The Effect Of Social Media On The Lifestyles Of Nigerian Youth

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

The Effect Of Social Media On The Lifestyles Of Nigerian Youth


Abstract


This research was carried out to investigate and find out the effects of social media on the lifestyles of the Nigerian youth at Federal College of Education, Abeokuta. This study considered the meaning of social media, relevant literature review and the methodology used was a survey research design. The findings revealed that social media makes the youth feel more exposed and connected, being able to share ideas, thought, e.t.c. with one another. The research findings also revealed that most youths in Federal College of Education, Abeokuta use or access Facebook more than once hourly, being exposed to inappropriate content on the social media sites. Findings revealed that social media sites has affected the youth way of life in Federal College of Education, Abeokuta. Also, youth face – to – face interaction with one another has decreased due to social media. It was therefore recommended that the youth should beware of inappropriate content on the social media and be concerned about the online protection and sharing of individual information. Productive ventures through the social media platforms which would benefit both the source and the society should be embarked upon by the youths.


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Using social media websites is among the most common activity of today’s children and adolescents. Any website that allows social interaction is considered a social media site, including social networking sites, such as Facebook, Myspace, twitter, gaming sites and virtual worlds such as club Penguin, second life and the Sims etc. Such sites offer today’s youth a portal for entertainment and communication and have grown exponentially in recent years.

The definition of social media is the “relationship that exist between network of people” (Walter & Rivera, 2004). In the last ten years, the online world has changed dramatically. Thanks to the invention of social media where young men and women now exchange ideas, feelings, personal information, pictures and videos at a truly astonishing rate. Schill (2011) states that the social media sites encourage negative behaviours for teen students such as procrastination (catching up with friends), and they are more likely to drink and drug.

However, everyday, many students are spending countless hours immersed in social media such as Facebook, MySpace, World of war craft or SimCity. At first glance, this may seem like a waste of time, however, it also helps students to develop important knowledge and social skills, and be active citizens who share and create content, Brydolf (2007).

At present, whether social media is favourable or unfavourable, many students utilize these sites on a daily basis. As social media sites continue to grow in popularity, it is our belief that technology is a vital part of today’s student success equation.

Many researchers have been delving into a considerable amount of research on how social media influences retention of college youths. Many parents are worried that their college students are spending too much time on Facebook and other social media sites and not enough time studying which might ultimately expose them to new cultures, limiting them from fully exhibiting or practising of their own culture.

Therefore, for this reason, O’keffe & Clarke-Pearson (2010) asserts that it is important that parents become aware of the nature of social media sites, given that not all of them are healthy environments for youth’s good cultural standard.

Engaging in various forms of social media is a routine activity that research has shown to benefit children and the youth by enhancing communication, social connection and even technical skills. Social media sites offer multiple daily opportunities for connecting with friends, classmates and people with shared interests. Thus, a large part of this generations social and emotional development is occurring while on the internet and on Cell phones Ito, horst & Bittani (2008).

Due to their limited capacity for self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure, children, adolescents and youth are at some risk as they navigate and experiment with social media. Recent research indicates that there are frequent online expressions of offline behaviours, such as bullying, clique-forming, and sexual experimentation that have introduced problems such as cyberbullying, privacy issues and sexing, Lenhart (2009). Other problems that merit awareness include internet addiction and concurrent sleep deprivation.

Cooper (2013) opines that social media affects not only our lives when we are active on a social media site, but also when we are offline. Approximately one in five couples last year 2012 met on social media sites such as Facebook. Some effects of social media on the youths include changes to your behaviour and habits. Some of these changes can have an adverse effects on our lives, due to factors such as peer pressure and the related stress caused by it, constant image maintenance needs to be maintained on social networking sites.

Currently, over 60% of the world’s population is active on social networking/media sites. Melville (2010). The increase in popularity of social media has had a profound effect on the lives of todays’ youth.

Youths update their social media sties with every little detail of their lives. Friendships are made and broken due to social media, privacy is all but lost and any embarrassment a person suffers in one’s life is available for the entire world to view on the internet which may lead to severe stress and ultimately have a profound negative effect on one’s psychology.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

This research is interested in finding out the effects which social media have on the lifestyles of the youths. Specifically, the issues arising from the researcher are:

For what purpose are the youths utilizing social media? What are the positive and negative effects social media have on the youth? To what extent has the social media allowed or affected the youth cultural lifestyles? What are the possible solutions to the negative effects of social media on the youth lifestyle?


1.3 Purpose Of The Study

The purpose of the study cannot be over emphasized considering the essential roles and the negative effects which social media have on the lifestyles of the youths generally. Therefore, this study seeks to investigate to what extent the youth lifestyles and culture are affected positively and otherwise and to offer series of suggestions that will assist the youths to use social media more positively than negatively at Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta.


1.4 Research Questions

In carrying out this project work, the researcher intends using this under listed questions in probing into the research.

What is the level of awareness of social media on the youth in Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta? What are the positive impacts of social media on the youth in Federal College of Education, Osiele? What are the negative impacts of social media in the youth lifestyles in Federal College of Education, Osiele? Which is the most popular social media site for the youths of Federal College of Education, Osiele? Does the social media make the youths feel more connected and exposed?


