1.1 Background of study
According to Mahmood, Safdar and Gilani (2014) facebook is the most recent form of media, having many features and characteristics. It has many facilities on same channel such as communicating, texting, images sharing, audio and video sharing, fast publishing, linking with people all over the world and direct connecting. It is also the cheapest, fast access to every corners of the globe and it is very important for all age of peoples. Its use is increasing day by day with high rate around the world. Facebook are very popular means of public communication mostly among the youths all over the world currently. Youths are among the most prolific users of social networking site. Emerging studies found that youths spend a considerable portion of their daily life interacting through facebook and these have provided an open arena where the youths are free to exchange ideas and information concerning their social life and issues of importance.
Before the deregulation of the Nigeria telecommunication sector in I999, few Nigerians had access to computers while the lack of sufficient technological infrastructure such as the internet and mobile phones constrained communication within the society. However, with the deregulation of the telecommunication sector, social network spread like wide fire in Nigeria. Today, all classes of Nigerians now have unlimited access to the facebook.
This, of course, is not surprising as the digital age is widely believed to belong to the youth. The facebook commonly used in Nigeria include Facebook, twitter, and Yahoo messengers, BBM, Whatsapp, Twitter and Linkedln among others. They all offer their users unrestricted access to chat with friends, relations and other acquaintances. Started from Facebook followed by Twitter, social networking websites have become the vogue across the world, especially among the youth. Just a few clicks and you can chat with your friends and family, sitting at a different corner of the globe.
According to Andrew (2005), information travels over the internet through a variety of language known as portal. Communication allows people to connect with people they know in high school and colleges and enable them to meet others. Social network is a social structure made up of individual or organization called nodes; which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency such as friendship, kingship, common internet, financial exchange, social relationship or relationship of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.
According to Adeboye (20l2), the expansion in technology has also affected internet software thus leading to chatting sites known by the name, facebook. With facebook networking sites, one can send5receive message almost immediately. This is why Mcquail (2008) viewed that the internet penetrates more homes, it is a common sight to see a youth chatting in sensitive and highly organized places like church & lecture venues. The manufacturing and distribution of cell phones has led to students not playing list to cyber-café. Attention one shifted from visible to invisible friends, while important ventures like study and writing are affected in the process.
Negussie and Ketmar (2014) stated indicated that facebook networks has become an Integral part of students social life. Most students use their social network site like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and so many others to interact with their family and friends. According to Tivares (2013) these networks have become an important platforms to users to interact and relate with their peers.
Meanwhile Ito et al (2009) viewed that just as it is done in parking lots and shopping centers, young people gather in network public spaces for a number of reason and these include negotiate identity, gossip, support one another, collaborate, share information, flirt and joke.
In the educational settings, there have been arguments among scholars and institutional authorities that the youths are seen to be misusing the facebook as they are no longer using it for the purpose in which is meant to be, such as research, references and other educational purposes.
To this end, studies have generally focused on the usage pattern of facebook by mostly the youths, (Hamat et al. 2015: Syed Hassan & Landani 2015);or investigated a specific facebook such as Facebook (e.g. Adnan & mavi, 2015; Sharifah Sofiah et al. 20l1) or failed to specifically delineate how facebook was used (Al-rahmi et al. 2014). However, these studies have under explored the usage pattern and the extent of such use for academic purposes during school hours.
Although it could be understood that facebook uses are varied, and learning or academic purposes being one of them, we do not have enough knowledge as to how much facebook is being used for academic purposes, hence limiting efforts of effective integration. Thus, following the remark made by Maloney et al. (2014) that limited information exists on how university students utilize Social Network Site (SNS), be it for educational or strictly social purposes. Elisson et al. 2011 claims that students tend to participate in such a websites activities while doing their homework, It may have negative effect on their academic performance by interrupting them from learning process, it is difficult to ignore that there might be a correlation between facebook and its application for various reasons which the reason that facebook can affect both academics and off- academic.
