasurable things he is used to” (Katas, 2004:56).
Katas (2004) opines that 70% of most of the reasons why students cannot sit to read is summarized in this. Based on a Kaiser Family Foundation study conducted in Five-Year intervals with 1998-1999, 2003-2004, 2008-2009, found that with technology allowing nearly 24 hour media access, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among the blacks and Hispanic students. Today, 18 years olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media in a typical day (More than 53 hours a week) about the same amount most adults spend at work per day.
Facebook,twitter and instagram are mobile phone chat forums that have taken an immeasurable time out of the lives of the Nigerian students, most especially the undergraduates in our tertiary institutions. There is hardly any more time to read because they are pre-occupied with this phenomenon. There is hardly a student of this age- group who does not have a phone and belong to this group, especially in the urban. This mobile chat and other media channels could be great factors in the overall poor output of the academic development of the Nigerian Students
1.1 Statement of the Research Problem
The growing use of social media on our campuses presents us with great opportunity; that which enhances our personal communication and Academic development. Through the social media platforms, students can have the opportunity to share educational materials, interact and participate in group discussion that invariably improves their learning and ability to discuss academic issues. Alongside these opportunities come the challenges of overdependence and misuse of the social media for other things other than educational activities. The overdependence and misuse of the social media takes so much of the students‟ time off their academic work and invariably affects their academic development as well as performance. Against this background, this study intends to study how the social media affect students‟ Academic development either positively and negatively.
1.2 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The study examined Performance Evaluation of Three popular social networking application (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram)
The specific objectives are
i. The role of social media in the academic performance of students
ii. The possible benefits of social media to students‟ academic performance.
iii. How the constant use of the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can affect Academic performance.
iv. Strategies to be put in place to ensure that the social media fully aids students‟ Academic performance.
1.3 Research Questions:
Primarily, the following research questions were investigated to find out how social media affects students‟ development
1. What are the roles and benefits of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to students‟ development?
2. How does the growing use of the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram affect students‟ Academic development?
3. What are the implications of dependency on social media usage on students‟ development and their Academic capacities?
4. What are the strategies that could be put in place to ensure that the social media fully aids students‟ Academic development?
1.4 Scope of the Study
The researcher does not intend to go beyond the focus of the study which is largely on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In specific term, the study quantitatively and qualitatively reviewed 3 of the social networking
1.5 Significance of the Study
With the plethora of social media or social networking sites in our society, the call has always been for everybody to accept this platform as it offers information, interactivity and interconnectivity in the fastest and best form. Given the fact that the New Media has the capacity to bring about positive outcome such as encourage research process and making learning easier, it is also evident that the New Media sways students away from its positivity. This Study is relevant because it revealed the interaction and interrelationship between Communication technologies and academic development. It shows how communication tools and platforms could be used as part of the learning capacity and capability of students in an academic environment. Results and findings from this result would show empirically the influence of the social media on the academic development or performance of students‟ overtime. This
study, apart from adding to researches on this field, also sheds light on this subject matter. Researchers and students will find it handy, especially as it relates to the Academic development of the students, and for those who may wish to further the research from here.