SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS CHALLENGES TO EDUCATION:  A SOCIOLOGICAL OVERVIEW

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS CHALLENGES TO EDUCATION:  A SOCIOLOGICAL OVERVIEW

 

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS CHALLENGES TO EDUCATION:

 A SOCIOLOGICAL OVERVIEW

 

VAREBA, PATRICK GIOBARI

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS

FACULTY OF EDUCATION, IGNATIUS AJURU UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION,

RUMUOLUMENI, RIVERS STATE.

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Abstract

This study focused on social media and its challenges to education: A sociological overview. Five objectives and five research questions guided the study. The study adopted the descriptive survey design. The population of the study is 37,499 students of University of Port Harcourt. The sample size is 399 obtained using Taro Yamane’s sample calculation formula. Questionnaire was the instrument used for data collection.  Mean statistical tool was used in analysing the data. At the end of the analysis, it was found that challenges to education are posed by social media sites, addiction to social media, colloquial (coded words) used in text messages, over reliance on Google and over dependence on social media for accessing information. Consequently, it was recommended among other things that parents should advice their children; the government should make polices to regulate the use of social media.

Key words: Social Media, Challenges, Education, Sociological overview

 

Introduction

          Education has been identified as important factor of development hence nations are investing on it. In the same vein, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has emerged and is playing vital role in societal development. The emergence of ICT gave rise to social media. Kietzmann (2012, P. 244) explains social media as “the means that adopts the use of mobile and web technology to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and community share, co-create, discuss and modifies user-generated content.

          Considering the meaning of social media above, it is obvious that education would be enhanced through it. Consequent upon that, parents provided digital gadgets such as laptops or Smartphone for their children in institutions of learning. There are several social networking sites in existence such as Facebook, Instagram, Google +, Skype, YouTube, WhatsApp, Telegram and others. These social networking sites can be used for education purposes which would not only ease the process of learning but enhance improved academic performance of students in school.

          However, it is uncertain whether social media poses challenge to education irrespective of its positive prospects. It is based on this premise that the researcher embarked on this noble topic.

Statement of the Problem

          The emergence of social media is a welcome development as it is expected to impact positively on education. Unfortunately, rather than improvement, students academic performance is still poor. Some students perform poorly in both class assignments and examinations. The situation is so bad that students perform so poorly in spelling simple words. Worse still, it is rare to see students read textbooks and do intensive research. What could be responsible for all these? Could it be that the students do not use social media judiciously? This remains a source of worry hence this study.

 

Aim and Objectives of the Study

          The aim of the study is to examine social media and its challenges to education: A sociological overview. Specifically, the objectives of the study is:

1.       To find out whether some popular social media sites pose challenge to education.

2.      To determine whether social media addiction negatively affects students academic performance.

3.       To ascertain whether students’ use of colloquial words in sending text messages affect their education.

4.       To investigate whether students’ use of Google + reduces their zeal for reading text books which tends to limit information.

5.       To find out whether over dependence on accessing information on social media reduces students ability to retain what is learnt

Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to enhance the achievement of the study objectives thus:

1.       To what extent do some popular social media sites pose challenges to education?

2.       What extent does social media addiction negatively affect students academic performance?

3.       What extent does students’ use of colloquial words in text messages affect their education?

4.       To what extent does students’ use of Google+ reduce zeal for reading textbooks and limit information?

5.       To what extent does students’ over dependence on accessing information on social media reduce their ability to retain what has been learnt?

Significance of the Study

The study is salient and would be beneficial to the students, teachers, parents as well as policy makers.

On the part of the parents, the study would make them realize that the much time their wards spent on social media is not the best for them. Parents would check the excesses of their wards and advice them from time to time.

The study would make students to know that chatting every time on social media or becoming addicted to social media has so many disadvantages which could affect their educational performance or achievement.

Also the teacher on seeing that students use colloquial words or letters in class assignments and examinations would realize the enormity of damage caused by social media usage. The teacher would therefore develop methods or strategies of helping the students out of the predicament.

The policy makers will also find this study useful. It would enable them know the situation of things especially the challenges social media is posing on education and come up with policies that would mitigate it.

Review of Related Literature

Conceptual Framework

Some Popular Social Media Sites

          Several social media sites exist. More than sixty media sites are operational in the world. This is a technological advance and it has impacted on education not only positively but also negatively. Jamie (2017) has made a statistical study of this trend and with an estimated numbers of monthly subscribers to each of the social media sites as follows:

Facebook 1. 59 billion; WhatsApp 1 billion, Twitter 320 million, Instagram 400 million, Google 300 million, Snapchat 200 million, Pinterest 100 million, Linkedln 100 million, Telegram 100 million, Skype 300 million, You Tube, Classmates, Ozone 640 million, Tumbler 555 million.

