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This research is aimed at finding out the impact that social media has on student’s behavior change. The research methodology used is both qualitative and quantitative; the sample size is 60 university students and the target population is 4 selected universities in Lusaka, the research design is the descriptive survey design, probability sampling method is used and the data collected is from both secondary and primary data Literature has shown that there exists a relationship between social media and the impact it has on the behavior of students as it has been noted that, the young generation is growing up having easier ways to stay connected with their loved ones and discover new relationships, they are easily acquiring knowledge and live in a digital world and that some of the online behaviors of students are categorized as risky but in the most cases they are not always associated with negative impacts.

The findings show that majority of the respondents; access to gargets that connects them to these social media platforms, they prefer social media as means of communication, they understand that most of the information spread on these platforms is not credible and that these platforms can impact their behavior negatively and positively depending on how they use them. It has been concluded that social media continues to play a vital role on the behavior change of students, the study has proved that social media has both positive and negative impact on students.

The researcher recommends that as the platforms continue to grow all stakeholders especially the Nigeria Information Communication and Technology Authorities should come up with ways of filtering information that reaches these platforms. The researcher took an interest in this topic because they noticed that it had become an obvious and usual sight to face not only students but every adolescent being insensitive to a point where they chat in churches, homes when relatives and guests are around, on the road, schools, during lectures and social gatherings wherein they are so preoccupied and immersed into their phones that they do not even bother to look up as to where they are or what is happening around them, which results in their inability to separate what is important and what isn’t. Attention has therefore been shifted from real to the online world and online friends.




1.0 Introduction

This chapter was focused on; the background of the study, statement of the problem and purpose of study. It goes to further cover the objectives, research questions, significance and justification the study and scope of the study. The chapter included the definition of key terms from the major concepts under study

The research went further to define what is meant by social media and what these platforms are, what their use in the lives of University are and there implications on their behavior, new Information Technology (IT) is almost everywhere in the world and has dramatically changed the way we live, their tools have become valued elements of life in for many simply because they have opened many doors and allowed individuals to interact freely unlike at any other time in history. Despite the unhealthy impact of social media many students are wrapped up in spending most of their hours on social media sites which include the most popular Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram, social media has implanted negative images upon many minds however it has also made a pathway to develop vital knowledge and social skills among students beyond their campus walls (Wang, Chen and Liang, 2011). Social media equally positive or negative aspects but many students are using these sites on a regular basis.

Institutes of higher learning all over the world have been hit by a new generation of students that are coming straight from high school with knowledge about IT and how to go about using its tools, especially smart phones and computers. Despite the fact that any type technology can either be put to beneficial or non-beneficial use, depending on what the user chooses to do with, majority of the parents in this country are buying smartphones and computers for their kids not to be used as a tool of being unproductive but to be used for productive things like school work, research and staying in touch with their friends and families.

1.1 Background of the study

The rate at which the internet has changed how information is sent and received is mind blowing, it has combined the immediacy of broadcast with the in-depth writing of newspapers, resulting in it being the perfect source of disseminating news and other people interest stories. These platforms have made communication between the strangers, family and friends easier than ever, chatting is one of the most popular activity on the Internet, people can talk to anyone across the world. The introduction of social media platforms is assisting to facilitate communication among individuals and the only catch is they require one to create a profile in order to make the communication possible but in the case of mobile applications(App) like WhatsApp one need to of course be connected to the internet have the App and mobile numbers of the people they wish to stay in touch with, as for platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram having an App to stay connected all they need is to be connected to the internet and create a profile, find old friends from your town or school you attend or attended.

The nature and classification of how people connect is different for each platform, for example on Facebook on user has to send a friend request to the other user in order for them to stay connected, on WhatsApp to stay connected they both need to have the mobile application on their phones and have each other’s mobile numbers but as for Twitter and Instagram, only one user needs to follow the other in-order to stay connected. Through social media, individuals can connect with people from different ethnic groups and learn about their cultures and norms, the plus side is that these platforms also helps them to maintain old friendships, besides establishing these types of connections some social media platforms like LinkedIn helps one to find connections that will create an opportunity for them to find a job and establish business contacts. Other platforms offer features that allow them to design profiles that express and reflect their true selves and personality, which gives them an opportunity to stand out from the rest of the users. It is therefore the aim of this study to establish the impact that these social media has on the young individual‘s behavioral change.

