1.1 Background to the Study
Certainly, social media innovations are progressively dominating the online landscape without an end in sight. Socials media are being introduced basically every day as a result of a competition to become standard platforms for channelling information (Dijck, 2012). Among such online social media platforms is Twitter. As illustrated by Carscaddon and Chapman (2013), Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows individuals to send messages (tweets) and have them broadcast immediately through the Internet, mobile phones, and various other applications. Unlike on other social networking sites, relationships on Twitter can be simply one-sided, meaning that an individual can follow another without the latter being bound to do so. Since its creation in 2006, Twitter's membership has greatly increased to the current level of over 192 million everyday active users (Wagner, 2021). Worthy of note is that Nigerians, particularly youths, form an active adopter of the global daily Twitter users.
Aharony (2010) disclosed that Twitter was at first introduced as another tool to assist friends and family to remain connected. Fiander (2012) included that Twitter's developers imagined it as a broadcast medium: a way of quickly communicating one's location and what one is doing, feeling, or thinking. To that extent, the micro-blogging platform consists of a range of features such as tweeting, retweeting posts, tagging accounts, pinning tweets, direct messaging, follower and following, and Twitter chatting (Del Bosque, Leif, & Skarl, 2012). With these important features, Twitter has rapidly become a prominent source for businesses, news outlets, celebrities, instincts and more (Del Bosque, Leif & Skarl, 2012). Twitter account holders leveraged its functions to post information or updates, share photos, interact with chat, upload videos, and look for opinions via a Twitter poll. Beyond this, Twitter provides individuals with the chance for live video streaming and live-tweeting, which includes following an event on Twitter and sending a number of tweets regarding different aspects of the event as it progresses. All these opportunities have consistently shown to be strong selling points for the platform.
There is no question in the fact that an extra benefit of social technologies provided on the internet is that they are often free or need limited investment, eliminating a potential obstacle to adoption. Lots of internet service providers currently provide information to navigate with the internet free. There have been different overviews and opinions which acknowledged four significant benefits of social media use in education. These consist of, improving relationship, enhancing learning motivation, providing personalized course material, and establishing collective capabilities. This implies that social networking activities have the opportunity of improving student contact and is used to enhance their involvement in class, especially where introverted students are involved. Students can operate in online group learning, with much less or no anxiety of needing to raise questions before peers at school. This amazing advancement has assisted students in addition to academic researchers to have the unlimited access to information with the internet and social media to advance knowledge.
However, as long as the Twitter has helped to make access to information very easy, it will not be an overstatement to claim that there are unfavorable risks it presents to the individuals. It has been observed that as long as there are gains in Twitter as a social networking site, there are likewise pains. Students and researchers have the chance to either tap the gains in social media or the pains in pursuit of knowledge. This study is a critical assessment of the influence of Twitter Ban in Nigeria on academic performance of students in tertiary institution students.
Students today have begun to depend on the accessibility of information that is available on the social media sites particularly as well as the web generally so as to get answer. This implies that there is a reduced focus on learning in addition to on retaining information. Additionally, students are trying to multi-task. They are attempting to check different social media sites why they study. This results in a reduced academic performance. Besides, their capacity to focus on their task at hand get significantly reduced as a result of the distractions that is caused by all these social networks sites. The other unfavorable impact on students is that they are spending excessive time on social sites and minimal time on socializing in person. As a matter of fact, there is a lack of body signals besides other non-verbal cues, consisting of tone and inflections in the instance of social media. Therefore, they cannot be considered as an appropriate substitute for any face to face communication. Not just are these, students who are spending a great deal of time on these social media platforms, unable to communicate in person in an effective way. These social media platforms have become so popular in short time since the information gets published in a rapid way. This has really created a lax mindset for using appropriate spelling along with grammar. As a matter of fact, the students are not able to write properly without the help of the check feature of a computer.
