Nigeria: Youth and the Internet – the Dangers and Benefits

As the world is gradually being reduced to a global village, the use of social media and IT, especially among students, has taken a new dimension. Ordinarily, the media should be a source of educational highway to broaden the intellectual acumen. But is it so? Uche Uduma takes a look at the trend.

Social media basically include Internet sites where people interact freely, sharing information and making social interactions with different people, using texts, pictures, videos and audio messaging. Social media depend on mobile and web-based technologies to create interactive platforms through which individuals and groups discuss, while making use of contents generated from the web pages.

Through popular portals like Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry application, Youtube, Google, various dating sites and other social networks which have become popular in recent times, the social media have been able to endear many young people to the internet. With the widespread of internet services provided by telecommunication companies in Nigeria, and the increased use of internet via computers, smart phones, tablets and other handheld devices, young people now have unbridled access to the web and social media.

It is estimated that on the average, young people spend 12 hours daily, engaging in some forms of media use, particularly texting, pinging, chatting, music, surfing the net and social networking. And a third of young adults between the ages of 18 to 24 use social media in bathroom.

Using social media in learning

Given the popularity of the social media, how they have become part of almost every facet of our lives, and how young people spend enormous time on the internet, it has also become pertinent that the social media should look at ways they can be deployed into education use.

The Head of Theatre Arts Department, University of Abuja, Dr Kwaghaondo Agber, who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday on the use of social media in academics, stated that social media can be a good resource to the students, depending on what the students use them for. “Today, there are so many internet books and internet materials the students can use for academic purpose. Although, in Nigeria, we have not fully deployed social media technology to our schools, but if you go to other universities in other countries where social media have been fully deployed, lecturers can digitally produce their lectures, put them on their websites and ask their students to access them. You will also find that students can do their assignments on the website. The positive thing is that, education is easily accessed, and the students get more information more easily than it was years ago. We are getting connected to become part of the globalised world. So, the social media can be a good resource, depending on what the students are using them for.” he said.

Leadership (Abuja)



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