• Friday, July 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

How social media eats away students’ study habit

Number of Nigerians on social media hits 36.7 million — Report

Rebecca Olatunji was performing excellently in her studies, carting various awards at the school’s yearly prize-giving events. However, her story changed after her mother got her an iPhone to reward her academic performance.

With the new device, Rebecca began to connect with her friends and surf the web. The supposedly harmless habit began to take its toll on her reading habit, and sooner her academic performance began to nosedive.

Troubled by this development, Rebecca’s mother began to seek ways out of the dilemma as her daughter was not willing to relinquish her phone and newfound hobby.

“In fact, I don’t know what is happening. My daughter hardly cares about her books again, and her scores are worrisome these days,” she said.

“Just imagine, she scored 42 percent in Mathematics on her last test, and that is her best subject. I don’t know what exactly is happening to her,” she explained.

“She is always gluing to her phone all day. I hope I have not undone myself by getting the phone for her birthday,” she added.

Social media is the latest technological explosion in the information world. It is an online platform that focuses on building and reflecting on the social relation among people, who share common interests or activities.

The reasons for the decline in reading culture among students include students’ lack of interest in reading books as well as addiction to social media and sports activities.

Reading is a foundation for learning and improving performance, and in the wake of worldwide concerns with literacy rates, many nations have turned their attention towards reading instructions and strategies.

Friday Erhabor, a parent, affirms that social media influence among students is eroding their reading culture.

“Apart from distracting them from reading, it is also becoming a toxic influence on them morally. Research that was carried out recently revealed that an average youth takes his phone less than 10 minutes after waking up and the first point of call is either Facebook or Tik- Tok or Whatsapp,” he pointed out.

Read also: Social Media and Nigeria’s Nascent Democracy

Abiola Omosebi, a teacher with the Lagos State ministry of education says that social media was eating deep into the fabric of students’ reading culture and rather negatively.

“Social media has done a lot of damage to the study habits of many students. It comes with a lot of distractions, for instance, the Tik-Tok influencers, music, and pornographic films, among others which results in a lack of zeal to read,” she said.

Stanley Boroh, a lecturer at the Federal University, Otuoke in Bayelsa State argues that the Internet in itself is not a bad thing but it depends on its usage.

“Truth be told, social media has really affected reading culture a lot, students spend most time surfing the net for the very wrong reasons.

The phone is the world in our palm because through the net we can get a whole lot of information that will help students a great deal, but alas they use it for the wrong reason,” he said.

Bamidele Okuwoga, a legal practitioner also agrees that social media is eating into the fabric of students’ reading culture.

“There’s no doubt that social media has had an impact on children in recent times. This is due to a number of reasons. Among these is that parents have largely abandoned their role of moulding, training, disciplining, and mentoring their children.

“Most parents are culpable of abusing social media to the level that they have no moral justification to control what their children and wards do.

Besides, parents, in the name of pampering children, buy expensive android phones for their children, and this is an easy avenue for the children to abuse the internet,” Okuwoga said.

He added that the introduction of e-books was a way of improving the overall desire and ability of children to read books, adding that the objective was being lost to the influence of social media.

Also speaking, Elizabeth Ohaka, an early childhood consultant, said that children learn from what they see, but especially what the adults do within their ecosystem.

“Yes, social media videos could help children learn, but they learn more from what is happening around them. What their parents and other adults do,” she said.

Ohaka said that children below the age of 13 should not be allowed to own phones. According to her, even those that are 13 must be monitored, especially the contents they watch per time.

“Reading helps in the development of the mind and the personality of any individual. It also enhances an individual’s intellectual capabilities. Excessive use of social media by students has a significant negative impact on their reading culture and to an extent their academic performance,” she added.

According to West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) statistics released in 2018, 49.98 percent of students that sat for the May/June WASSCE had five credit passes and above, including English Language and Mathematics.

In the same examination in 2019, 35.99 percent had five credit passes and above, including English Language and Mathematics, in 2020 it was 39.82 percent, as against 81.7 percent in 2021. The record declined in 2022 with 48.61 percent getting five credit passes and above, including English Language and Mathematics.