An Investigation Of Social Media Usage And Its Impact On Students Exposure To Cybercrimes

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An Investigation Of Social Media Usage And Its Impact On Students Exposure To Cybercrimes


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine social media usage and its impact on students exposure to cybercrimes. Specifically, the study aims to ascertain the extent to which ones social media consumption naturally exposes them to criminal content, investigate whether the unlimited access to social media creates an avenue for criminals to exploit users and examine the various social media platform students have been exposed to. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 141 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analyzed, the findings revealed that the unlimited access to social media does creates an avenue for criminals to exploit users. The study thereby recommends that individuals should observe simple rules, individuals on their part should ensure proper anti-malware protection on their computer system, and individual should be encouraged to avoid pirate software, never to share their Identification Number (PIN), bank account, email access code to unknown persons. Also, University undergraduates should be educated on the proper use of cyber and internet. Finally, University undergraduates should see cybercrime as a severe offence that destroys individual and the society at large and not as fun.


Table of Content


Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organizations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.3 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1. Background of the Study

Technology has been the success story of our century and has opened doors for beneficial inventions. Technology has countries interconnected and the world has now become a global village (Ojo 2019). he information of most people and the economy of most countries in the world have become easily accessible with the help of electronic devices through the Internet and social media engagements and it is available to anyone who inquires, including criminals and eavesdroppers (Vladimir 2015). Social media is a computer technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas thoughts, information idea interests and other forms of expressions via virtual communities, networks and platforms. Social media connotes a web-based consumer friendly software platform interactively and responsively even to build or distribute content on some of the social media platforms that include: blogs like type pad, WordPress, image and video sharing applications such as Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, microblogs such as twitter and Tumblr, social sites such as Facebook, Myspace, WhatsApp, LinkedIn etc. Social media’s strength lies in its ability to create highly productive channels to connect and interact with people freely anywhere, wherever, in real-time and worldwide (Rana, 2017).

According to (Simona, 2020) As of January 2020, Nigeria registered approximately 27 million active social media users, WhatsApp was the most popular platform used in the country. Nonetheless, the number of registered internet users in Nigeria decreased in more than 10 million from 2019 to 2020, the platform was mentioned by 94% of Internet users aged 16-64 years. Facebook and YouTube followed, being used respectively by 87% & 76% of the individuals with access to the Internet (Statista 2020). Just as social media has brought for several benefits in aspects of business, interaction, entertainment etc., it has equally posed social and security risks the impact the society, national and international security negatively. Frequently, personal information is shared when creating profiles on social media platforms thereby making it easy for online crimes to take place. Threat attacks including hacking, stealing of names, phishing Scams, viruses are now common online because users share names, date of birth, school names, Family information and other information on websites of social media (Ayodele 2019). As the activities online rise, there are worries about the ways the personal information shared by the users may be collected and analyzed (Hinduja and Patchin 2019).

All of these threats see to the introduction of the general action which is Cybercrime, and Cybercrime is generally known as the extortion or blackmail of organizations and individuals on social media or Internet websites or the forceful hacking of their personal emails to obtain personal information for fraudulent acts. Cybercrime, also called computer crime is the use of a computer as an instrument to further illegal ends, such as committing fraud, trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property, stealing identities, or violating privacy. Cybercrime, especially through the Internet, has grown in importance as the computer has become central to commerce, entertainment, and government (Dennis, 2017). Cybercrime includes a wide series of criminal activities including: Phishing email messages, Unconstitutional access or unauthorized access to a person’s personal information, theft of financial or card payment data, theft and sale of corporate data, Cyber extortion (demanding money to prevent a threatened attack), ransomware attacks (a type of cyber extortion), identity fraud (where personal information is stolen and use). Cybercriminals aim to use a computing device to access personal data of a user, confidential business information or government information for illegal means (Tariq 2019).

Cybercrimes in Nigeria are of different categories ranging from; hacking, cyber-stalking, Internet frauds, online scams, ATM or credit card fraud, software piracy, phishing, virus dissemination, cyber-defamation. In Nigeria, cybercriminals are referred as “yahoo boys”. They usually take advantage of the open e-commerce and social media scheme to defraud unsuspecting people on sites (who are mainly foreigners or immigrants) of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars.

