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INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION AMONG YOUTHS IN NIGERIA

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Abstract on interpersonal communication

The study investigates influence of social media in interpersonal communication among youths in Nigeria. This study is anchored on Technological Determinism Theory, Source Credibility Theory and Social Interaction Theory to give the study the needed footing. A cross-sectional survey research method was adopted and questionnaires in “Google Form” were used to elicit responses from respondents that were administered via Whatsapp to elicit responses from respondents across Nigeria. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics (frequency and percentage) and the data were presented with the aid of tables. The study found that majority of the respondents (47.5%) often use social media for interpersonal communication on social media platforms very frequently. Equally, a sizable number of the respondents (39.3%) admitted that they often use Whatsapp and spent quality of hours daily. A significant number of the respondents (63.6%) used to communicate with friends and peers through face-to-face interactions before social media, however, all the respondents (100%) admitted that social media has impacted on their interpersonal communication today significantly because it easier to express their opinion through social media to face-to-face conversations in this 21st century. The study recommended that there is need to promote media literacy programmes that teach young adults critical thinking skills and help them deconstruct and analyze media messages. Thereby enable them to understand the manipulative tactics used in advertising and develop a more discerning approach to media consumption.


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

            There is no doubt that human activities and events have been altered by the emergence of the Internet especially in the last ten years. One of the aspects of life that has been seriously redefined is communication. Before now, students communicate with colleagues, friends, families and institutions etc via letter either send through a commercial bus or somebody travelling to the same spot; and later through the post office and other means peculiar to different people at different regions with no feedback or with a delayed feedback.  

            However, in the search for better and effective means of communication, led to the development of the Internet and particularly computer, tablet, iPad, and smartphones. The arrival of the Internet and the proliferation of the social media platforms have completely revolutionalised the means, efforts, time and speed of communication coupled with effective feedback and interaction that goes into communication in this era (Ellore, Niranjan, & Brown, 2014).

            Indeed, social media has become an integral part of modern society, transforming the way individuals communicate and interact with one another. In Nigeria, a country with a significant youth population, the impact of social media on interpersonal communication among young people is particularly noteworthy. This research explores the influence of social media on interpersonal communication among Nigerian youths, examining both the positive and negative effects.

            Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok and WhatsApp have significantly increased the accessibility and connectivity among Nigerian youths particularly students. According to Statista, as of 2021, Nigeria had over 33 million Facebook users, 24 million Twitter users, and 33 million Instagram users. This widespread adoption of social media has facilitated easier and faster communication among youths, allowing them to connect with friends, family, and even strangers in different locations (Statista, 2021).

            Social media platforms provide Nigerian youths (students) with an outlet to express their thoughts, ideas, and creativity. Young people can share their opinions, photos, videos, and artwork with a wide audience, allowing them to showcase their talents and gain recognition. This form of self-expression not only strengthens interpersonal communication but also empowers youths to build their personal brand and establish meaningful connections with like-minded individuals (Oso & Onabajo, 2019).

            Social media platforms offer Nigerian youths the opportunity to socialize and build communities based on shared interests, hobbies, and goals. Online groups, forums, and communities provide platforms for discussions, collaborations, and networking. These virtual spaces enable youths to connect with peers who share similar passions, thereby enhancing their interpersonal communication skills and fostering a sense of belonging (Ajayi, 2019).

            There is no doubt that students and lecturers only rely on the use of physical interaction before now i.e students have to visit their lecturers at their respective office when the need arises, but today, it has gone beyond. Students can collaborates, pass academic information or update to class mates, discuss, share academic information and resources using social media. Equally, students can now interact with their lecturers including submitting assignments through Telegram or Whatsapp including interacting on thesis/project with their supervisors, the benefits are endless.

            While social media presents numerous benefits, it also poses challenges to face-to-face communication among Nigerian youths. Excessive reliance on social media platforms for communication can result in reduced direct interaction and weakened interpersonal skills. Overconsumption of social media may lead to feelings of isolation, decreased empathy, and difficulty in establishing and maintaining meaningful offline relationships (Obi & Eze, 2020).

            The informal nature of social media communication can negatively impact the interpersonal communication skills of Nigerian youths. Abbreviations, emojis, and shorthand language used in social media conversations may lead to a decline in proper grammar, spelling, and communication etiquette. This shift can hinder effective communication in formal settings, such as educational and professional environments (Alao & Oyewo, 2018).

            It should also be recalled that the use of the social media came into the rescue of many tertiary institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, the social media provides students and lecturers with the opportunity to connect and interact. Thus, regardless of geographical location doesn’t affect learning (Mbongo, Hako, & Munangatire, 2021).

            By and large, social media has revolutionized interpersonal communication among Nigerian youths, offering unprecedented accessibility, connectivity, and creative expression. To this end, this study is on this thrust that this study investigates the Influence of Social Media in Interpersonal Communication among Youths in Nigeria.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

            The influence of social media on interpersonal communication among youths in Nigeria has become a topic of concern and interest. While social media platforms have provided avenues for enhanced connectivity, self-expression, and community building, they also pose potential challenges to face-to-face communication and communication etiquette. The problem lies in understanding the extent to which social media impacts interpersonal communication among Nigerian youths and identifying the potential consequences for their social and personal development.

