The study examined influence of social media on adolescent sexuality and life style in Oguta LGA Imo State. The study was guided by three objectives and research questions which are to determine the proportion of adolescents using social media in Oguta LGA, ascertain the proportion of adolescents who engage in sexual behavior on social media in Oguta LGA and to examine the relationship between social media and adolescent sexuality and sex behaviour in Oguta LGA. Bandura’s social cognitive theory was adopted for the theorethical framework. Data for the research was collected through the distribution of copies of questionnaire to various respondents. The survey method was used as the research design and the method of data analysis is the use of frequency tables and percentages. The population of the study is 3,933 made up of the undergraduate students of Imo State University. The sample size was determined using the Taro Yamane statistic and the number derived was four hundred (400). Four hundred questionnaire was distributed and three hundred and thirty was returned. The study found out that
adolescents using social media in Oguta LGA to a large extent, 73.8% of adolescents engage in sexting and there is a bivariate analysis shows a significant relationship between social media use and adolescents sexuality. The study recommended that the youths need to be trained on better usage of the social media so as to minimize time wastage on chatting and other irrelevant engagements that are not of major importance on their lives, all the stakeholders and especially Nigerian Communication Commission and network providers’ needs to come up with means of filtering information that reaches the young people through social media platforms. This will help minimize exposing them to pornographic and other unwarranted materials etc.
- Background to the Study
Adolescence is a time of self-discovery, increased social independence and transformation into a unique individual. While peers, parents, and educators have a direct impact on adolescents during daily face-to-face interactions, Internet-based entities are playing an increasingly large role during this critical life stage (Strasburger 2018). Internet use for social purposes has increased dramatically over recent years, with 95% of Nigerian adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 regularly ‘going’ online, and 80% participating in some type of social media website (Lenhart 2016).
Social networking sites (SNS) are a relatively new phenomenon and increasingly popular among adolescents. These are websites that permit social interaction among users and allow users to create online profiles that may (or may not) represent the user’s real-life identity. Users personalize profile pages with images, audio, text and can designate ‘friends’ and other relationships. These websites are attractive to adolescents because they allow for individualized self promotion as well as inclusion into a group that may not be attainable in physical reality. During a time when it is as important to be unique as it is to fit in, SNSs allow adolescents to manufacture an image they want the world to see (O’keeffe 2017).
Social media are the collection of online communication channels dedicated to community based input, interactions, content sharing and collaboration. Social media are computer mediated technologies that enable the user to create and share personal content and to participate in social networking. Social media usage is different from usage of online content. Online content usage is just having access to the information that is made available on the internet, users do not have control over what is put online, however, with social media content is being created by the user. Examples of social media sites include Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter and Snap chat. The use of social media has become a routine way of life for most people, especially young adults. Several factors influence social media use. Recent research on Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp shows over a billion users in the last ten years (Karikari, 2017).
Social media have both good and bad sides. Young people join groups’ communities, share updates and information. This multi interactivity created by social media sites and the ease of the process promotes some behavioral engagement among users. Though social media has a lot of advantages, its disadvantages cannot be ignored. Some of the disadvantages of social media include cyber bullying, sexual experimentation, internet addiction, sleep deprivation and sexting. A recent survey reveals that 20% of teens have sent or posted nude photographs and videos of themselves on social media platforms (O’keeffe, 2017). Again, a study among University of Nigeria students to examine sexting found that about 69% had ever received sexually explicit photos or messages while 38% reported that they had ever sent sext messages (Ahiataku, 2016).
Among young people, social media usage is influenced by a number of factors such as social presence (Karikari, Osei-frimpong, and Owusu-frimpong, 2017). This means that social presence of a media influences the recipients’ understanding of contents generated by sender. These influence the user’s feelings in participating in social interaction.
Though social media is mostly used for communication, it is however not limited to communication purposes. It also provides platform for behavior and experiences, Behaviors related to communication and level of interactions to a large extent have been influenced by the degree of social presence of selected medium (Karikari, Osei-frimpong, and Owusu-frimpong, 2017).
Young adult is generally a person ranging in age from their teens or early twenties to their thirties. This stage of life is normally characterized by physical and mental development. In sub – Sahara Africa, young adults are classified as people aged 15- 24 years. The youth make up a population of about 22.4% of the Nigerian population according to National Population Census. This stage commences the attainment of reproductive maturity. It is at this stage that most reproductive and sexual habits are developed hence a very critical age. Some of the sexual and reproductive health issues include sexual practices, dating relationships and other practices such as female genital cutting and early marriages. This is the stage they develop negative sexual vibes such as multiple partners, drugs use and premarital sex.
At this stage of life, most youth like to keep to themselves rather than spend time with parents and family. This makes it difficult for most parents to communicate well with them. Therefore, information on sexual issues is mostly obtained from their peers, friends and social media.
Studies have shown that most people initiate sex in their youthful years (Benotsch, 2013). A number of factors influence these behaviors. An individual behavior is influenced by factors within the social environment, therefore the youth are influenced by the people, legislation which are present in their environment (Olumide & Ojengbede, 2016).