All of these popular cybercrimes in Nigeria make use of the social media scheme to defraud people and this is because of the anonymity of the users on social media. Social media platforms are the success story of our century but also has the downside to it, social media is like honey to a bee where cybercrime comes in play, this alone should let one know that cybercrime is promoted through high social media usage, especially as long as the numbers users are visible. To give an idea of the numbers of users that consume these social media platforms, here are some:

  • Facebook – 2.45 billion monthly active users (Q3, 2019)
  • Twitter – 300 million monthly active users (Statista, 2019)
  • Instagram – 1 billion monthly active users (about. Instagram, 2021)

Popular usage and consumption of these social media platforms is a problem because it gives fraudsters an access to millions and more active user profiles that may not know if they are real or fake, this simply proves that social media is like honey to a bee where cybercrime is concerned, fraudsters see social media users as a captive and trusting audience, that they could manipulate and lure into performing the acts that they would normally be vigilant about. Social media has sufficiently built a platform, not just for sharing thoughts and funny pictures, but as a playground for cybercrime.

The history of cybercrime which is believed to have started in the late 1980s by Robert Tappan Morris Jajoo. (2017). Cybercrime can be traced back to the introduction of three major inventions; the mobile telephones, the Internet and the computers. These three jointly brought forth an outbreak of cybercrimes, and today the current political, social and economic state of Nigeria has worsened the situation and left a bitter taste in the mouth of victims. The high rate of unemployment, horrible educational system and the harsh economy in the country all contribute highly to the proliferation of cybercrime practices in Nigeria.

The Nigerian government has set up a number of bodies and commissions to tackle this crime and reduce its prevalence in Nigeria. The ICPC came up with The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000. The act seeks to prohibit and prescribe punishment for corrupt practices and other related offences. The government of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003 also set up a working group known as the Nigeria Cyber Crime Working Group (NCWG) to address this phenomenon since the loss suffered by both consumers and investors creates serious credibility and image problem to the country. Similarly, according to (Abdulhamidet al, 2018), in Nigeria, a bill title “Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure bill” was prepared to deal specifically with the menace of social media fraud. The economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) also investigates financial crimes such as advance fee fraud, popularly known as (419 fraud) and laundering. Security and Privacy Initiative for Nigeria (ISSPIN) have also assisted to curb the maladies (Awe, 2019). Even with these measures from these several agencies, cybercrime and social media fraud in Nigeria is still on the increase. Based on the above background, this study will investigate the social media usage and its impact on students exposure to cybercrimes.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The issue of undergraduate participation in cybercrime in Nigeria has continued to remain a very intractable problem, and social media has become an environment where the most lucrative and safest crimes thrive. Different evidence to show cybercrime is rising have been discovered. A (YouGov, 2017) survey for the Internet users in the UK shows that 1 in 20 users lost money to online scams. According to (DeMarco, 2022), He also noted that cyberspace make young people susceptible to risk of engaging in cyber criminal activity by providing open, uncensored and unregulated sites that provide information, directives and tools about hacking, network intrusion, and phishing procedures. These studies are all vivid indicators to the fact that social media fraud is increasing rapidly and as so, it is starting to gain awareness at the global level but there is a shortfall to the study of this burgeoning criminal problem in Nigeria. Nigeria being a third world country is faced with huge economic challenges and this causes for a high rate of unemployment, therefore being a reason why this crime thrives in the country. Asides from the economy factor being a possible reason why social media fraud thrives in Nigeria, there are many other factors causing the unceasing rise in this fraudulent activity. A study by (zero tolerance, 2014), shows that the age group of social media fraudsters are usually within ages 18-30 years, and they are involved in this crime usually to sustain themselves and have a taste of “the good life”. The age group in this study is classified to be that of the students found in tertiary institutions being part of the reasons why this study is centralizing on university undergraduates. Social media usage and high consumption rate also poses as a problem such as the high amount of users gives these fraudsters the massive and trusting audience that they could manipulate, reason may be the victim trusts the social media app and believes the person he/she is speaking to has good intentions towards them. If the usage of social media is cut down by these users this problem is most likely to reduce. And the social media platforms that these victims entrust so much should ensure and establish ways of letting only authentic people onto their platform so if there may be any harm, the users may be discoverable. Anonymous and unlimited access to social media accounts also creates a big problem and plays a big role in the participation in cybercrime, the ease of creation of unauthenticated social media accounts poses as one of the problems allowing for the complexity in the identification of these fraudsters. Following these findings there is need for the discovery of more characteristics and qualities of these fraudsters and what other factors may drive them into the commitment of the crimes.


