INFLUENCE OF FACEBOOK ON BEHAVIOURAL PATTERNS OF NIGERIAN YOUTH

ABSTRACT: The research investigated the influence of Facebook on behavioural patterns of Nigerian youth, particularly among the Federal University of Technology, Akure. The study was explained on the framework of Agenda Setting and Diffusion of Innovation Theories. The study adopted a survey research method coupled questionnaire to elicit responses from the respondents that were administered to the respondents who were selected within the Federal University of Technology,  Akure using an accidental sampling technique. The data collected were analyzed using a frequency and percentage with the aid of tables. The findings show that Facebook is often used by the respondents while the busiest activity of the respondents is to chat, share of information, photos, and do business. Similarly, many of the respondents concur that Facebook is very important to them. Although, youth are somehow addicted to Facebook, as many spent lots of time on Facebook. It is also noted that the majority of the respondents have changed in their pattern of behaviours ranging from romance, gossip, confidence to express and emotional management. It is recommended that there is a need for social media users to understand why they are joining social media in the first place so that they would not be overcome by any negative impacts but rather use these sites for maximum benefit.


Facebook on behavioural pattern of Nigeria Youths

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background to the Study

Advancement in technology in this era has reshaped all human activities on earth to include communication. Today messages can reach audience and targeted groups in real time and they can generate changes and tendencies. Crowds are becoming more powerful through technology, because technology has the ability to unite them. According to Vladimir (2005) internet is a global network which unites millions of computer located in different countries and open broad opportunities to obtain and exchange information but it is now been used for criminal purposes due to the economic factors. Nigeria a third world country is faced with so many economic challenges such as poverty, corruption, unemployment amongst others, thereby, making this crime thrive.

Cyber criminals today can easily leverage the Internet and carry out traditional crimes such as trafficking illicit drugs and illegal sex trafficking. Today criminal networks exist with online black markets where trade occurs and criminals are able to take on specialized roles (National Security Council, Ngo  & Paternoster (2011). Online criminals are involved in many types of fraud from fake lotteries through stock scams to advance-fee frauds, and in other crimes such as the distribution of images of child sexual abuse.

Social networking sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace) provide outlets for bullying and stalking. Crimes that were once done in person, like stalking and bullying, have been taken online where the perpetrator can reach their victim twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Shinder (2002), define cyber crime as any criminal offenses committed using the internet or another computer network as a component of the crime.

Cybercrimes are offences that are committed against individuals or group of individuals with a criminal motive to internationally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm to the victim directly or indirectly using modern telecommunication networks such as internet and mobile phones, Adeniran, (2011). Such crimes may threaten nation’s security and financial health (Akogwu, 2012). Cyberbullying is the act of bullying someone through the internet. Now of course, it’s not possible to physically abuse someone through the web, which means that the only way that remains is verbal abuse (Adaramola, 2011).

Facebook can be accessed through www.facebook.com and all a prospective user needs’ to open an account and create a profile is a valid email address or cell phone number. He or she provides some basic information about himself /herself such as name, sex, date of birth, and town of residence. A profile page is created for each user that registers and it contains all the information about the user as provided by the user. Some of the functionalities of Facebook available to users are Walls (where information can be posted for friends to see), Messages (for private emails), Status (to post any kind of information for the public to view), Pictures & Videos uploading links, groups of political, social, religious or whatever leaning can be created for followers to join, Valkernburg, Peter, J., & Schouten, (2006).

Social media is among the numerous means which the people interact and communicate online. There has been a remarkable outburst in social media usage in the past decade. Social media platforms are increasingly growing as developers come up with better applications and new features. Consequently, the adoption of such platforms is growing. Such fast adoption is evidenced by the growing number of users in various social media networks ranging from social media platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and particularly Facebook. The trend is especially noticeable among technically inclined youths who are among the first people to know of new emerging platforms.

Evidently, social media has had tremendous influence on people’s lives. The world has progressively been transformed into a global village where trans-continental communication is ubiquitous. Consequently, sharing of ideas, cultural exchange among other factors is faster and easier. The use and consequent impacts of social media in spending habits, life style, beliefs, exposure and negative influence resulting from peer pressure such as fraud, abuse of drugs, addictions, etc. are particularly critical areas in understanding the effects of social media on the moral behavior of youths in Nigeria ranging from (15–35) years.

This age categories comprises of juveniles, undergraduates, graduates, unemployed and even the employed. Cyber crime problem has become a global problem and so is the plight of its victims. Cyber criminals are intelligent people who understand the psychology of various, age, sex and economic occupational groups, Tade & Aliyu, (2011). In setting their strategies, they manipulate the minds and massage the egos of the most vulnerable group of young adults who are so impressionable. This scenario is exacerbated by the undue emphasis on wealth and material possession by the Nigerian society where the end seems to justify the means, Adeniran, (2008).