One of the factors in today’s world influencing sexual behavior among the youth is social media. Social media networks such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram. Young people learn by observing human behavior portrayed on these platforms and then imbibe these behavior especially when the characters on these social media platforms are rewarded or when they appear not to suffer any consequences from these behaviors (Olumide & Ojengbede, 2016). This is more especially because this is the stage the youth develop impressions and perceptions of life and seeking role models and identifying behaviors as right or wrong or worthy of emulation.
It is important for parents to monitor content of social media of their children. According to survey 75% of teenagers now uses their own cell phones and 27% of them uses it for social media (O’keeffe, 2017). Social media is now seen to have much influence on sexual and reproductive health behaviors and should be investigated. Therefore, this study seeks to examine the influence of social media on adolescent sexuality and life style in Oguta LGA Imo State
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Technology brought about social media which is a valuable tool but is somewhat misused by today‘s youth. The two main forms that the youth use to access social media are cell phones and the internet which have brought about major changes in their lifestyle.With the current exposure and easy access that the youth are able to get out of these mediums, this study will establish the impacts it has have on the youth. Issues that are expected to arise out of this research include exposure to problematic materials, online victimization of youth, exposition to unnecessary online marketing and advertising, exposure to dangerous online behaviours, issues of identity theft, the emergence of digital divide and generation gap between parents and the youth.
Social media has led to wastage of time, building of shallow and harmful relationships and eventually, causing rather than alleviating, users‘ depression, loneliness, social isolation and withdrawal among others. Young people search for all kind of means to solve sexual challenges that they face. They are however, not able to open up to their parents and this hinders parents from being able to help them with some of the challenges they might be facing. Most of them get their source of information through social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. Young adults are the heaviest users of social media by a substantial margin, research shows that 90% of young adults use social media. 82% of young adults that are online use Facebook and about 55% of this crowd uses Instagram. There have been an increased number of young people who uses social media. Young people log on to their favorite media site more than 10 times a day and more than half of young adults log on to social media sites more than once a day. Sexual behaviors are influenced by a number of factors such as poor parental guidance, peer pressure and social media, however not much concern has been given to important factors such as social media.
In Nigeria, most of the studies on young people’s sexual health had focused on other aspects of sexual health such as sexual behaviors and parental communication. However, very little is known about social media use and sexual behaviors as it influence their lifestyle. Thus this prompted the researcher to examine the influence social media have on on adolescent sexuality and life style in Oguta LGA Imo State.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of this study is to determine the influence of social media on adolescent sexuality and life style in Oguta LGA Imo State. The specific objectives are to;
- Determine the proportion of adolescents using social media in Oguta LGA
- Ascertain the proportion of adolescents who engage in sexual behavior on social media in Oguta LGA
- To examine the relationship between social media and adolescent sexuality and sex behaviour in Oguta LGA
1.4 Research questions
The following research question guided the study
- To what extent do adolescents using social media in Oguta LGA?
- What proportion of adolescents engage in sexting on social media in Oguta LGA?
- Is there any relationship between social media use and adolescents sexuality in Oguta LGA?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H1 There is no significant relationship between the use of social media, adolescent sexuality and sex behaviour in Oguta LGA.
H2 There is no significant relationship between the engagement in sexting and adolescent sex behaviour in Oguta LGA.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings from this research on the influence of social media on adolescent sexuality and sex behaviour will be beneficial to young adults, policy makers and health workers.
The Young Adults: This research would give a detailed report on some of the sexual issues discussed and patronized by young adults on social media and how they interpret these issues and use the information to make decisions on their sexual behavior and choices. It would also give detailed information on how social media can influence young people’s sexual choices such as contraceptive use, casual sex and multiple partners. Also, individual students would learn to be mindful and aware of some of the ways social media has been able to influence their sexual behavior and this will help them limit the kind of information they access on social media.
Policy Makers: provide policy makers at the national, regional and district level and other relevant agencies on the way forward in addressing young people’s sexual issues.
Health Workers: This would also enable health workers to design interventions targeted at addressing risky sexual behavior among young people. Health workers would also use the findings to make decisions for improve sexual health among young adults.
1.7 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The study seeks to find out the influence of social media on adolescent sexuality and sex behaviour in Oguta LGA. While the study recognizes that new interactive technologies have impacts on other age groups outside the youth bracket, and as such this study will limit itself only to the youths in Oguta LGA Imo State.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The limitations of this study includes:
- Time: It was not unusual that the researcher was constrained with time limit as it posed a serious threat to the successful coverage intended in the course of this
- Finance: Due to the economic hardship that is faced by the people including the researcher, the possibility of a larger sample size which may have helped the work to cover much areas becomes impossible hence this work will be limited to tertiary institutios in Oguta, Imo state.
1.10 Definition of Terms
Adolescent: These are young persons in the process of developing from a child into an adult living in Oguta LGA, Imo State.
Internet: a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.
Sex Behaviour: This is the art of engaging sexual activities and display and display of tendencies towards sex activities by adolescents in Oguta LGA
Social Media: The term “Social media” is defined as the application (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.) that allows users to converse and interact with each other; to create, edit and share new forms of textual, visual and audio content, and to categorize, label and recommend existing forms of content.
Format: Word & PDF
Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.