1.3 Research Objectives of the Study

The primary objective of this study is to investigate social media usage and its impact on students exposure to cybercrimes.

Therefore other objectives of this study will be:

  1. To ascertain the extent to which ones social media consumption naturally exposes them to criminal content.
  2. To investigate whether the unlimited access to social media creates an avenue for criminals to exploit users.
  3. To determine the various social media platform students have been exposed to.

1.4 Research question

From the above research objectives listed, the following research questions will be poised.

  1. What is the extent to which ones social media consumption naturally exposes them to criminal content?
  2. Does the unlimited access to social media creates an avenue for criminals to exploit users?
  3. What are the various social media platform students have been exposed to.

1.5 Research Hypothesis

The following questions have been created for the study

H0: the unlimited access to social media does not creates an avenue for criminals to exploit users.

HA: the unlimited access to social media does creates an avenue for criminals to exploit users


1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will increase the wealth of knowledge on cybercrime activity in Nigeria, specifically would create new knowledge on the relationship between social media and cybercrime thereby filling the gap in the literature. In addition the study would also be highly beneficial as it would enlighten undergraduate students and the general public on the negative results from participating in this crime, and the results from the research would give a general answer to social media users on their different perspectives about social media and its influence on people. The study will also inform them on the appropriate authorities to file complaints to if they have been victims of any sort of cyber fraud or scam.


1.7 Scope of Study

The study will ascertain the extent to which ones social media consumption naturally exposes them to criminal content. The study will also investigate whether the unlimited access to social media creates an avenue for criminals to exploit users. Lastly, the study will determine the impact which social media usage have on students who have been exposed to cybercrimes. Hence, the study is delimited to University of Lagos


1.8 Limitation of the Study

This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:

Just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data

Financial constraint , was faced by the researcher ,in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires

Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher


1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

Cybercrime:

As used in this study is the offence committed with the use of these social media sites or applications. It is seen to be blackmail through different formats discussed in this study.

Social Media:

As used through this study is the platform or are the sites which these cybercrime acts are committed with or on. It is a socialization network used to send and receive messages, share videos, and carry out other forms of communication processes.

Phishing:

Is a type of cybercrime format detailed in this study which uses emails to lure its victims.

Consumption:

As a term in this study is a description used for usage or frequent use of certain social media applications that could even be an addiction to that certain site.


1.10 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows.

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.0 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on social media usage and its impact on students exposure to cybercrimes using Lagos state University as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.1 Summary

In this study, our focus was to examine social media usage and its impact on students exposure to cybercrimes using Lagos state University as a case study. The study specifically was aimed to ascertain the extent to which ones social media consumption naturally exposes them to criminal content, investigate whether the unlimited access to social media creates an avenue for criminals to exploit users and examine the various social media platform students have been exposed to. A total of 141 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are drawn from students of Lagos State University.


5.2 Conclusion

Based on the finding of this study, the following conclusions were made:

  1. The extent to which ones social media consumption naturally exposes them to criminal content is high.
  2. The unlimited access to social media creates an avenue for criminals to exploit users
  3. The various social media students have been exposed to is Facebook , twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp

5.3 Recommendation

Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:

  1. Individuals should observe simple rules, individuals on their part should ensure proper anti-malware protection on their computer system, and individual should be encouraged to avoid pirate software, never to share their Identification Number (PIN), bank account, email access code to unknown persons.
  2. University undergraduates should be educated on the proper use of cyber and internet.
  3. University undergraduates should see cybercrime as a severe offence that destroys individual and the society at large and not as fun.

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