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1.1    Background to the Study

Socialization is a lifelong process which continues as people changes jobs or roles and as society itself changes. It is an age long human activity which entails the relationship between human being and another in the environment in which they live (Haralambos, Holborn and Healed, 2008). Socialization has long been witnessed before the advent of new technologies which transformed socialization into a new system in the society.

            The transition to technological era brought about the advent of the internet as well as social media. The advancement in technology has made it easier for people especially the young people to have access to internet and thus social networking which they join in with friends (Ibrahim, 2012). Social media or networking has revolutionized the way social interaction takes place. It is a process by which people socialize online. Through it, people seek and enjoy the companionship of others online. It supports the sharing of information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.

            Social media according to Kaplan and Helen (2010) is defined as a group of internet based application that allows the creation and exchange of user generated content. In the same vein, Arshin (2010) referred to social networking sites as virtual places where people find themselves and share information. These social networking sites have an open membership. As soon as one opens an account and uploads his or her data on the profile pages, the person is entitled to create a network of friends. However, some social networking sites are specifically designed for mobile phones, some are accessed via computers and others could be accessed using both mobile phones and computers or other information communication technologies.

            These social networking sites are so numerous but a few would be mentioned, which include; 2go, facebook, whatsapp, blackberry messenger, e-buddy, orbit, friend wise, nimbuzz, myspace and so on. There are no limitations or restriction as to which social networking sites one should belong; one can be a member of as many as possible. While the social networking sites have the same key aspects, the cultures and responses around them that become apparent are varied. Most sites help strangers connect with others based on shared personal interests, political and economic views, or simply recreational activities. Some sites accommodate distinct viewers while others attract people based on similarities, such as common languages or shared racial, sexual, religious, or nationality-based identities. Nonetheless, social networking sites have only common goal. It is to encourage new ways to communicate and share information. It also provide great opportunities for members including secondary school students and Librarians who use it to promote the services of the library and also get first class information about their users through interacting with them. The students on the other hand benefit from some of the postings in some sites because some postings can be informative and educative and the students after reading such posts can comment on them.

            Some secondary school students have formed the habit of visiting different social networking sites that which have started influencing their overall attitude; academically, physically and socially.

            A student primary objective is the academics, especially at secondary school level because it is the stage of career building; therefore, the need to take their studies and reading much seriously cannot be over emphasized. Akintunde (2001) observed that the importance of developing a good reading habit by students cannot be overstated. As competence in reading enables learners to be successful and engage with the world beyond the classroom (Mabekoje 2011). He stressed further that developing a good reading habit broadens readers’ horizon; it is important for independent of other language skills, especially speaking and writing. The entire process of education and the development of literacy depend on printed words and reading is the crucial means through which student develops this literacy and the knowledge about is environment (Mabekoje 2009).

            Nevertheless, secondary schools that are offering government subject who supposed to use social media and social networking sites to promote and uplift their academic career through various social networking sites but reverse is the case, as these set of students are often being observed during school time in various hiding places either discussing social networks or browsing with their phones. Long (2012) postulated  that it is so common these days that many young people are addicted to social networking activities, abandoning homework and reading time in preference to chatting with friends, even at lectures times, many students are on phones engaging in one form of chatting or the other which can be quite distracting and loss of concentration most times.

            Social networking with its numerous benefits should not be allowed to drift away the minds of students where in lies the development of Nigeria. Reading empowers everyone, it prepares the mind for societal challenges, therefore, there is need to ensure it is back in line in order to develop and move the nation forward. Therefore, the main focus of this study is to investigate the influence of social media on secondary school students.

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 students is facing a sort of neglect and divided attention between social networking activities and their academic work. It is observed that students devote more attention to social media sites than they do to their studies.  

Therefore, this study is an effort to understand the possible impact this social media sites has on the students in relation to their academic performance in Government as a subject. This is the reason why the impact of social media on students’ academic performance in Government catches the researcher’s attention, more especially the fact that social media effect has not be empirically investigated on Government, particularly in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State, hence this study is an effort to fill the research gap.

1.2    Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of the study is to unravel the impact of social media on students’ academic performance in Government as a subject in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State, Nigeria.

The specific purposes of the study are to;

(i). find out the extent to which social media influences gender performance of students in Government

(ii). identify the most visited social networking sites by Government students

(iii). determine the students’ purpose for using the identified social media sites by Government students.

(iv). find out the amount of time Government students invest into social media sites

(v). identify the Information Communication Technologies mostly used by Government Students in secondary schools for social networking.

1.4 Research Questions

            The following research questions were formulated to guide this study;

(i). to what extent do the use of social media influence gender performance of students in Government?

(ii). which social networking sites Government students visit most?

(iii). what purposes do Government students use their chosen social media for?

(iv). what is the extent of time Government students invest into use of social media?

(v). which Information Communication Technologies do Government students mostly use to explore their social media

1.5 Research Hypotheses

            The following hypotheses are put forward to guide the researcher in his investigation. They are:

(i)     There will be no significant difference in the performance of male and female students in Government as a result of their use of social media

(ii)    There is no relationship between time spent on social media and academic performance of students in Government

(iii)    There is no relationship between the use of social media and excellent academic performance of students in Government.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study will be of immense benefits to Students, Parents, Guardians and School Teachers, Management and other Stakeholders in the education of the post primary school. Students who need to learn to manage and balance their time well so as to be great contributors to the development of the society.

1.7 Scope of the Study

             The scope of this study is on the impact of social media on students’ academic performance in government in Akure North Local Government of Ondo State, Nigeria. The researcher intends to cover student of secondary schools taking Government as a subject Akure North Local Government Area. The choice of this scope is to allow for in depth study. However, the research is still of the hope to give a reliable outcome.

1.8 Definition of Terms

(i) Social Media: They are forms of electronic communication which facilitate interactive based on certain interests. Social media include web and mobile technologies such as computers, G.S.M and mobile phones.

(ii) Social Networking: This is the use of internet to make information about yourself available to other people especially people you share an interest with. The essence of social networking is to share idea and exchange messages.

(iv)    Academic: It is the concerned with studying from books as opposed by a practical work.

(v)      Government: Government as a subject is taken by the Art Class students in Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria.

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