THE EFFECTS OF SOCIAL NETWORKING ON STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE: A CASE STUDY OF STUDENTS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CALABAR
1.1 Background to the Study
Communication has become easy since the introduction of Social Networking sites. Communicating with friends and family has been easy once one has access to the internet. The internet has given us the ability to connect with people from around the world and with a few clicks of a button, one can easily exchange information with people.
Social Networking sites (SNSs) such as Myspace, Facebook, Youtube, Skype, Twitter, Whatsapp, 2go, and so forth have attracted millions of users, many of whom have integrated these sites into their daily practices.
Social Networking began in 1978 with the Bulletin Board System (BBS), (google.com). The BBS was hosted on personal computers requiring that users dial in through the modem of the host computer, exchanging information over phone lines with other users. This was the first system that allowed users to sign in and interact with each other, although it was quite slow since only one user could be logged in at a time.
The first meaningful Social Network site is Six Degrees. com (google.com). It was launched in 1997, it was the first Social Network site that allowed users to create profiles, and list their friends and in 1998 surf the friend’s list.
Social Networks have become a global phenomenon and attracted extensive population from all around the world in different ages, cultures, educational levels, etcetera. In addition to routinely checking emails, reading daily forums and Newspapers or following instant message tools.
Social Networking generally tends to help one keep in touch with friends, maintain relationships, make new friends, build groups with people around the environment or even join new groups with people they share interest or needs.
Due to the rapid increase in Social Networking sites, populating by 2005 it was reported that Myspace was getting more page views than Google, Facebook launched in 2004 became the largest Social Networking site in the world in early 2009. Facebook was first introduced in (2004) as a Harvard Social Network (Cassidy 2006).
This research work will basically look at the effects of Social Networking on students’ performance in the University of Calabar. The University of Calabar, with the acronym UNICAL is a University situated in Calabar, Cross River State, Southern Nigeria. It is one of Nigeria’s second generation Universities. The University of Calabar was a Campus of the University of Nigeria until 1975. It was established by decree to fulfill its tradition and its motto which is “knowledge for service”. The male students are known as ‘Malabites’ while the female students are ‘Malabresses’. The University has the following Faculties:
1. The College of Medical Sciences
2. Faculty of Management Sciences
3. Faculty of Education
4. Faculty of Social Science
5. Faculty of Arts
6. Institute of Public Policy and Administration
7. Faculty of Law
8. Faculty of Science
9. Faculty of Agriculture
10. Institute of Oceanography
11. Graduate School
12. University of Calabar Consultancy Services.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There has been some controversy for sometime about the effectiveness of Social Networking on students’ academic performance. Since the evolution of Social Networking sites, parents and educators have shown great interests on its effects on students’ performance. In a school like the University of Calabar, where Social Networking has attained great heights, there is a belief that most students use the time they are supposed to read to chat online. Moreover, there is a feeling that because of too much involvement on Social Networking by students, they find it difficult to concentrate on their studies.
Based on the different views on the effects of Social Networking, the need for an effective study of Social Network is relevant as a strategy for effective and efficient analysis of its social impact on students’ academic performance.
1.3 Objectives of the study
Ø To investigate the degree of Social Network usage by students in the University of Calabar.
Ø To ascertain the effectiveness of Social Networks on students performance.
Ø To investigate the roles Social Networks play on students.
Ø To study why students communicate through Social Networks.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions are formulated for this study. It is necessary that certain questions should be asked in this study in order to get results.
1. Is Social Networking taking the study time of students in the University of Calabar?
2. What are the effects of Social Networks on the students?
3. Is this era of Social Networking better than before when there was no networking sites?
1.5 Scope of the study
This study is mainly concerned with Social Networking sites and its usage among the students of University of Calabar. The study will try to explain the effects whether negative or positive.
1.6 Significance of the study
This study hopes to be significant in a number of ways. The study will reveal the effectiveness of Social Networking on students’ performance in the University of Calabar. It will help students, educators, parents and others to understand the roles of Social Networking among students.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms.
Social: Relating to or involving activities in which people spend time talking to one another, it can also be seen as a connection with activities in which people meet one another for pleasures.
Networking: It is the practice of linking two or more computing devices together for the purpose of sharing data and information.
Social Networks: It is a platform to build and establish relations among people, who for example share interests, activities, backgrounds or real life connection.
Social Networking Sites (SNSs): It is a phrase used to describe any website that enables users to create public profiles within that Websites and form relationships with other users of the same website who access their profile.
Effects: It is a change that occurs in somebody or something as a result of something or somebody else.
Student: Is a learner who attends an educational institution.
Academic Performance: It is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals.
Information: It is a fact, details about somebody or something, or a knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance.
Communication: It is the act or process of using words, sounds, signs or behaviours to express or exchange information or to express yourself.
Evolution: It is the gradual development of something from simple to a more complex form.