Full Project – Influence of social media usage on childhood development
- Background of the Study
Social media refers to the environments that change the way people communicate, interact and socialize and, in the meantime, allow people to express themselves as they want, using internet infrastructure.
Social Media is a platform that enables its users to participate in activities and events identified as its content as a way of communicating with their social circles including other users in the system and society, to share their own opinions by bringing them together to create their own content (Cohen, 2011). Although interaction and communication between social media users are emphasized in this definition, Fredman (2013) divides social media platforms into two different groups as interactive and non-interactive social media environments.
According to the way Fredman (2013) distinguishes social media platforms, interactive social media environments provide a way for users to communicate. Outputs of the software programs that make this communication among users possible depend on input from registered users in these environments to the system.
In other words, all kinds of information and interpretation that users share in the system directly affect the output of the programs. Digital and electronic devices, software, touch tablets, applications, video games, interactive screen-based media such as Facebook, MySpace, game play sites, club penguins, blogs and YouTube are directly influenced by the output of virtual site programs and they are designed according to these outputs.
In today’s world, there are children who actively use all the social media websites through the applications in their mobile phones. The fact that communication technologies and the internet are getting more and more accessible from every other day has made it possible to spread the so-called social media tools, applications and services (Boyd, 2008: 92).
The fact that people can perform activities such as introducing yourself, getting to know others, sharing and spreading their own opinions and ideas, learning others’ ideas and information, having fun, playing games, advertising and organizing events quickly and economically makes social media highly widespread all around the world.
When compared to the real life, the cost of doing all the aforementioned activities in the virtual world seems to be quite economical in terms of business, time and other costs. It is also seen that the conditions of competition and business union in the real world change in virtual environment.
The fact that naturally, human beings are in the effort of socialization and the decrease of the resources that he has to spend for this effort contributes to the continuation of this upward tendency in internet use.
Through social media, it is possible to reach a lot of information such as culture, art, entertainment, sports, news, weather, etc. in a very fast manner. Moreover, this situation is not only limited to reaching the information, but it also enables to follow the opinions, thoughts and shares of the other social media users regarding these issues and to have an influence on the decisions made upon these issues.
In other words, the interaction among people can happen at an unprecedented pace and easiness. This quick interaction can produce many good or bad results for people, depending on what ideas are shared and disseminated.
Communication has become faster and easier thanks to the benefits and opportunities offered by social media, but the negative effects and harms of social media are also increasing day by day. In other words, it is obvious that social media, which has high impact and thus can bring positive and negative effects when used, needs to be controlled. Every place where communication and interaction occur among people causes them to experience social, cultural, emotional and cognitive changes.
This will inevitably have an impact on social, cultural and political transformations of societies. Trying to ensure that these transformations occur in a positive and intended way should be one of the priority tasks of the governments.
In addition to these aforementioned issues, many families are wondering who their children are interacting with, how their children interact with these other people and what content their children see and share in social media websites and want to control their interactions to protect their children.
However, the nature of the social media it seems to be very difficult to control what their children do in these websites owing to the nature of these social media websites. Assuming that parents are one step ahead of their children in using technology, it is the first step towards protecting them. For this reason, professional supervision may be required to ensure that the inspection and control are healthy and safe.
- Statement of the Problem
This study will try to find out the influence of social media usage on childhood development. Social media has many positive aspects but, in the wrong hands, it can become dangerous. For the children it is experiments to do what they feel is good or exciting to them and the friends and at the same time avoid adult supervision.
Livingstone (2008) opines that for children, the online realm may be adopted enthusiastically because it represents their ‘space, visible to the peer group more than to adult surveillance, an exciting yet relatively safe opportunity to conduct the social psychological task of children – to construct, experiment with and present a reflexive project of the self in a social context, as well as, for some, for flouting communicative norms and other risk-taking behaviors.
Technology brought about social media which is a valuable tool but is somewhat misused by today‘s children.
With the current exposure and easy access that the children are able to get out of these mediums, this study will establish the influence it has have on the children. Issues that are expected to arise out of this research include exposure to problematic materials, online victimization of children, exposition to unnecessary online marketing and advertising, exposure to dangerous online behaviours, issues of identity theft, the emergence of digital divide and generation gap between parents and the youth.
- Objectives of the Study
The goal of this research is to influence of social media usage on childhood development. The study also has specific objectives it wishes to investigate.
- To determine how the children make use social media in their daily lives
- To determine if children prefer social media as means of communication as opposed to traditional methods.
- To find out the impacts social media has on behavior changes among children.
- To determine the risks that comes with use of social media on children.
- Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated in line with the stated objectives to guide the study.
- How do children make use social media in their daily lives?
- Do children prefer social media as means of communication as opposed to traditional methods?
- What are the impacts of social media has on behavior changes among children?
- What are the risks associated with use of social media on children?
- Significance of the Study
It is hoped that the findings of this study will bridge the gap of lack of sufficient information on influence of social media usage on childhood development.
The findings of this study may also be useful to the policy makers in various sectors of the government.
For instance, in the educational sector curriculum developers will be informed when developing curriculum for the children.
In the health ministry, it will help doctors especially those dealing with counseling of the children to know which tools to use to effectively communicate to the children.
The results of the study are likely to influence further scholarly research by other researchers who may be interested in this field of knowledge and initiate appropriate mitigation.
- Scope of the Study
The study seeks to find out the information on influence of social media usage on childhood development. While the study recognizes that new interactive technologies have impacts on other age groups outside the children bracket, and as such this study will limit itself only to the children in Nigeria.
The study will focus itself only on children who fall within the age range of 9 – 17 in Ogwashi-Uku Delta State
- Limitation of the Study
The study is limited by time and financial resources and as result the research will have to source for more financial resources and use alternative means.
Since few similar studies have been done especially in institutions of higher learning, there is limited empirical literature on the area of influence of social media usage on childhood development.
Another limitation was that parents were reluctant to give correct information on their children on the basis of invasion of their privacy even though the researchers will explain to them that the study is purely for academic purposes and not motivated by any other interests whatsoever.
- Definition of Terms
Influence – the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others:
Social media – Social media is a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities.
Usage – the use of something, the way in which it is used, or how much it has been used
Childhood – the state of being a child; the time in which persons are children; the condition or time from infancy to puberty.
Development – the act or process of growing or causing something to grow or become larger or more advanced
Privacy – the state of being alone, or the right to keep one’s personal matters and relationships secret
Platforms – A platform is a group of technologies that are used as a base upon which other applications, processes or technologies are developed
Communicates – to transmit information, thought, or feeling so that it is satisfactorily received or understood two sides failing to communicate with each other the computer communicates with peripheral equipment.
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