1.1 Background to the Study
Reading is the essential factor that forms the foundation of greatness in everyone's life irrespective of gender, status and age. It helps to develop an individual and is also important when trying to pass an examination. One of the major reasons for the decreasing rate at which students read is due to the introduction of phones, computers, laptops and the wrong usage of all forms of communication technology. Social media and its networks such as BBM, , Instagram, 2go, Facebook, Twitter, Badoo, YouTube and the use of internet as a whole has been the major obsessions of most Nigerian youths. Despite the fact that the social media is making student's academic performance to deteriorate, it also has some positive contributions to education.
The internet is more than just a means of seeking information. People have discovered that the Internet can be used to connect with other people for business or commercial purpose, to make new friends, or to reawaken old friends and long lost relatives. The emergence of social media simplifies the process because they do not require advanced internet knowledge or experience and are made up of a wide array of different formats and topics. This means that anyone can connect through social media. With such extensive acceptance, it is no surprise that social media have impacted the way people live and socialize. Social media are also being used by teachers and students as a communication tool, especially in the West. It is a bidirectional process as students are using these mediums to share comments with their teachers.
According to Boyd and Ellison, Social network site is a web based service which allows people to sign up in a bounded system, articulating group of people within the same system so as to share personal or academic related information. This indicates that social media entails a place where people connect with each other and share common issues relating to relationship, sports, politics or academics. However, Boyd and Ellison argue that participants from certain social media sites are not primarily there to connect with people they are not familiar with, rather they sign up to connect and catch up with loss but found offline friends as well as close ones. Social network sites have attracted considerable attention among scholars and educators due to the growing popularity among students and the potential effect on academic performance. However, the studies appear from two opposing views on the impact of social media on users. While proponents argue that it allows users in connecting people of common interest and value, opponents claim that excessive use of these sites affect the social, mental and physical health of the users.
Many students who have access to the social media waste their time on it by chatting and surfing the internet for non-educative information. They are glued to their phones all day making them loose sense of time. Some students are also seen pressing their phones during classes, seminars and also in the libraries. Some of them will even plug in their ear pieces and hum out the songs they are listening to when studying which reduce their rates of assimilation and act as a source of disturbances to others around them. In a bid to know what is going on in the world and to be current with events, they are always seen on the internet reading, browsing and reading fashion and social blogs. There is obvious a great decrease in student's passion to read for pleasure and enjoyment but instead prefer to seek pleasure from the media by streaming videos on Social Media and playing with their Smart phones. The main reason why they now read is just to pass examination and not to gain knowledge. This has reduced the vast use and development of the brain. Students are no more learning through reading. Students who so much devote their times on networking have a great tendency of having low grades, poor academic performance and become unsuccessful.
The social media also have numerous positive impacts. Firstly, it enhances learning and education. Students, with the help of the Internet now have access to all form of information. Nothing is strange to 'google'. No matter how old the information is, the internet serves as search lights to them. Some information that cannot be found in the libraries and research centers are now available online. The use of search engines such as Google and Google Scholar has helped many students in their educational life. The world is now a small place where there is circulation of knowledge and information. Some educational problems encountered by students are being discussed and solved through interaction with online counselors. Distance learning is made possible by the use of social media. Many universities now offer online courses to the public. The social media has brought education and learning to our doorsteps. No need of traveling and risking lives just to study. Options of studying abroad when in Nigeria are open to students who are not financially buoyant to travel out of the country. Lecturers now prefer assignments and projects to be submitted to their emails. Lecture notes, handouts and reading materials are made available by the teachers online and downloaded by the students. This reduces cost of making photocopies and the risk of misplacing them.
Individual’s beliefs and self-acceptance based on evaluation of self on different components of the environment could influence students’ attitudes toward the use social media. An assessment of the influence of social media on the academic performance of students can become a decisive step towards the effort to stem the trend of attitudes toward the use social media.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Social media is the connection of friends or family together which allows one to communicate easily. With media one can have a long chain of friends chat, or share information or ideal with. According to Boyd & Ellison (2008), Social networking sites can be defined as web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. At the most basic level social networking sites allow users to set up online profiles or personal homepages, and develop an online social network. The profile page functions as the user’s own webpage and includes profile information ranging from their date of birth, gender, religion, politics and hometown, to their favourite films, books quotes and what they like doing in their spare time. In addition to profile information, users can design the appearance of their page, and add content such as photos, video clips, music and files.
1.3 Research Questions
This research will be carried out to answer the following research questions:
a) what are the reasons why the Nigerian students use the social media?
b) what are the ways social media can be used as a platform for educational learning among Nigerian students?
c) what are the uses and gratifications drawn from social media and its effects on learning among Nigerian students?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The purpose of this research is to determine whether the social media affect the academic performance of students in Nigeria. This research will be carried out with the following objectives:
a) to discover the reasons why the Nigerian students use the social networking sites
b) to determine the ways social media can be used as a platform for educational learning among Nigerian students
c) to establish the uses and gratifications drawn from social media and its effects of learning among Nigerian students
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The research hypotheses to be tested include:
i) there will be a significant relationship between social media and academic performance of students.
ii) there will be no significant influence of social media academic performance of students.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings from this research will hopefully create awareness among Nigerian students who access social media. The findings will also help students to use social media appropriately.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study covered undergraduate and post graduate students of Nigeria. Variables of interest include: social media and academic performance. While social media is independent variable, academic ‘performance’ of students is dependent variable.
1.8 Limitation of the study
This research was carried out in some selected schools in Nigeria with a sample of 100 students. A survey was conducted among the Nigerian students which took around 12-15 minutes for each student.
1.9 Definitions of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Social Media: This refers to computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.
Academic Performance: This refers to the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals. Cumulative GPA and completion of educational degrees such as High School and Bachelor's degrees represent academic achievement.