Social Media Addiction and its Impact on Education

Social networking sites focus more on establishing online communities with common interests and activities. It can also help students develop leadership skills from low-level planning and organizing to activities that engender social change. Social media sites and tools encourage students to engage with each other and to express and share their creativity. Such personal interactions are vital to creating and sustaining a sense of belonging. The foregoing positive implications notwithstanding, some negative implications of social media/social networking site also exist. For example, accessing of networking  site may create an eyesight problem, back pain because of sitting in same position for long hours and many more (Raut, Patil and Patil, 2016)

          In spite of the above, the absence of regulation of the internet has brought about its excessive use. Internet has infiltrated homes which has also transcended into the society. It is a common experience to see youths chatting in very sensitive and highly organized places like lecture rooms, churches and mosques. Some are most times carried away that they could even chatt as they are walking along the high way (McQuail, 2008). Similarly, Olubiyi (2012) observed that today’s students are so addicted to social media that they almost send 24 hours online. Classrooms and lecture auditoria are not left out. It has been noted that some students are always busy 2going, pinging, or Face-booking while lectures are going on. The periods of time that would have been spent on learning, embarking on academic research and innovations are wasted on meeting new friends on social media and most times busy discussing irrelevant issues. This results in most students academic low performance especially due to distraction and disturbance from social media.

Use of Colloquial Words in Test Massages

          The use of colloquial words or letters in doing text messages is becoming rampant and it affects the use fo English and grammar. Students are used to short forms of writing words in their chat platform. Without remembering, they use the same short words or letter in the class works and assignments. They use things like ‘4’ in place of for, ‘D’ in place of the, ‘U’  in place of you, etc and this invariably affect their score/grade in class assessment. The mass production and distribution  of sophisticated cellular phones has caused more harm, as students no longer need to visit a cybercafé before they send and receive messages. Attention has been shifted from visible to invisible friends, while important ventures like study and writing are affected in the process (Obi, Bulus, Adamu & Sala’at, (2012).

Students Use of Google and Reduction of Zeal for Reading Textbooks

          Academics is a venture or career that only the serious students or candidates become successful. It is not for people or students who are not committed to their studies. The advent of social media has resulted in advancement in technology and expansion in internet software which has made people raise eyebrow among academics on the issue of social media impact on studies and educational advancement. Google has become the medium through which people learn or find out what they are ignorant of. This finding is usually small because Google does not give information in much detail as textbooks do. Students hardly buy books, like dictionary or encyclopedia. Due to over reliance of Google hence reading textbooks is reduced and this tends to limit information.

          While it was impossible to come up with answers to question without consulting a book or scribbling down one’s own thought in the past, search engines such as Google are the preferred  places in the era of Smartphone. Nowadays teenagers and students appreciate the convenience of knowledge at their finger tips –asking Google to provide information on any kind of question. The unanswered question is does Google actually support the learning process or does the overload of information distract the brain in the long run?

Accessibility of Information on Social Media and Students Retention of Information

Many students rely on the accessibility of information on social media and the web to provide information. Students ability to retain information has decreased, and the willingness to spend more time researching and looking for good information has reduced due to the fact that we got used to the ease of accessibility to information on social media (Ovodo, 2018).

          Some researchers use examples from the past to argue that the easy access to information supports our brain and gives us the chance to concentrate on other skills such as creativity. Steve Pinker, a Harvard Psychology professor, once argued that the Internet and technological advancement are the only solutions to keep human beings smart. His article in the New York Times focused on the positive effects of newspapers and television which were also highly criticized for increasing human stupidity during the time of their emergence. (Ovodo, 2018)

 

Theoretical Framework

          The study made use of Social learning theory. The social learning theory was developed or propounded by Albert Bandura in 1925. The social learning theory holds that learning occurs through the processes of observation and imitation, hence often called observation or imitation learning. Imitation is synonymous with modeling Social learning can occur through different forms of modeling. We can imitate or learn by observing our parents, friends or peers, filmed or moving pictures in television, listening to radios and audio tape-recorded and by reading words. Bandura believes that behavior is often specific to situations and is importantly shaped by learning principles. As social media and its various forms have gradually intruded into most households, social learning theories have identified the influence of media in shaping the social behavior of adolescent and children. Social networking sites are virtual world, for the internet users. Spending so much time in the virtual worlds affect the academic learning abilities of young minds and the behavior of these youths (Nwankwo, 1996; Vikoo, 2013).

