1.1 Background to the Study
The world today is celebrating the improvement in communication technology which has broadened the scopes of communication through information and communication technology (ICTs). Modern technology in communication no doubt has turned the entire world into a “Global Village” as stated by Marshall McLuhan. But as it is, technology like two sides of a coin, bring with it both negative and positive sides. It helps people to be better informed, enlightened and keeping abreast with world development. Technology exposes mankind to a better way of doing things. Social networking sites like; Twitter, Yahoo Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Blackberry Messenger (BBM) Whatsapp messenger, 2go messenger, Skype messenger, Google talk, Google messenger, Iphone and androids are used by most people to interact with old and new friends, physical or internet friends, (Asemah and Edegon 2012).
The world has been changed rapidly by the evolution of technology; this has resulted into the use of technology as the best medium to explore the wide are the knowledge. Whereby, two-third of the world’s internet population visits Social networking or blogging sites, thus serving as a communication and connection tool. Social networking sites (SNS), are online communities of internet users who want to communicate with other users about areas of mutual interest, whether from a personal, business or academic perspective. (William Boyd, Densten Chin, Diamond and Morgenthaler 2009). The millions of Social networking sites transformed the thought of global village into a reality whereby billions of people communicate through Social Networking Sites.
Academic performance or achievement plays an important role in an individual placement, be it in the academic institutions or job placement. Due to this, many people are concerned with the ways they can enhance their academic achievement. The emphasis on academic performance which is also prevalent worldwide has encouraged many studies about the conditions promoting it. The role of academic achievement as one of the predictors of one’s life success and also in the aspect of academic placement in schools o higher institutions as well as the level of employability in one’s career is inevitable (Kyoshaba, 2009).
Academic performance or achievement is the outcome of education, the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals. This is commonly measured by examinations or continuous assessments but there is no general agreement on how it is best tested or which aspects are most important. Procedural knowledge such as skills or declarative knowledge such as facts (Annie, Howard and Mildred 1996).
A direct relationship exists between Social media usage and the academic performance of students in universities. However, the darker side within technological evolution has resulted in dilemmas such as the set back of real values of life especially among students who form the majority of users interacting through the use of Social networking sites. With so many Social networking sites displayed on the internet, students are tempted to abandon their homework and reading times in preference for chatting with friends. Many students are now addicted to the online flare of the moment, with Facebook, Twitter. Today most youths and students posses Facebook account, Whatsapp messenger etc. The reason most of them perform badly in schools might not be far-fetched. While many minds might be quick to blame the poor quantity of teachers, they might have to think even harder, if they have not heard of Facebook Frenzy (Oche and Aminu, 2010).
Olubiyi (2012) notes that these days’ students are so engross in the Social media that they are almost 24 hours online. Even in the classrooms and lecture theatre it has been observed that students are always busy pinging, 2going, Whatsapping or Facebooking, while lecture are on. Times that ought to be channelled towards learning, academic research and innovating have been crushed by the passion for chatting. Hence most students academic suffer setback as a result of distraction from the Social media. According to (Obi, Bulvs, Adamu and Sala’at, 2012), they observed that the use of these sites also affects students’ use of English language.
According to Cain (2009) Social networking sites provide ease of connecting people to one another: free of cost and after connecting people one can post news, informative materials and other things including video and pictures etc. Lenhart and Madden (2007) revealed through a survey that students strongly recommend Social networking sites to stay in touch with friends to keep informed and aware.
1.1.1 An Overview of Social Network Sites
Early 1990s, chat rooms and bulletin boards were forms of Social networking in a way, they help people to connect with others and share interest. Example, dating sites hooked those looking for partners and classmates. Communication allows people to connect with people they had known in high school and colleges and enable them to meet others.