1.2 Problem Statement

The study’s aim was to find out the impact that social media has on University student’s behavior, it is well known fact that technology has its major pros but some studies have revealed that when placed in the wrong hands it can be dangerous, researchers have found that when it comes to students, they tend to experiment with behaviors that make them feel good at the moment and allow them to stand out with their peers. Students use social media a lot, which involves them spending a lot of their time on their computers or smart gargets that have access to the internet and this time spent can instead be used to do more productive things. They use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp etc. more than individuals from any other generation. Presently not much research has been done in Nigeria to determine the impact that social media has on the students despite the observed tremendous use of these social media platforms. What is their purpose for using this type media, what do they share? This study was therefore carried out to determine the impact of social media among students in universities, Lusaka to be precise.

Technology has brought about social media which is seen as a very useful tool but sometimes it is being misused. To have access to these platforms one needs a garget that can access the internet in this case a phone, tablet or computer, this study went further to establish the impacts these mediums have. Issues that were expected to arise out of this research included exposure to pornographic materials, cyber bullying, and exposition to unnecessary online advertising, exposure to dangerous online behaviors.

1.3 Research Purpose

The goal of this research was to address the impact and implications of social media on the students especially those in university on the way they use these medium and the consequences of that use on their behavior, to highlight the impact social media has on them and to identify the effects it has on their academic and social development. The research is also a partial fulfillment for the award of a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at Cavendish University.

1.4. General Objectives

The overall objective of this study was qualitative in nature which means that it was meant to create an understanding of the ever-changing social scene. The author of this research intended to explore the impact that social media has on the behavior of students in some universities in Lusaka, it was established that the time students spent on their social media platforms continues to decrease the amount of time they have available for their studies and other important activities.

1.4.1 Specific objectives

The researcher was guided by the following objectives;

  • To determine if students in university prefer social media as means of communication as opposed to traditional methods.
  • To find out how social media has an effect on student’s behavior change.
  • To determine the risks that comes with use of social media.
  • To determine the usage of specific social media platforms by the students.
  • To examine the credibility of the information that they receive over from social media platforms.
  • To study the influence of social media on the personal and professional development of the students.

1.5 Research Questions

The researcher was guided by the following questions in order to meet the objectives of the study.

  • How has the usage of specific social media platforms influenced university students?
  • What factors are influencing information credibility that is being received via social media platforms?
  • How do these social media platforms influence the personal and professional lives of the youth?
  • Do the students prefer social media as a means of communication as opposed to traditional methods?
  • How does social media impact behavior change in students?
  • What risks come with use of social media as a university student?

1.6 Significance and Justification of the Study

Despite the increased use of social media amongst university students in Nigeria and other parts of the world, researchers have paid little or no attention to understanding the effect of social media on their social development. Social media has undeniably become a popular and fundamental aspect of the social lives of many students today and hence investigations of all its possible outcomes deserve some attention if not a lot. An increase in the use of smart phones in the Nigerian society has increase; Nigeria Information and Communication Technology Agency (NICTA) indicated that 12,017,034 people have mobile phone subscription representing a penetration rate of 74.93%. Therefore, it has been noted that today an ordinary citizen in Nigeria has access to a mobile phone and internet this, therefore, means that access to social media platforms has even been made easier than ever before. According to research conducted by NICTA Nigeria’s mobile Internet user subscription is nearly 5,156,365 which represents 32.15% penetration rate. In 2017 the Internet World Statistics in 2017 estimated that 1,400,000 people in Nigeria were Facebook subscribers as at June, 2016, representing 8.1% penetration rate. It is evident that a good number of the population has had access to Facebook since 2010/2011 and the majority is university students. Even though they may engage in various activities off social media, the rate at which they participate in social media platforms seems to be much more of higher percentage, which therefore makes it appropriate to undertake this study (Cheung & Lee, 2010). It was hoped that the findings of this study would bridge the gap of lack of sufficient information on the effects of social media on students and behavior change.

1.7 Scope of the study

The study sought to find out the impacts of social media on students behavior change in universities. While the study recognizes that social media have impacts on individuals other than university students and as much as it limited itself to only students. The study focused on only four universities, as opposed to covering every university in Lusaka or the entire country.

1.8 Methodology

The survey method was used to solicit data and information from a sample of randomly picked individuals. 60 participants were selected. The researcher designed a questionnaire to collect data.

Key Terms: Information Technology (IT), Social media platforms; Facebook; Twitter; WhatsApp;



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