Review of Empirical Studies

          Mehmood and Taswir (2013) studied the effects of social networking sites on the academic performance of students in College of Applied Science, Nizwa, Oman. The study found that students use social media for downloading/uploading music/video, posting photos, chatting, blogging, creating polls/quizzes, submitting articles to website and communication with teachers/class. While the first three are basically for entertainment purposes, the last three, however, are for academic purposes. It was also found that social networking sites were used by students for entertainment mostly and less for educational purposes.

Research Methodology

Research Design

          The research design adopted for this study is descriptive survey design

Population of the Study

          The population for this study consisted of about thirty seven thousand, four hundred and ninety nine (37,499), students in the University of Port Harcourt.

Sample and Sampling Technique

          In order to determine the sample size, Taro Yamane’s sample calculation formula was applied. The result (sample size) is 399 students. Stratified random sampling was adopted and subsequently simple random sampling by balloting was used to arrive at the aforementioned sample size.

Instrument for Data Collection

          The instrument used for data collection was questionnaire. The questionnaire is divided into two parts. Part ‘A’ is for biodata while Part ‘B’ elicits information bothering on the research questions. It also has a response options of Very High Extent (VHE), High Extent (HE), Low Extent (LE) and Very Low Extent (VLE).

 

 

Validity of the Instrument

          A draft copy of the instrument was given to a Test and Measurement specialist for vetting. His comments and corrections were later effected and sent back again for his approval.

Reliability of the Instrument

          The reliability of the instrument was determined through test retest method. The instrument was administered to 20 students of Rivers State University Nkpolu Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt and the results (scores) kept. After two weeks, the same instrument was administered again to the same students. The scores of the two tests were then correlated using Pearson Product Moment Correlation which gave a reliability coefficient of 0.81. To this end, the instrument is adjudged reliable.

Procedure for Data Collection

          The instruments were administered by the researcher and were retrieved immediately with the aid of two research assistants.

Method of Data Analysis

          Mean  ( ) statistical tool was used to answer the research questions.

Results and Discussions

Research Question One:

          To what extent do some popular social media sites pose challenges to education?

 

Table 1:  Mean score analysis of the extent some popular social media sites pose challenges to education if wrongly used.

S/N

ITEMS

VHE

HE

LE

VLE

TWS

DECISION

1

Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, Instragram are popular social media sites

156

184

29

30

1,264

3.73

High Extent

2

Tumbler Telegram, Snapchat, Skype, YouTube, Ozone, Pinterest are also among popular social media sites

144

190

43

22

1,254

3.14

High Extent

3

The above listed social media sites pose challenges to education if wrongly used.

137

141

76

45

1168

2.93

High Extent

 

Grand mean                                                                                 3.27

Table 1 above shows grand mean of 3.27. Since the grand mean is greater than the criterion mean of 2.50 we therefore conclude that some popular social media sites if wrongly used pose challenge to education

[Research Question 2: What extent does social media addiction negatively affect students academic performance?

Table 2: Mean score analysis of the extent social media addiction negatively affect students academic performance

S/N

ITEMS

VHE

HE

LE

VLE

TWS

DECISION

4

Eyesight problem caused by excessive use of social media affects students academic performance

122

145

57

75

1,112

2.79

Moderate  

5

Students addiction to social media to the extent of chatting while lectures are going on can affect their academic performance

138

194

46

21

1,247

3.13

High Extent

6

Sending almost 24 hour online can negatively affect academic performance

97

191

58

53

1,130

2.83

Moderate

 

Grand mean                                                                               2.92

 

From Table 2 above, the grand mean is 2.92. Since the grand mean is above the criterion mean of 2.50, we therefore infer that social media addiction negatively affect students academic performance.

Research Question 3:  What extent does students use of colloquial words in text messages affect their education

Table 3: Mean Score Analysis of the Extent Students use of Colloquial Words in Text Message Affect their Education

S/N

ITEMS

VHE

HE

LE

VLE

TWS

DECISION

7

Students are used to short forms of writing words in their chat platforms

165

181

29

24

1,285

3.22

High Extent

8

Students use things like 4 in place of for U in place of you and this cause them forget how to spell

107

204

50

38

1,178

2.95

High Extent

9

Unconsciously, students use those short forms of writing words in class assignments and examination

94

196

61

48

1,134

2.84

Moderate Extent

 

Grand mean                                                                              3.00

 

Table 3 above shows grand mean of  3.00 which is above 2.50 criterion mean. To this end we infer that students’ use of short forms of writing words in text messages affect their  education.

Research Question 4: To what extent does students’ use of Google + reduce zeal for reading textbooks thereby limiting information

 

Table 4: Mean Score Analysis of the Extent students’ use of Google + reduce their zeal for reading textbooks thereby limiting information.

