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The study examined the influence of social networking on students’ academic performance in Economics in Secondary Schools in Ezza North Local Government Area. The Specific purposes were set to ascertain the influence of social networking sites on students’ reading habit in Economics, to determine the influence of social networking sites on students’ knowledge of Economics and to determine the influence of social networking on students’ academic performance in Economics. Three research questions were formulated in line with the research purposes. The descriptive survey design was adopted. The population of study consisted of the 230 teachers of the 12 government secondary schools in Ezza North Local Government Area. A sample of 180 teachers was selected using the simple random sampling technique. Instrument for data collection was the questionnaire. The instrument for data analysis was the mean and standard deviation. The findings of the study showed that social networking influence students’ reading habit in Economics in secondary schools in Ezza North Local Government Area. Social networking influence students’ knowledge of Economics in secondary schools in Ezza North Local Government Area. Social networking influence students’ examination scores in Economics in secondary schools in Ezza North Local Government Area. From the findings, it was recommended that teachers should monitor the students’ works diligently and encourage students to read harder, interactive social networks should be properly monitored for teaching and learning and that schools should ban students’ use of social networking gadgets during school hours.
1.1 Background to the Study
Robbins (1932) in his scarcity definition of Economics sees economics as a science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which has alternative uses. Smith (1776) offered a classical definition of economics when he described economics in terms of “wealth”. Smith, the great Scottish economist following the mercantilist tradition viewed economics in terms of “inquiry into nature and causes of the wealth of a nation”. Another great economist, Marshall (1890) offered a welfare definition of economics when he deviated from the classical view and opined that economics is the study of men in the ordinary business of life. The researcher sees economics as the rational allocation of scarce resources to satisfy human wants. The present study seeks to examine the role of social networking sites on students’ academic performance in economics as a discipline.
In the last decade, the online world has changed dramatically; young men and women now exchange ideas, feelings, personal information, pictures and videos at a truly astonishing rate. According to Oberst (2010) Seventy-three percent of wired American teens now use social media websites. Martins (2008) and Lusk (2010) share the same concept of social media. To them social media is the use of Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, My Space and LinkedIn for the purpose of communication and sharing of photos as well as videos. In Nigeria, Adeboye (2012) and Asemah and Edegoh (2012) view social network as a social structure made up of individuals or organizations called “nodes”, which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige. Social network can also be referred to as a map of specified ties, such as friendship, between these nodes. For the purpose of this study, social network, used interchangeably as social media is captured within the use of internet through Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Skype, MySpace as well as Yahoo Messenger for communication sharing of ideas, sharing of photos and videos by users. The increased use of Social Networking Websites has become an international phenomenon in the past several years. What started as a hobby for some computer literate people has become a social norm and way of life for people from all over the world. According to Boyd (2007), Teenagers and young adults have especially embraced these social networking sites as a way to connect with their peers, share information, reinvent their personalities, and showcase their social lives.
Most of the members of these social network sites are young people who are still in school. Al-Rahma and Othman (2013) asserts that there is no doubt that social media has gained wider acceptability and usability and is also becoming the most important communication tools among students. A large percentage of teenagers in Nigeria spend their time online either using smart phones or their computers and other handheld gadgets such as ipads and tablets browsing these social networking sites. Students in all levels of education seize every opportunity they get to access social networking sites to check on status on Facebook and what is trending on Twitter. Teenagers have learnt to multitask as they switch from one Social networking site to another.
The world today celebrates the improvement in communication technology which has broadened the scope of communication through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Ufuophu and Ayobami (2012) observe that the ICTs include internet, satellite, cable data transmission and computer assisted equipment. Social network is a social structure made up of individuals or organizations called “nodes”, which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislikes, sexual relationships or religious beliefs.
Boyd and Ellison (2007) views Social networking sites as web-based services that allows 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. Social networking sites include: Yahoo Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Blackberry Messenger (BBM), Google talk, Google +Messenger, iPhone, Androids and so on. These networking sites are used by most people to interact with old and new friends and physical or internet friends. Martins (2008) suggests that social media refers to Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, Twitter, MySpace or LinkedIn. He maintains that among these, Facebook is the most used social network by college students, followed by YouTube and Twitter.
Stollak, Vandenberg, Burklund, and Weiss (2011) notes that Social networking among secondary school students has become more and more popular, over the years, because it is a way to make connections between friends within and outside the school. Due to this popularity, people begin to ask questions whether the performance of students are being affected by how much time students spent on various sites of social networking. Social networking became popular from the year 2005, after Facebook and other social networking sites were created. The most successful and largest social networking site is the Facebook which comprises more than 500 million active members in July, 2010. Its members are multiplying greatly with each day passing.
