The Impact Of Social Media On Juvenile Delinquency Of Secondary School Students

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The Impact Of Social Media On Juvenile Delinquency Of Secondary School Students


Abstract


The aim of this research is to address the impact and implications of social media on the Nigerian youth especially those in Secondary school. Specifically, the study focused on the impacts of social media on the Juvenile Delinquency of youths in Nigeria. Four secondary schools were selected from central business district, FCT Abuja. The study employed the quantitative and qualitative method of research. The target population for this study includes 80 students from 4 selected Secondary school in Abuja, Nigeria. A total of 80 questionnaires were distributed and 73 were returned, representing 91.25% response rate. The schools include, Government Day Secondary School, Karu, Government Day Secondary School, Bwari, Government Day Secondary School, Gwagwalada, Government Girls Secondary School, Dutse. The study found out that the youth in Nigeria use social media a lot and they spend more time on social media with Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter topping the list. The youths mostly used social media for communicating between their friends and families. 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.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

This research examines the issues of the relation between social media and its impact on behaviour change of the youth. Today, messages can reach audiences and target groups in real time and they can generate changes and tendencies. Crowds are becoming more powerful through technology, because technology has the ability to unite them.

According to Susan Greenfield, an Oxford University researcher in her article The Quest For Identity In The 21st Century, on Daily Mail UK 14th September, 2010, as growing numbers of people discover the potential of the World Wide Web and as they become active parts of it and as technology becomes even more advanced, expanded, accessible and sophisticated, current forms of communication will transform, taking advantage of the crowd sourcing phenomenon.

This research will find out what these social media are. What are their use in the lives of the college students and their implications on their behavior. New information Technology (IT) is almost everywhere and has dramatically altered the way we live. These tools have become valued elements of life in Nigeria merely because they opened many doors to youth and allowed them to interact freely and markedly unlike at any other time in history. In Nigeria, college and university campuses have been hit by new generations of youth coming from high schools with quite a decent knowledge about information technology and how to use its tools, especially cellular phones and computers. While any technology can be put to good or bad use, depending on the user, many parents have bought their children cellular phones and PCs so they may use them appropriately and effectively, mainly for learning purposes as well as knowing where they are at any time and come to their help if they need it.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

This study will try to find out the impact that social media has on the youth‘s behaviour. Technology has many positive aspects but, in the wrong hands, it can become dangerous. For the young people it is experiments to do what they feel is good or exciting to them and the friends and at the same time avoid adult supervision. Livingstone (2008) opines that for teenagers, the online realm may be adopted enthusiastically because it represents ‗their‘ space, visible to the peer group more than to adult surveillance, an exciting yet relatively safe opportunity to conduct the social psychological task of adolescence – to construct, experiment with and present a reflexive project of the self in a social context, as well as, for some, for flouting communicative norms and other risk-taking behaviors. Technology brought about social media which is a valuable tool but is somewhat misused by today‘s youth. The two main forms that the youth use to access social media are cell phones and the Internet which have brought about major changes in their lifestyle.

With the current exposure and easy access that the youth are able to get out of these mediums, this study will establish the impacts it has have on the youth. Issues that are expected to arise out of this research include exposure to problematic materials, online victimization of youth, exposition to unnecessary online marketing and advertising, exposure to dangerous online behaviours, issues of identity theft, the emergence of digital divide and generation gap between parents and the youth.

According to Ritchel, Mattinan article,―Growing up Digital, Wired for Distraction.” on The New York Times. 21 Nov. 2010, others include wastage of time, building of shallow and harmful relationships, and, eventually, causing rather than alleviating, users‘ depression, loneliness, social isolation, and withdrawal among others.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

Goal:

The goal of this research is to address the impact and implications of social media on the Nigerian youth especially those in Secondary school on the way they are using these medium and the consequences of that use on their behaviour.

Specific Objectives:
  1. To determine how the youth in Nigeria use social media in their daily lives
  2. To determine if the youth in Nigeria prefer social media as means of communication as opposed to traditional methods.
  3. To find out the impacts social media has on behavior changes among the Nigerian youths.
  4. To determine the risks that comes with use of social media on the Nigerian youth.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. How do the youth in Nigeria use social media in their daily lives?
  2. Do the youth in Nigeria prefer social media as a means of communication as opposed to traditional methods?
  3. What are the impacts of social media on the Juvenile Deliquency of youths in Nigeria?
  4. What are the risks that come with use of social media among the youths in Nigeria?

1.5 Justification of the Study

It is hoped that the findings of this study will bridge the gap of lack of sufficient information on the effects of social media on the youth and behavior change. The findings of this study may also be useful to the policy makers in various sectors of the government. For instance, in the educational sector curriculum developers will be informed when developing curriculum for the youth. In the health ministry, it will help doctors especially those dealing with counseling of the youth to know which tools to use to effectively communicate to the youth. The results of the study are likely to influence further scholarly research by other researchers who may be interested in this field of knowledge and initiate appropriate mitigation.


1.6 Scope of the Study

The study seeks to find out the impacts of social media among the youth on behavior change. While the study recognizes that new interactive technologies have impacts on other age groups outside the youth bracket, and as such this study will limit itself only to the youths in Nigeria. The study will focus itself only five Secondary school that are based around Abuja central business district, as opposed to other institutions outside the stated realm of orientation or geographical boundary.


1.7 Limitations of the Study

The study is limited by time and financial resources and as result the research will have to source for more financial resources and use alternative means. Since few similar studies have been done especially in institutions of higher learning, there is limited empirical literature on the area of impacts of social media on Juvenile Delinquency especially in the context of Nigeria. Another expected limitation is that the youth might fail to give correct information on the basis of invasion of their privacy. The researcher will explain to them that the study is purely for academic purposes and not motivated by any other interests whatsoever.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Juvenile Delinquency:

The habitual committing of criminal acts or offences by a young person, especially one below the age at which ordinary criminal prosecution is possible.

Social Media:

Social media are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation or sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.

Youth:

The period between childhood and adult age.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

 

5.1 Introduction

The study sought to investigate impact of social media on Juvenile delinquency: a case study of selected Secondary school in Abuja, Nigeria. 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 on possible areas for further research


5.1 Summary of the Study

As stated above, the study sought to find out the impact of social media among the youth on behavior change. 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 social science (SPSS). 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 youth in Nigeria use social media a lot and they spend more time on social media. Figure 4.6 in chapter four indicates that 60.3% of the youth 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 youth 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 youth 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. These 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 youth 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 youth 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 table4.7.
5.4 Conclusion of the study

In view of the above summary, it was evident that social media played a major role on Juvenile delinquency 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 pedophiles.
  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 youth will use to interact and mingle with each other physically.
  6. vi. The findings of this study should be used in policy formulation at levels of learning that the youths are inclusive such as high schools and Secondary school and in government agents that deal with the youth.

5.6 Suggestions for Further Research

  1. Since the study targeted on the general social media, a study can be done further on the specific social media platform, such as Facebook or Twitter.
  2. While the study recognized that social media has impacts on other age groups outside the youth bracket, and as such this study limited itself only to the youths in Nigeria. Therefore, a similar study can be done on other age groups outside the youth bracket.
  3. The study focused itself only on five Secondary school that are based around Abuja Central Business District, as opposed to other institutions outside the stated realm of orientation or geographical boundary. Similar studies can be done outside of Abuja Central Business District.

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