 S/N

ITEMS

VHE

HE

LE

VLE

TWS

DECISION

10

Information from Google is not as detailed as textbooks and this can negatively affect students academic performance

118

176

44

61

1,149

2.88

moderate Extent

11

Due to Google search some students hardly buy textbooks for reading

152

113

72

52

1,183

2.96

High Extent

12

Due to reliance on Google, reading books has reduced and this tends to limit information

195

158

29

37

1,269

3.18

High extent

 

Grand mean                                                                              3.01

 

From Table 4 above, the grand mean shows 3.01 whereas the criterion mean is 2.50. Since the grand mean is above the criterion mean, we infer that students’ use of Google reduces zeal for reading textbooks thereby limiting information.

Research Question 5: To what extent does students overdependence on accessing information on social media reduce their ability to retain what has been learnt?

Table 5: Mean Score analysis of the extent students’ overdependence on accessing information on social media reduce their ability to retain what has been learnt.

 

 

S/N

ITEMS

VHE

HE

LE

VLE

TWS

DECISION

13

Due to provisions of social media, students’ willingness to spend time researching is reduced

85

194

53

67

1,095

2.74

moderate Extent

14

Students ability to retain information has decreased due to such social media sites like Google

143

151

63

42

1,193

2.99

Moderate extent

15

Other relevant information usually got in course of research is lost due to overdependence on social media

100

186

55

58

1,126

2.82

Moderate

 

Grand mean                                                                              2.85

 

Table 5 above shows  grand mean of 2.85 whereas the criterion mean is 2.50. Since the calculated grand mean is above the criterion mean, we infer that students’ overdependence on social media for accessing information reduces their retentive ability.

Discussion of Findings

          The findings of the study show that social media sites pose challenge to education. The above finding is given credence by Adomi and Ejirefe (2012) as they  posited that majority of students use face book for connecting friends, relatives while others also as a platform for keeping in touch with acquaintance with the effect that reading habit is discouraged among students.

          The study also found that social media addiction is a challenge to education. This finding is in line with Olubiyi (2012) who observed that today’s students are addicted to social media that they almost spend 24 hours online.

          Another finding of the study is that students’ use of short forms of words in text messages such as 2morow in place of tomorrow, n in place of and etc. All these affect the students written English because some of them use the same short form of writing in class assignments and examination.

          Furthermore, the study reveals that the access to information through Google affects students zeal  for reading textbooks and this limits information. Besides, Google does not provide detailed information about certain concepts as much as textbooks do. Lastly, over-dependence on social media for information reduces the ability to retain what has been learnt.

Conclusion

          Based on the results and discussions, the study concludes that some popular media sites, addiction to social media, students use of coded words in text messages negatively affect education. Also over dependence on Google reduces zeal for reading textbooks which tends to limit information, and reliance on social media for accessing information reduces memory retention ability.

Recommendations

          Consequent upon the conclusion above, recommendations were made as follows:

1.       Parents should advice their children on the disadvantages of excessive usage of social media .

2.       The school management should establish sessions for students to educate them on how to manage their time in lieu of becoming addicted to social media

3.       The government should make  policies to regulate the use of social media

4.       National Orientation Agency should rise up to the occasion by engaging in public enlightenment on how to use social media

5.       Each student should learn to discipline himself/herself on social media usage.

 

 

REFERENCES

Adomi, E.E. & Ejirefe, L. (2012). Students experience with Facebook in a Nigerian Library and information science school . Nigerian libraries  4(2), 75-83.

Jamie, F. (2017). 60 + social networking sites you need to know about. Retrieved 15/1/2022 from https://makeawebsitehub.com/social -media sites/

Kietzmann, H. (2012). Social media? Get serious understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons  5(4), 241-251.

Mchmood, S.& Taswir, t. (2013). The effects of social networking sites on academic performance of students in college of Applied science, Nizwa, Oman. International Journal of Arts and Commerce 2(1), 111-125.

McQuail, D. (2008). Mass communication theory  (5th ed.) Sage publishers.

Nwankwo, O.C. (1996). Psychology of learning: The human perspective. Ferdinco Printing Press.

Obi N.C., Bulus, L.D., Adamu, G.M. & Salla ‘a. A.B. (2012). The need for safety consciousness among youths on social networking sites. Journal of Applied Science and Management  14(1) 3-17.

Olubiyi, S. (2012). Social media and Nigeria youth burden. Retrieved 15/1/2022 from http://bluepringin.com/2012/12

Ovodo, O.C. (2018). The use of social media and undergraduates academic performance in university of Port Harcourt. Unpublished M.Ed Dissertation: University of Port Harcourt.

Raut, V., Patil, P. & Patil, D.Y. (2016). Use of social media in education. International Journal on Recent and Innovation Trends in Computing and Communications  4(1), 281-285.

Vikoo, B. (2013). Computers in educational research and development  (2nd ed.) Springfield Publishers

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