SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES AND SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR AMONG STUDENTS OF SELECTED TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN KOGI STATE

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ABSTRACT

Today in Nigeria, Social Networking Sites like Facebook, 2go and WhatsApp are getting more popular among students of Tertiary Institutions irrespective of their different ethno-social backgrounds. It has become a vital part of their social life, presenting new opportunities as well as potentially unsafe encounters. Yet, little is known about the contributions of these media to the pattern of sexual behaviour of young people, especially students. It is against this background that this study was conceived to examine Social Networking Sites and Sexual Behaviour among Students of Selected Tertiary Institutions in Kogi State. The study employed Survey research method and relied on questionnaire and interview as instrument for the collection of primary data used in this work. The data were quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed using tables showing frequencies and simple percentages. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to sample the 384 respondents from the selected institutions. Anchored on the Uses and gratifications theory, the study found among other things; that social networking sites contribute to students sexual Behaviour and that, there is an increasing adoption of the use of these sites, especially WhatsApp, 2go and facebook in that order. The study concludes that SNSs utilization exerts both positive and negative effects on the sexual behaviour of students but with the debilitating effects more conspicuous. Meaning they may promote sex education and pleasure, but indiscriminate sexual activities are also promoted thereby polluting the traditional sacredness of sex among young people, thus undermining the moral values in the state. Hence, the study recommends that the use of SNSs should be regulated among students, and stressed the need for awareness and re-orientation of students on the safest way of using the SNSs.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Problem Statement
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Research Questions
1.5       Scope of the Study
1.6       Significance of the Study
1.7       Limitations of the Study
1.8       A Brief Profile of the Selected Schools
1.8.1    Kogi State University (KSU), Anyigba
1.8.2    The Federal Polytechnic, Idah (FPI)
1.8.3    Federal College of Education (FCE)
1.9       Definition of Terms
            References

CHAPTER TWO
LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Introduction
2.2       Review of concepts
2.2.1    Social Networking Sites
2.2.2    Sexual Behaviour
2.4       Review of empirical works
2.5       Theoretical framework
2.6       Chapter summary
            References

CHAPTER THREE
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.0       Introduction
3.1       Research Design
3.2       Population of the Study
3.3       Sample Size
3.4       Sampling Technique
3.5       Instrument for Data Collection
3.6       Validity and Reliability of the Instruments
3.7       Method of Data Collection
3.8       Method of Data Analysis
            References

CHAPTER FOUR
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1       Description of the Sample
4.2       Data Presentation and Analysis (Quantitative Approach)
            4.2.1    Research Question One
            4.2.2    Research Question Two
            4.2.3    Research Question Three
            4.2.4    Research Question Four
4.3       Presentation and Analysis of Interview-Generated Data
4.4       Discussion of Findings
            References

CHAPTER FIVE
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Summary
5.1       Conclusion
5.3       Recommendations
            BIBLIOGRAPHY

Appendix

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

1.1         Background of Study
With the advent of web 2.0 and the emergence of numerous social networking sites (SNSs) like Facebook, Whatsapp, Baddo, Flirtomatic, Myspace, Twitter, Blackberry Messenger (BBM), and 2go available today, the socialization patterns of young people have changed dramatically. These social networking sites are used to mediate personal interactions and communication, as well as provide youths with a powerful space for socializing, learning, and participating in public life. According to Livingstone and Brake (2010:75), people engage themselves in the use of Social Networking Sites to ‘reinvent their personalities, showcase their social lives and potentially increase their social circle, at least, in terms of acquaintances’.
Earlier studies have demonstrated that SNSs are widely embraced by the younger generation, variously labelled ‘Generation Y (Digital Natives and the Net Generation),’ (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005:2). This, McLoughlin and Burgess (n.d) noted, could be as a result of the fact that SNSs break down barriers at different levels, such as private and public space, learning spaces and social spaces, and informal and formal communication modes. The affordability of social networking sites gadgets like mobile phones and computers further enable communication among broad circles of contacts, locally and globally, and permit the combination of activities of e-mail, messaging, website creation, diaries, photo albums and music or video uploading and downloading.
Therefore, using social networking sites and the Web has come to be associated with creating as well as receiving content, exchanging photos, resources and files; with the user in control and the capacity to rip, mix and burn media to create new meanings, images and sound bytes that can be distributed to a global audience, (McLoughlin et al, n.d). This has also raised a lot of concern among observers on the social safety and health of youths who utilize the SNSs.

Although social networks may encourage positive relationships and the exchange of contents, research has shown that the technology revolution has opened up a seemingly limitless world of unmediated information and can be a powerful tool for the commission of crime especially that “the idea of online sharing has been successfully taken to the social and personal level” as observed by Embi, & Hassan (2012:56). Youths face social risks on these sites just as they do in any other public space in which people congregate. These risks could include sexual seduction and solicitation, harmful contacts, loss of privacy, bullying, harassment, and bad mentoring. For instance, Dowdell, Burgess and Flores (2011), observed that “social networking sites, aided by technology-induced anonymity have popularized sex”. This buttresses CyberAtlas (2001) assertion as cited in Brown (2002) that the “social media have increased dramatically the availability of sexually explicit/implicit content”.


Sexual talk and displays are increasingly frequent and explicit in this mediated world so much so that people are using the internet to form friendships and romances and to initiate inordinate affairs (Katherine, 2006 as cited in Longe, Chiemeke, Onifade and Balogun 2007:196). Therefore, ‘sex’ minded people aresmarting on opportunities provided by SNSs to lure, solicit, and sexually exploit people. As such, “sexuality behaviour among students in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa is seriously going through transformation from what it used to be in the past”, (Ojo & Fasuba, 2005:112).

More recently, the use of social networking sites among students in Nigerian tertiary institutions and Kogi State to be specific has received wider attention in national, local and even international news media. This is as a result of increasing cases of sexual acts/abuse or ensuing crimes that are being masterminded and exploited via the instrumentality of SNSs, so much so that ‘it seems as though every week, there is a new search within the Nigerian social media sphere for a missing person, often students of tertiary institutions– from BBM to Twitter and the almighty Facebook” (Bella, 2012:3).
The above assertion and others, point to the level of laxity that not only characterizes the interaction modus on these social sites but also the laxity in the moral base of most of the users. Recently, Nigerian Newspaper pages were littered with stories of sexual relationship built on social networks with their tragic continuation off-line. The event leading to Cynthia Osokogu’s rape and death as captured by Bella (2012:2) below is a perfect example out of many other similar cases.....

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