The expansion in technology has also affected internet software, thus leading to chatting sites known by the name “social media”. With social networking sites, one can send and receive messages almost immediately. However, lack of regulation of the internet has led to its excessive use. McQuail (2008) states that the internet penetrates more homes. It is a common sight to see a youth chatting in sensitive and highly organized places like church, mosque and lecture venues. Some are so carried away that even as they are walking along the high way, they keep chatting.
The manufacturing and distribution of equally sophisticated cellular phones has complicated the situation, as youths 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. This phenomenon has become a source of worry to many who believe in knowledge and skill acquisition which led to a shift in attention from the use of social networking sites to its influence on students’ academic performance.
Tuckman (1975) defined performance as the apparent demonstration of understanding, concepts, skills, ideas and knowledge of a person and proposed that grades clearly depict the academic performance of a student. Hence, their academic performance must be managed efficiently keeping in view all the factors that can positively or negatively affect their educational performance. Use of technology such as internet is one of the most important factors that can influence educational performance of students positively or adversely. Shah (2011) proposed that student users are affected by the internet and this impact is determined by the type of internet usage. There are certain factors that influence the relationship between social media and academic performance such as how long students use social networking sites and the time of the day they use these sites the most. A handful of studies have discussed the relationship between these variables internationally as well as in Nigeria.
A research done by Madge, Meek, Wellens and Hooley (2009) shows negative relationship between Facebook and the academic performance of students. However, the study didn’t focus on which students were using Facebook and what time of the day they used it the most. Moreover, the sample used for the study was homogenous thereby restricting their research findings. Whereas according to Pasek, More and Hargittai (2009) the use of Facebook has a positive relationship with academic performance. According to their research, the students with higher grades tend to spend more of their time on Facebook. On the other hand, Paul, Baker and Cochran (2012) suggested that a negative relationship exists between time spent by students on social networking sites and their academic achievements. These inconsistencies amongst researchers has deemed it fit that the present study contribute to the body of literature by examining the influence of social networking on students’ academic performance in economics in secondary schools in Ezza North Local Government Area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The rapid advancement of media technology has great impact on the way people communicate on daily basis. The growing dimension of the use of social media among youth today cannot be over emphasized. Over the years, social networking among students has become more and more popular. It is a way to make connections, not only on campus but with friends outside of school. Social networking is a way that helps people feel they belong to a community but due to the increased popularity of the social networking sites, academicians are however questioning whether grades of students will not be affected by their use of these sites.
Jacobsen and Forste, (2011), MehMood and Taswir, (2013), believed that the use of technology such as internet is one of the most important factors that can influence educational performance of students positively or adversely. Many parents and guardians are worried that students are spending too much time on Facebook and other social media sites and have not enough time to study. Though parents are worried about students’ constant use of the social media sites, many students continue to utilize these sites on a daily basis. It is against this background that this research is being conducted to ascertain the influence of social networking on students’ academic performance in economics.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to examine the influence of social networking on students’ academic performance in Economics in Secondary Schools in Ezza North Local Government Area.
The Specific purposes of the study are:
1. To ascertain the influence of social networking sites on students’ reading habit in Economics in secondary schools in Ezza North Local Government Area.
2. To determine the influence of social networking sites on students’ knowledge of Economics in secondary schools in Ezza North Local Government Area.
3. To determine the influence of social networking sites on students’ examination scores in Economics in secondary schools in Ezza North Local Government Area.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The findings of the study will be of immense benefit to school authorities, parents, the researcher and future researchers.
The school authorities: the findings of the study will be of great benefit to secondary school authorities because it will enlighten them on the need to properly regulate the students’ use of internet gadgets and social networking sites in the school.
The parents: the findings of the study will as well enlighten the parents to monitor their children and regulate their use of social networking sites at home.
The Researcher: this study will widen the academic horizon and intellectual capacity of the researcher.
Future Researchers: This study when completed, will serve as a guide to researchers who may wish to conduct a study on this topic or similar topics in future.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The study examines the influence of social networking on students’ academic performance in Economics in Secondary Schools in Ezza North Local Government Area. The content scope is social networking and students’ academic performance. The geographical scope is Ezza North Local Government Area.
1.6 Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
1. How do social networking sites influence students’ reading habit in Economics in secondary schools in Ezza North Local Government Area?
2. How do using social networking sites influence students’ knowledge of Economics in secondary schools in Ezza North Local Government Area?
3. How does use of social networking sites influence students’ academic examination scores in Economics in secondary schools in Ezza North Local Government Area?
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