PARENTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKING ON THE CHILDREN OF DEMONSTRATION SECONDARY SCHOOL, AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY, ZARIA.

PARENTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKING ON THE CHILDREN OF DEMONSTRATION SECONDARY SCHOOL, AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY, ZARIA.

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ABSTRACT

This study sets out to determine Parents’ Perceptions of the Influence that Social media networking have on their Children with special focus on parents whose children attend Demonstration Secondary School Zaria. The study adopts descriptive Research design while survey was use as method of data collection and questionnaire was employ as instrument for data gathering. The research adopts simple percentage as method of data analysis. Of a total population of 1,974 parents of students in the senior secondary classes, 450 parents constitute the researcher’s sample size thereby representing the whole. This sample was picked using purposive sampling method. The study finds that parents had different perceptions of the influence that social media networking have on their children. The study goes on to show that, 76.7% of the respondents are computer literate. Even though most of the study population (84%) had access to the internet, only 46.6% are registered on one social media or the other. The study also shows that it is difficult to deny children access to the social media because advances in technology have made internet accessibility via mobile telephone possible. Findings show that parental monitoring is a mediating factor in supervising children’s activities online. The researcher therefore, recommends that parents should learn to create a conducive and communicative home environment were their children can feel at home to discuss online issues bothering them. The study further recommends that, parents, rather than stop their children from joining these networks, should be supportive of any effort towards educating them about the negative influence that the social media may have on them any time they visit their accounts. This is more so because children can neither be denied access to these social networks nor be stopped from joining them.

CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The advent of the internet has made today‟s web more than an electronic bulletin board, and the

days of using the internet as a mere one-way supplier of news, is over. With social media tools,

information can be exchanged back and forth (McCrea, 2010; Munkittrick, 2010; Wallace,

2006).

A social media networking website is an internet website containing profile web pages of

members that include their names or nicknames along with their photographs or any other

personal or personality identifying information placed on such pages and linked to other profile

web pages of friends or associates on the social networking websites. As such, members can be

accessed by other members or visitors to the websites. A social networking website provides

members and visitors to such website, the ability to leave messages or comments on the profile

web page that are visible to all or some visitors to the profile web page and may also include a

form of electronic mail for members of the networking site (Boyd & Nicole 2007).

According to Pro and Cons (2010:3), a social media network is defined as “an online services

platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relation

among people who share interests and/or activities. A social network essentially consists of a

representation of each user (often a profile), his/ her social links, and a variety of additional

services”. Examples of social media networks are; Face book, Twitter, 2go, MySpace and the

rest of them. In a broader sense, social networking means an individual or group-centred service

that allow users to share ideas, activities, events, and interest within their individual or group

networks.

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All over the world, people experience joy when they form new social attachments and react with

loneliness and despair when these bonds are broken. Previous research by media scholars show

that, people who have a network of family and friends are happier and healthier and live longer

than those who are more isolated. People need people, which are why social situations can have

such a profound effect on our thoughts, feelings, and behaviour (Kabakci, Ferham andAhmet,

2008).

For society to exist, certain communication needs have to be met. Such as; the ability to read and

write. Over the years, human beings have so explored and utilized communication that we now

live in a media age. Today, the mass media have become a persuasive part of our lives, possibly

because a combination of technological, economic and social factors have led to several media

that have pervaded contemporary society. These trends, among others, include the internet,

mobile phones and the social media. Indeed, mobile phones and social media have become so

prevalent that the world has virtually „shrunk‟ to what is termed a global village. Children now

use the social media networks to satisfy their communication needs. This is however, not without

some fears and challenges.

In ancient times, say some 200,000 years ago (Dominick, 2011), language developed and this led

to the development of oral culture - a culture that relied heavily on memory. As humans

developed, it became more and more difficult to rely on oral communication. Writing became the

next big development as the need to keep more detailed, permanent and accessible records arose.

Thus around 1450, printing developed and made the written word an important means of

communication. However, as printing and books became expensive and exclusive, technological

developments led to the era of the electronic media (Dominick, 2011). The telegraph,

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photography, radio, television, computer and the internet, all changed the way people

communicated with one another and the way information is stored and transmitted. Cell phones,

laptops and other mobile information devices have further widened the horizon of

communication.

Moreover, The United State Federal Trade Communication (2010) observed that children from

ages 13-17 are heavy users of digital technology and new media applications, including social

networking, mobile devices, instant messaging and file sharing. The online world has changed


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