Armstrong (2012), stated that the kind of anonymity that is available online has made lots of students fail to remember that they have to filter any information that they post. Armstrong (2012), further disclosed that lots of colleges along with potential employers have the tendency to investigate the social networking profiles on an applicant before they give any approval or an interview. There are lots of students who are not regularly reviewing the content which they are publishing online. All these are also part of the reasons for the ban of Twitter in Nigeria in 2021. This study will for that reason seek to assess the influence of Twitter ban in Nigeria on academic performance of students.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Social media like Twitter that students are more exposed to and the influence of social media as means of communication between students have become part of discussion in present times and which have reflected on their academic performance adversely. Nevertheless, regardless of how small, there are some gains in the sites as well if genuinely approached. Rather than students reviewing their books, they invest their time chatting and making friends, sharing obscene materials through the social networks and this may certainly have unfavorable impact on their academic performance, since when you do not read, there is no chance you can do well academically. It is a natural phenomenon to see a student chatting in sensitive and very orderly places like church, mosque and classroom environments. Some are so engrossed with their mobile phones that even as they are walking along the highway, they keep chatting and operating their phones, the situation that has made some to lose their lives after they are hit by vehicles, motorcycles or smashed by trains. The scenario had also made the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to prohibit using mobile phone while driving due to its danger to life as lots of drivers have lost their lives and also wasted the lives of their passengers and other road users as a result of using their phones while thy are behind the wheel.
The use of social media sites has been a major stay in the minds of students and the world at large thus causing a great deal of issue to teachers, educational administrators and government at large. It is consequently of great significance to explore a few of the trending problems facing students' academic performance as a result of social media. Students in all levels of learning currently have shifted attention to studies, as a result of available opportunities to be harnessed from social networks. Whether these opportunities promote studies or otherwise, is an inquiry that needs an answer. Therefore, the impact of social networking sites on students' academic performance need to not be treated with levity as education is the foundation for all development and technological innovation. The study, therefore, investigates assess the influence of Twitter ban in Nigeria on academic performance of students.
1.3 Research Objectives
The main objective of this study is to examine the influence of Twitter ban in Nigeria on academic performance of students. However, the specific objectives include:
- To examine the reasons for the ban of twitter in Nigeria
- To understand the level of students’ addictiveness to Twitter and the effect on their academic performance.
- To determine if undergraduates actually use Twitter as social networking site to gather academic related information, social related information or information that corrupts their mind and divert their attention from studies.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were raised to guide the study:
- What are the reasons for the ban of twitter in Nigeria?
- What is the level of students’ addictiveness to Twitter and the effect on their academic performance?
- Do undergraduates actually use Twitter as social networking site to gather academic related information, social related information or information that corrupts their mind and divert their attention from studies?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses shall guide this study:
i) There is a significant correlation between the level of students’ addictiveness to Twitter and the effect on their academic performance
ii) There is no significant correlation between undergraduates’ use of Twitter as social networking site to gather academic related information, social related information or information that corrupts their mind and divert their attention from studies.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings from this study will be relevant to all the arms of the government and to the citizens of Nigeria. Theoretically and empirically, the study will enlighten the arms of the government, especially the judiciary, on the need to re-assess the current restriction/ban on the Twitter platform, having in mind that internet freedom is important. As a result, all restrictions must be based on clear, specific, and easily accessible statute law. Those regulatory authorities applying the laws restricting freedom of expression on social media must be entirely independent, accountable and with adequate safeguards in place to avoid arbitrariness. Furthermore, the study will contribute to the body of knowledge, serve as a reference material, and be extremely beneficial to students and researchers who may be interested in gathering or conducting studies related to the topic under study.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study is on the influence of Twitter Ban in Nigeria on academic performance of students on campus. The study will therefore be limited to the students of the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The following factors poses to be a limitation during the course of this research
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
1.9 Definition of Terms
The following words were used in the process of carrying out this study:
Twitter: Twitter is an American micro-blogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”. Registered users can post, like, and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read them.
Twitter Ban: this is the authoritative pause in the operation of twitter as mandated by the Federal government of Nigeria on June 5th 2021 until the owners of the social network meet the newly established requirement given to them by the government of Nigeria.
Social media: It basically, concerns all forms of new media technology that offers interactive sharing of information, videos, pictures, text and comments with such websites as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin, Youtube and Blogs.