1.5 Scope Of The Study

This research is limited to the students’ of Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta due to time, financial constraints etc in order to collect data needed for the project easily


1.6 Significance Of Study

This study is significant in the sense that it will help to identify those areas, and to what extent the social media has affected the youth lifestyles in the Nigerian society.

This study would help to advance the knowledge in the field of academics and also serve as a source of literature.

Above all, the study will equip the youths to encourage positive effect and guard against the negative effects of social media on the lifestyles.


1.7 Definition Of Terms

The following terms are used in study of the project.

Youth:

Wikipedia sees youth as the time of life between childhood and adulthood (maturity). The Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary sees youth as a state of being young early life; the period immediately succeeding childhood. Youth is also defined as the appearance, freshness, vigour, spirit, etc. characteristic of one who is young.

Social media:

Refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.

Lifestyle:

Wikipedia defines lifestyle as the typical way of life of an individual, group or culture.

Society:

A group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, subject to the same political authorities and dominant cultural expectations.

Social networking:

Are platforms to build social networks among people who share interests, activities or real – life connections.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.0 Introduction

The study sought to investigate impact of social media on Nigerian youths lifestyle: a case study of youths at Federal University otuoke. This chapter presents a summary of the major findings of the study. The chapter further offers a summary on the data collected, analysis of data, discussions of the findings on each research question and the logical interpretation emanating from the findings. Finally the chapter makes recommendations


5.2 Summary of the Study

As stated above, the study sought to find out the impact of social media on the lifestyle of Student Study objectives were formulated and research questions were derived from the objectives. Questionnaires were the instruments used in collection of data. Quantitative data collected, was then coded and inputted in statistical package for the student. The results were carefully analyzed and presented to represent the actual situation on the ground.

Qualitative data was closely analyzed qualitatively and important information extracted from what the respondents said. The data was then presented making relevant citations in comparison with the studies that had been done earlier and that related to the topic of study. Summary and conclusions were derived from the findings of the study.


5.3 Major Findings of the Study

The study found out that the Students use social media a lot and they spend more time on the computer. Figure 4.6 in chapter four indicates that 60.3% of the Student spend 2-5 hours a day on the computers. According to table 4.2, the most common activity they are usually doing is surfing the internet and a majority of 39.7% agreed to doing so.

The study further found out that most of the youths were on social media with Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter topping the list, as is indicated in table 4.3. Most of these respondents used their mobile phones to access the internet especially on WhatsApp- a mobile phone application. The most common activity is chatting or texting on their mobile phones, as is shown in table 4.5, where 28.8% said to a moderate extent they are always on the phone/computer chatting with online friends.

The study wanted to find out if youths in Nigeria prefer social media as a means of communication as opposed to traditional methods. Various reasons were given for the preference of the social media. As is indicated in table 4.5, some of the reasons stated included, they prefer social media because their message is received in real time where 61.7% either agreed or strongly agreed, 86.3% either agreed or strongly agreed that sending an e-mail is a lot faster than writing a letter, another 86.3% agreed or strongly agreed that in social media a reply is received almost immediately as opposed to old traditional methods. Further, 87.7% agreed or strongly agreed that social media enables individuals to know if their messages have reached their recipient or not.

Other reasons given included the feeling of independence that is associated with social media where there is no parental control and also elevation of their social status among the peers, where one has many followers on the social network.

The study further revealed that social media had various effects on the behavior of the respondents. For instance in table 4.6 it is indicated that, 63% either agreed to a large extent or to a very large extent that social networks help them in maintain contacts with old friends and create new friends. This findings are confirmed by Livingstone (2008) who posited that, Social networking sites enable communication among ever-widening circles of contacts, inviting convergence among the hitherto separate activities of email, messaging, website creation, diaries, photo albums and music or video uploading and downloading. From the user‘s viewpoint, more than ever before, using media means creating as well as receiving, with user control extending far beyond selecting ready-made, mass-produced content.

Social media further makes planning easier as the youths communicate through various platforms provided in it. They can either post messages on each other‘s walls in Facebook or send direct messages to mobile phones via Whatsapp. However, the findings further showed that it made the youths lazy and most of them admitted to a waste of time that would otherwise have gone to doing other better things like reading as is indicated in table 4.7.


5.4 Conclusion of the Study

In view of the above summary, it was evident that social media played a major role on behavior change of the respondents. The youths mostly used social media for communicating between their friends and families. The fact that social media is part of them especially having been born in this era of emerging technology, most felt that they could not do without it. They depended on it for various positive things such as research and contacts with old friends and getting on the loop of what was happening either in their circles, nationally or internationally.


5.5 Major Recommendations from the Study

  1. The youths need to be trained on better usage of the social media so as to minimize time wastage on chatting and other irrelevant engagements that are not of major importance on their lives.
  2. All the stakeholders and especially Communication Commission of Nigeria and network providers’ needs to come up with means of filtering information that reaches the young people through social media platforms. This will help minimize exposing them to pornographic and other unwarranted materials.
  3. Parents and security agencies should monitor activities of the young people on social media in order to protect them from sex pest and paedophiles.
  4. In order to communicate effectively to the young people schools and government agencies should adopt social media as one of their means of communication.
  5. To avoid having a generation that does not have face to face communication skills, all the stakeholders should consider organizing social events that the youths will use to interact and mingle with each other physically.

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