In the early 20s, a site called Friednster was set up where people invited their friends and their friends also invited others. The site was popular for a while, but suffered from technical difficulties and fake profiles and began to lose members. In 1999, MySpace took over but became popular in 2003. Its root are a bit muddy because it received financial and logistical support from another company called the E-Universe and most of the early user were employers of E-Universe but Tom Anderson and Chris De Wolfe are given credit for much of the innovation and success of the site, which built up to one hundred and fifteen million users worldwide. Members post bios, photos, blogs, video and other things that strike their fancy. (Retrieved November, 7th 2012- www.mudconnect.com)
Some television programmers’ had started producing programme to air on MySpace in 2005; Rupert Murdoclis News Corporation (parent of fox broadcasting) bought MySpace for five hundred and eighty million dollars ($580). A competitor to MySpace is Facebook which started in about 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg ,while he was a student at Harvard and grew rapidly in 2007. At first, Facebook was solely for college and highs school students but Mark opened it to everyone and like MySpace, it encourages all types of member postings. There are also smaller Social networks like 2go which enables users to chat on their mobile phones free, meet new users and make new friends. In this Media chat rooms on different topics are opened where you can join in the discussion and Social ise with others. 2go have a gateways that enable users chat with friends on Gtalk, Mxit and Facebook (Retrieved November 9th, 2012), www.askme.com. 2go chat is always simple and light weight, making it available to low end phones. 2go run on java enables phones; Nokia, LG, Samsung and Sony Ericson. Blackberry users can also use 2go to please (Retrieved November 9th 2012 – www.google.com)
Blackberry Messenger is one of the smaller Social networks which is included on all blackberry devices that allows messaging between blackberry users. It was developed by the manufacturers of the blackberry research in motion (RIM); messages that are sent via blackberry messenger are sent over the internet and use the blackberry pin system, so communication is only possible between blackberry devices. (Retrieved 10th November 2012 – www.mitiedu/people/mkgray/net)
Users of Blackberry messenger always have a ping ID, which is easier to remember because you can pick it yourself. Once you have shared your pin or found friends, via email or twitter, you can send text, photos, videos and voice memos. Messages are in real time over the data network and pushed to the recipient. Once a message is sent in blackberry messenger, a little S or D and a tick with an R indicating the message has been sent and read. While using blackberry messenger users can display their photos, status and some information about theirselves to connect with friends quickly and to know things about their surroundings.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Since the advent of Social media sites in the 1990s, it is assumed in some quarters that the academic performance of student is facing a lot of neglects and challenges. The educational system in Nigeria is faced with so many challenges which have certainly brought about a rapid decline in the quality of education. In Akwa Ibom State University for instance, lecturers have complained of students spending more time on Social media than their books. There is a deviation, distraction, and divided attention between Social networking activities and student’s academic work. It is observed that student’s devote more attention to Social media than they do to their studies.
Students’ addictiveness to Social networks, students’ frequency of exposure to Social network and the influence of Social media as a medium of interaction between students has been part of discussion in recent times, which have impacted on their academic performance. Instead of students reading their book, they spend their time chatting via the Social media and this might definitely have influence on their academic performance. It is a common sight to see students chatting in sensitive and highly organised places like church, mosque and lecture venues: it is therefore of great importance to explore some of the trending issues facing students’ academic performance as a result of Social media. Thus, the problem of this study is to investigate the influence of Social media on the academic performance of students’ in Akwa Ibom State University.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of this study generally is to examine the influence of Social media on the academic performance of students in Akwa Ibom State University.
Specifically the study seeks:
Find out the Social networking sites most influential on students’ academic performance.Determine the kind of influence that Social networking sites have on students’ academic performance.Determine the level of students’ exposure and usage of Social networking sites.Ascertain how the use of Social media has influenced the academic performance of students’ in Akwa Ibom State University.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions are designed to guide this study. They are;
What Social networking site is most influential on students’ academic performance?
What type of influence do Social networks have on students’ academic performance?
What is the level of students’ exposure and usage of Social networking sites?
How has the use of Social media influence the academic performances of students in Akwa Ibom State University?
1.5 Significance of the Study
With an alarming rate of students obsession in Social media through the use of smartphones that are now in abundance supply, it is therefore pertinent to observe that the outcome of this study will be useful in revealing the level of influence Social media has on students academic performance.
Also, the result of this study will be useful to the Federal Ministry of Education Board in policy formulation to curtail/ promote the use of Social networking sites by students.
The recommendation of this study will also help students of tertiary institution in moderating the use of Social networking sites and to harness the positive influence of Social networking sites.
Finally, it is hoped that the outcome of this work will help researchers with more information on the influence of Social media on students’ academic performance. It will also serve as a reference material for students and other researchers undertaking similar research.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This research limits itself to investigating the influence of Social media on the academic performance of students in Akwa Ibom State University.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Academic: Connected with studying and thinking, not with practical skills.
Media: Are all technology devices that are intended to reach a large audience by mass communication.
Students: A person formally engaged in learning, especially one enrolled in a school or college.
Social Media: A form of electronic communication through which users create online communications to share information, idea, personal messengers and other content (as videos).
Social Networking Sites: it is an online platform that allows users to create a public profile and interact with other user on the web.THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE STUDENTS IN AKWA IBOM STATE UNIVERSITY