New media which were introduced in the less than decades have drawn large number of users (students). Kord (2013) confirmed that the involvement of students in facebook has increased. Considerably since 2004, students embraced facebook so as to interact with peers for information sharing for formulating their personality and getting their social life off the ground. Research found that students spend more time on facebook even when formal class is going on. Also kishner and karpinski concluded that facebook is commonly used by students who exhibits care free attitude, luxious living generally flout laws, easily copy bad attitudes, which they are not serious with their academics which have drained most of the students. Youth’s attentions to the extent they have become addicted. The social penetration theory described the development of interpersonal relationship as a slow process which noted in a research that social networking sites impact on interpersonal communication skills and relationship by Pritta Chasombat, says that computer has speed up the intimacy process where people are likely to disclose personal information on facebook rather than to meet face to face communication because the level of control is higher.
Over the years, social networking sites have metamorphosed from few-user-based sites into phenomena that have become niches for billions of users. The growth and popularity of social networking sites have generated concerns among well-meaning citizens and scholars particularly among university authorities, about the benefit and potential risks facing undergraduates, as they engage in online social networking to cater for their social and information needs rather than oral face-to-face communication.
In the light of the risks of social networking sites on oral communication among their users, Sherry Turkle (2012), the founder and director of the MIT initiative on technology and self, asserted that the convenience the social networking site gives users ways to communicate with one another that can damage their interpersonal communication. What is more, addiction to social networking sites can establish feelings of loneliness and increase feelings of insensitivity to disconnection.
Anim (2007) aptly noted that societies greatly influence the operations and functions of the media that operate within those societies. However, this seems not to be the case in the Nigeria academic environment as indication shows that the media which is meant to contribute to the academic life and activities of students is now being misused during school hours. Facebook use and the role it plays in the academic life of students are of a school hours is a subject to study.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Kord (2013) confirmed that the involvement of students in facebook has increased. Considerably since 2004 students embraced facebook so as to interact with peers for information sharing for formulating their personality and getting their social life off the ground. Research found that students spend more time on facebook even when formal class is going on.
What is more, addiction to social networking sites can establish feelings of loneliness and increase feelings of insensitivity to disconnection, according to Cacioppo (2009) a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, he stated that with so many other negative sides influencing the youth who comprises a larger population if students in the university.
However, Elisson et al. (2011) claims that students tend to participate in such as websites activities while doing their homework, It may have negative effect on their academic performance by interrupting them from learning process, it is difficult to ignore that there might be a correlation between facebook and its application for various reasons which the reason that facebook can affect both academics and off- academic.
This study intends to analyze students’ use of facebook to know if they use them for social interaction or for academic purposes.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general purpose of the study is to analyze student’s use of facebook, to ascertain if they use it more for social interaction or for academic purposes. Thus, the study will tend to:
- Determine how often the students use the facebook for academic purpose.
- Examine how students use facebook for interactive/academic purposes.
- Find out the factors that propel students to use facebook during academic periods.
- Find out the activities that students mostly use facebook to perform.
1.4 Research Questions.
The following research questions are formulated to guild the study:
- What extent do students use the facebook for academic purpose?
- What extent do students use facebook for interaction/academic purposes?
- What factors propel students to make use of facebook during academic periods?
- What activities do students mostly use facebook to perform?
1.5 Significance of the Study
It is expected that the output of this research will benefit students and the administration of universities in Nigeria especially Godfrey Okoye University understand the level of the students’ use of facebook comparison of academic and relationship/ interaction. This shall help them to understand how best to sustain the students attention on using facebook during school hours. Also this work will be of immense the relationship which the new media has created between the students social interaction and effect on their academics.
Also the findings could be used by academic advisers and counselors to proffer professional advice to the university authorities on how to regulate the social network usage among undergraduate students of Godfrey Okoye University. Again, the findings of this study would provide facts that will enable the ministry of communication technology to know what arises from students’ use of the social networking sites. This will help the ministry, to know how to control new media usage upon successful completion of this research; it shall be very relevant to various people, across Nigeria.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study is limited to the analysis of student’s use of facebook comparison of academic and relationship/ interaction with a focus on undergraduates’ of Godfrey Okoye University as they mostly fall within the age brackets of youths which are within the age range of 17-25, 25-30.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Students: There are various definitions of a student but in the context of this work, a student is one who is enrolled or attends classes at a school, college, or university like Godfrey Okoye University.
Facebook: This is a means through which students charts with other peers and communicate with others.
Social Networks: The use of dedicated websites and applications to interact with other users, or to find people with similar interests to oneself. However, in this study, facebook and social networks will be used interchangeably.
Lecture Hours: A period of time in which academic activities are going on, or a period of time in which learning takes place, from 8.00am to 3.00pm.