Therefore the researcher intends to fill the existing gap by carrying the Study Cyber crime/Cyber bullying and Internet fraud in Akure Ondo State. This study, therefore, sought to investigate Influence of Facebook on the behavioural pattern of Nigeria youths in Akure, Ondo State.

1.2      Statement of the Problem

Cyber-crime in all of its forms is one of the fastest growing areas of criminality. More and more criminals are exploiting the speed; convenience and anonymity that modern technologies offer to commit a diverse range of crimes, including attacks against computer data and systems, identity theft, the distribution of child sexual abuse images, and Internet auction fraud. The global nature of the Internet allows criminals to commit almost any illegal activity any wherein the world, which makes it essential for all countries to adapt their domestic offline controls to cover crimes carried out in cyberspace.         

The youths in every society is of great importance and concern to that society because they are looked upon as the leaders of tomorrow. Olaide and Adewole (2004), observed that a sizeable number of criminals in Nigeria fall within the youthful age. The youths at present have discovered different ways of using the internet in doing different types of criminal activities and these age brackets are usually found in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Nigeria is not the only nation where cyber crimes are being perpetrated.

The incident can rightly be said to be on the increase in the country due to lack of security awareness and under reportage respectively. Although some people’s level of knowledge of the net is observably just for chatting with their friends and may be get information there from, most of them may not be in the position to protect their data or information and computer from malicious programmers (Akogwu, 2012).

Cyber crime has come as a surprise and a strange phenomenon that for now lives with us in Nigeria. With each passing day, we witness more and more alarming cases of cyber crimes in Nigeria, with each new case more shocking than the one before. cyber crime is not a new phenomenon, computers have always proved to be lucrative targets; the essentialness of the Internet has necessitated a change in our understanding of security, risks, and threats (Singhal, Tandan, & Miri, 2013). Not only does the greater connectivity increase the number of potential victims of computer-related crime, it also increases the number of prospective offenders (Grabosky, 2000).  

The Internet has no centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage; each constituent network sets its own standards. It has no geographical or political boundaries, and can be accessed from anywhere in the world from a multitude of devices.. Many school teachers, and the society at large are getting worried, notwithstanding that there are strict rules set or established by various school authorities on the improper use of technological gadgets. The current study therefore sought to fill the existing research gap and also provide a better understanding through the empirical evidence of influence of facebook on the behavioural pattern of Nigeria youths in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria.

1.3  Objective of the Study

  1. To investigate the use and importance of Facebook to the youths of Akure, Ondo State.
  2. To study if the youths of Akure, Ondo State have access to Facebook and are active users on Facebook.

1.4       Research questions

  1. How do the youths in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria, use Facebook in their daily lives?
  2. What are the impacts of Facebook on the behavioral change of youths in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria?

1.5       Significance of Study

This study will be of benefits and interest not only to youths  in Nigeria, but it will be valuable to other service sectors in Nigeria as a whole. The study will also be a source of secondary data to other researchers who wish to conduct studies on related issues.

This research is aimed at acquiring findings that will bridge the gap of lack of sufficient information on the effects of the use of Facebook as a social media platform on the behavioral changes of youths in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria.

The findings are likely to be useful to the policy makers of the various sectors of the government. This study is important with a view to get the information pertaining to the young social media users from the pre and post graduating colleges of various faculties in University of Akure.

This study will provide information to the social media users about, the positive and negative effects of over utilization of social media on their mental and physical condition and make them aware about the control of the utilization of the social media.

Finally, the results of this study are likely to influence further scholarly research by other researchers who may be interested in this field of knowledge and initiate appropriate mitigation. This study may be an additional knowledge in the respective area of study for the upcoming scholars.

 1.6       Scope of study

The study which investigated the influence of Facebook on the behavioural pattern of Nigeria Youths in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria was narrowed to Federal University of Technology, Akure. Therefore, the geographical scope of this study shall be within Ondo state. The institution is selected because of its proximity to the researcher as it was difficult if not impossible to study all undergraduates across the tertiary institutions in Nigerian due to time available for this study, other considerable factors are geographical locations, age, sex and educational background of the respondents was considered before administration of questionnaire. 

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

Social media: Social media includes the various online technology tools that enable people to communicate easily via the internet to share information and resources.

Youth: The period or time when someone is young especially the period when someone is a teenager (Longman dictionary). For the purpose of this study youths shall be persons from the voting age of 18 years through to 35 years only.

Facebook: An online social networking site located on www.facebook.com

 

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Facebook on behavioural pattern of Nigeria Youth

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