            Nigerian youths’ increasing reliance on social media platforms for communication may lead to a decline in direct face-to-face interaction. This overdependence on virtual communication could potentially hinder the development of essential interpersonal skills, such as active listening, non-verbal communication, and conflict resolution, which are crucial for building and maintaining meaningful relationships offline.

            The extensive use of social media may alter the way Nigerian youths socialize and form relationships. Online interactions, while convenient, may lack the depth and authenticity of offline connections, potentially leading to a superficial understanding of interpersonal dynamics. This shift may affect the ability of young individuals to establish and maintain healthy and meaningful relationships in their personal and professional lives.

Hence, the study investigates the Influence of Social Media in Interpersonal Communication among Youths in Nigeria.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The primary objective of this study is to investigate the influence of social media in interpersonal communication among youths in Nigeria. However, the specific objectives are:

  1. To examine the extent to which youths in Nigeria are using social media.
  2. To investigate how social media usage positively influences interpersonal communication among youths in Nigeria.
  • To identify the main challenge facing youths in using social media interpersonal communication in Nigeria.
  1. To explore the main factor influencing the use of social media for interpersonal communication among youths in Nigeria.

1.4       Research Questions

In order to explicate the aforementioned objectives, the listed questions provide answers to the research problem:

  1. To what extent do youths in Nigeria use social media for interpersonal communication?
  2. How do social media usage positively influences interpersonal communication among youths in Nigeria?

iii.        What is the main challenge facing youths in using social media interpersonal           communication in Nigeria?

  1. What is the major factor that influence the use of social media for interpersonal communication among youths in Nigeria?.

1.5       Significance of the Study

            Understanding the Changing Communication Landscape: The study holds significance in shedding light on the evolving communication landscape among Nigerian youths. It explores the influence of social media on interpersonal communication, providing valuable insights into the ways in which young individuals engage, connect, and communicate in the digital age. This knowledge is crucial for researchers, policymakers, educators, and parents to adapt their approaches and strategies to effectively navigate this changing communication landscape.

Informing Policy and Education: The findings of the study can inform policy development and educational initiatives aimed at promoting responsible social media use and enhancing interpersonal communication skills among Nigerian youths. By understanding the specific challenges and opportunities presented by social media, policymakers can implement guidelines and regulations to safeguard the well-being of young individuals. Similarly, educators can develop targeted educational programs that address the impact of social media on interpersonal communication, helping students develop healthy digital habits and navigate online interactions.

Promoting Digital Well-being: The study’s significance lies in its potential to contribute to the promotion of digital well-being among Nigerian youths. By identifying the potential negative effects of social media on interpersonal communication, such as reduced face-to-face interaction or psychological challenges, the study can raise awareness and encourage young individuals to develop a balanced approach to their online and offline interactions. It can empower them to make informed choices regarding their social media usage and develop strategies to maintain healthy relationships and well-being.

Enhancing Interpersonal Skills: The study’s findings can provide valuable insights into the impact of social media on interpersonal communication skills among Nigerian youths. This knowledge can guide interventions and programs aimed at enhancing these skills, such as active listening, empathy, conflict resolution, and non-verbal communication. By addressing the potential gaps in interpersonal skills caused by social media use, the study can contribute to the development of well-rounded individuals capable of building and maintaining meaningful relationships in both virtual and physical spaces.

Fostering Positive Online Communities: Finally, the study holds significance in fostering positive online communities among Nigerian youths. By understanding the dynamics of social media interactions and their impact on relationship formation, the study can provide guidance on creating supportive and inclusive digital environments. It can inform strategies to address issues such as cyberbullying, promote empathy and respectful communication, and encourage the formation of online communities based on shared interests and values.

1.6       Scope of the Study

            The study which investigates the influence of social media in interpersonal communication among youths in Nigeria. The choice of Nigerian youths is due to their high degree of social media usage and its growing number of social media. Currently, there is high degree of social media usage among youths. Nigeria has experienced a significant increase in internet penetration over the past decade, leading to a surge in social media adoption among its population, particularly the youth.

            The country has one of the highest rates of internet penetration in Africa, with an estimated 123 million internet users as of 2021. This widespread access to the internet has facilitated the growth of social media platforms. Equally, Nigeria has a large youth population, with approximately 70% of its population under the age of 30. This demographic is more likely to engage with social media platforms as a means of communication, entertainment, and information sharing. However, the demographical variables of the respondents (Nigerian youths) shall be examined before the administration of the data collection instrument.

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

Influence: In this study, it means both the negatives and positives impact or effects of social media on youths interpersonal communication.

Social Media: In this research, social media refers to online platforms and technologies that enable youth to interact with friends, family and lecturers including the general public. It includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok, among others.

Interpersonal Communication: In this study, it means the use of social media for exchanging information, ideas, and feelings between and among youth in Nigeria.

Nigerian Youths: In this research, it refers to Nigerians usually between the age of 18-35 including both gender.


PROJECT DETAILS:

Format = MS Word, Price = ₦4000, Chapter = 1-5, Pages = 52, References = Yes, Questionnaire =Yes, Table of Contents = Yes and Abstract = Yes


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