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The reading habits of students have been washed down the drain as a result of the emergence of technology and the advent of social media. Reading is the essential factor that forms the foundation of greatness in everyone’s life irrespective of gender, status, and age. It helps to develop an individual and is also important when trying to pass an examination. One of the major reason for the dwindling rate at which students read is due to the introduction of phones, computers, laptops and the wrong usage of all forms of communication technology. Social media and its networks such as BBM, WHATSAPP, Instagram, 2go, Facebook, Twitter, Badoo, YouTube and the use of the Internet as a whole has been the major obsessions of most Nigerian youths. Despite the fact that the social media is making student’s academics suffer, it also has some positive contributions to education. in this article, we will be discussing the effects and impacts social media has on education. (read an interesting article 7 titled tips to pass an examination here)
Many students that have access to the GSM waste their time on it by chatting and surfing the Internet for non-educative information. They are glued to their phones all day making them lose the sense of time. Some students are also seen pressing their phones during classes, seminars and also in the libraries. They believe their smartphones are catalysts for easy assimilation when reading. Some even plugged in their earpieces and are seen humming out the songs they are listening to when studying which reduce their rates of assimilation and act as a source of disturbances to others around them.
Youths nowadays search for information that will not add values to their lives. In a bid to know what is going on in the world and to be current with events, they are always seen on the Internet reading, browsing and reading fashion and social blogs. There is a great decline in student’s passion to read for pleasure and enjoyment but instead prefer to seek pleasure from the media by streaming videos on Social Medias and playing with their phones. The main reason why they now read is just to pass an examination and not to gain knowledge. This has reduced the vast use and development of the brain. Students are no more learning through reading. Students who so much devote their times to networking have a great tendency of having low grades, poor academic performance and become unsuccessful. (All you need to know about networking)
Furthermore, the social media has disrupted the writing skills. Students no longer know how to write long essays because they no more read novels and storybooks that may educate them on writing. The Internet is full of short stories and write-ups with lots of abbreviation and students reading all these will not have the real skill needed for writing. Also, due to nature by which messages and chats are written, students have inculcated the habit of writing in shorthand, constructing incomplete sentences and few lines, and this has affected their grammar, punctuation, communication and writing skills. These acts affect many of them in classes and during exams and tests. Abbreviations and incomplete sentences are being written which may not make sense to the examiner and thus lead to failure. Examples of such are ‘k’ instead of ‘okay’, ‘cs/cz/bcos’ instead of ‘because’ and so on. Some students even forget how to spell correctly due to their constant use of shorthand when chatting. ( read an interesting article on how to communicate with your partner here)
Also, students no longer pay attention to details and research since they know they can always check up on anything they need online. By doing this, the usage of libraries and research institutes have reduced. The retentive memory is no more put into use. Students are now lazy in keeping information like dates, notes, and key points ‘upstairs’. They know the information needed can be browsed up. If they are asked any question or important events and dates, they will not think twice before bringing their phones out to search for it instead of providing answers off hand.
Students are exposed to vices (read an interesting article on social vices here) and dirty sites like the pornography sites, in the course of browsing. Since children like practicing what they see, they tend to practice all that they saw and read on the net. They engage in all these things to the detriment of their education.
These are just a few out of the numerous negative impacts and disadvantages of social media on education.
The social media also have numerous positive impacts and effects. Firstly, it enhances learning and education. Students, with the help of the Internet, now have access to all form of information. Nothing is strange to ‘google’. No matter how old the information is, the Internet serves as searchlights to them. Some information that cannot be found in the libraries and research centers are now available online. The use of search engines such as Google and Google Scholar has helped many students in their educational life. The world is now a small place where there is a circulation of knowledge and information. Educational problems encountered by students are being discussed and solved online with the help of online counselors.
Secondly, schools now teach over the Internet. Distance learning is made possible through the use of social media. Many universities are now offering online courses to the public. The social media has brought education and learning to our doorsteps. No need for traveling and risking lives just to study. Options for studying abroad when in Nigeria are open to students who are not financially buoyant to travel out of the country. Lecturers now prefer assignments and projects to be submitted to their emails. Lecture notes, handouts and reading materials are made available by the teachers online and downloaded by the students. This reduces the cost of making photocopies and the risk of misplacing them thereby making education easier.
The media also makes students meet people from various parts of the world which expose them to lots of ideas that might be useful to them. Students also have access to educational groups on Facebook and other online Social Media where intellectual people discuss education, social problems, and contemporary issues. Students are versatile in knowledge with the help of the social media. Media houses such as the radio and television stations also help in the dissemination of social issues.
It has also helped the students to have access to their mentors and role models that are far away. They are able to communicate with these people through the aid of the social networks. Also, they have the opportunities of contracting industries and companies of interest. Jobs are being sought and applied for online.
Furthermore, students with the time spent on computers and mobile devices are exposed to technology, may develop an interest in it and pick it up as a career. Their social lives help with socializing and building up confidence in the future. The use of the computer helps students to develop themselves in Web designs, artistic skills, and other computer-related programs. This increases their creativity and technology know-how. (read on choosing the right career here)
These are just a few out of the numerous positive effects and advantages of social media on education.
The negative impacts should be eroded while the positive ones should be uplifted. Time spent on social network sites should be reduced. There should be moderation in student’s access to social media. Parents should reduce the hours their children spend in front of Televisions, games and on phones. What they see and browse should be monitored. If possible, the phones should be seized when exams are near. Educative programs and news should be encouraged while immoral scenes in home videos and on the Internet should be preached against. By this, the reading culture will be improved which leads to academic progress. The negative aspects of the social media should be kept from influencing student’s education.
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