1.0 Background of Study
The social media is one of the best technological inventions in the history of man. With its development, advancements and the dive the global communities has taken into it, almost everyone is faced with the challenge of having to meet up and cope with drastic change the technology has brought into almost every facet of human life. It has brought substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals.
The world is celebrating the advancements in communication technology today simply because it has broadened the scope of social and business interaction even across national and international borders which have ultimately turned the entire world into a "Global village". The aim of the social media is to create and develop social interaction among people in which they share and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks in a Language style they understood and have created for themselves. But as it is, just like the two sides of a coin, this great advent has brought with it both negative and positive influence one of which is the primary aim of this research study; its Negative influence on students writing and speaking skill of English Language.
The evolution of social media has led to its use as the best medium for
Communication, whereby two-third of the world's internet population visits social
Networking sites on a regular basis, thus serving as a communication and connection tool particularly in connecting with old friends and meeting new ones either for mutual, business or academic interests.
A direct relationship exists between Social media language usage and the English competence and performance, however the darker side of this technological evolution has resulted in dilemmas such as the setback in the speaking and writing skills of English Language which once used to be the pride of any students who possesses it, particularly in this present generation of students who form the majority of users interacting through the use of the social media sites.
The main focus of this research study therefore, is to look into these social media language style and its usage and how it has significantly influenced the English Language Proficiency of Students in Post-Primary Educational Sector.
1.1 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This study intends to focus on the common language errors associated with the social media communication and how it has crept into the English Language proficiency of its users which is mainly characterized by students in Post-Primary Institutions.
. But, this shift away from more physical interaction has actually affected the way we speak and write Englishparticularly among students.
In recent times social media have been a major stay in the minds of most students at every level regardless of age or location, the manufacture and distribution of equally sophisticated but easily affordable mobile phones has not helped the situation in anyway as almost every students is easily accessible to one either belonging to them or their parents.
The purpose of this study generally is to examine the influence of Social Media on the speaking and writing skills of students in English Language
But specifically, this study seeks;
1. To ascertain how the exposure of students to social media has influenced their ability to communicate and compose grammatically correct English Language.
2. To examine how the social media language style including word abbreviations and acronyms has eroded the English writing ability of students in Secondary Schools.
3. To ascertain how the use of social media has negatively impacted on students' performance in SSCE and WAEC English Language examinations.
4. To ascertain if the social media they are exposed to has influenced positively on their competence and performance ability in English Language
5. To determine ways to checkmate the negative effects and encourage the positive influence of social media for academic excellence.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The ability of the Social media to reach a very large audience in a short period of time makes its negative influence on English Language proficiency spread like wild fire among students who are its major users. According to media research sources, it has been observed that students' participation in social media sites is having an increasing negative impact not only on their general academic performance, but also on their ability to employ formal literacy of English Language in communicative events, hence the alarming mass failures of students in English Language during WAEC and SSCE Examinations.
Since the advent of social media sites in the 1990s, the academic commitment of students has been facing a lot of neglect which to a large extent have brought about a rapid decline in their general academic performance. It therefore calls for a serious concern when students are not able to clearly differentiate between the formal usage of English Language, a core subject amongst others that determines their academic progress from the ungrammatical words coined from their consistent use of the social media so much that the ability to construct good English has become a major challenge. This is especially common to students in Secondary schools and Higher Institutions of learning due to the fact that the benefits of participating in social media site in recent times has gone beyond just social sharing of ideas to career building and income generating opportunities which on has become a strong point of attraction to its users, old and young alike who see it as a juicy offer. Whether these opportunities promote academic excellence for students is a question that needs to be answered.
The use of acronyms (an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word) are now commonplace substitutes to complete sentences; e.g. LOL (laugh out loud), OMG (Oh my God), TTYL (talk to you later) are just a few that demonstrate how social media speeds things up by lessening the need to write longer words and phrases that are grammatically correct in order to reduce space.
Thus, this research objective is to investigate the variables that influence the English proficiency among student as a result of social media interference on their speaking and writing skills.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In view of the problems stated above, the following research questions were raised:
1. How has the exposure of students to social media influenced their English Language communication skill?
2. Has the social media language style significantly eroded the writing ability of students in Secondary schools?
3. How has the social media impacted negatively on student academic performance in SSCE and WAEC English Language examinations?
4. How has the social media network they are exposed to affect positively on English Language competence and performance skills since it's the major language of communication among users?
5. How do we checkmate the negative influence of social media and encourage the positive effects for improved student's performance in English Language.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following hypotheses were generated by the researcher and were tested in this study.
1. Exposure of students to social media has no significant influence on their English Language Communication skills
2. Social media language style has no significant influence on the student's writing skills
3. The use of social media has no significant negative impact on the academic performance of students in SSCE and WAEC English Language examinations.
4. The type of social media the students are exposed to has no significant positive influence on their English Language ability
5. To checkmate the social media has no significant influence on English Language competence and performance
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The essence of this research work is to primarily study the Influence of social media on the English Language speaking and writing proficiency of students in institutions of learning. The research intends to focus on students of the African Church Grammar School, Ikeja, Lagos, for ease of data analysis.
This will reduce complexity that may arise as a result of having a very large population. But since in most cases the characteristics of students are generally similar, the research findings would be generalized to include all students in Lagos State Secondary Schools.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is significant to the teachers, parents and students. This study will serve as a guide and help the teachers of the school to know the influence the social media has and is still wielding over the academics of students especially on their English speaking and writing abilities, and also as an eye opener for them to assist in enlightening and creating awareness for the students, enumerating to them the possible negative influences it could have on them if not checked.
The study is of significant to the parents in the sense that they will have an informed knowledge of the possible negative effects of the social media on their children and serve as a watch-dog to help checkmate the unnecessary exposure of their children to the social networking sites, after all the parent is the first teacher of any child.
In the same vein, the study will enable the students of the senior level to have an understanding that, apart from the social benefits of this social networking site which is more projected, using the sites more than necessary will pose possible dangers to their life and career. It will be relevant in assisting students in understanding the diversity of social media. It will provide relevance material for students and other researchers undertaking similar research.
1.7 THE LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The students are the major victims of the social media more often than anyone else. The fact that Information Communication Technology (ICT) has become a Compulsory part of the School curriculum in almost all levels of Academic Institutions has opened them up to exposures beyond their abilities, and the only way to meet up is to give attention to it even at the expense of academic concerns.
One of the Limitations of this study however is that student's exposure to internet has become a compulsory activity in Schools as part of acquiring Technological knowledge and development.
Another Limitation is the cheap availability of internet enabled mobile device from which the internet is easily accessed without supervision or control.
Therefore this study will be limited by data and elements that are not under the control of the researcher as stated above.
1.8 DE-LIMITATION OF STUDY
What social media has done is enable us to communicate with a much larger number of people on a global scale in a way that we only really used to be able to do on a local level. This is great when it means we are keeping friendships alive over great distances, but also there is an increasing demands placed on an individual to keep a much larger number of contacts going simultaneously. For example, the average number of friends a person has on Facebook in Nigeria is around 300 - even if you are only actually friends with 10% of that number, you still have 30 numbers of people to keep track with and the result is an ever increasing line of communications.
Since the Internet Technology, which is the major channel of social media networks has become a mandatory line of study in the academic environments, this study will seek to explore the various variables that have contributed to its negative rather than a positive influence it has wielded over the students and their ability to employ good communicative and writing skill of English Language.
1.9 DEFINITION OF OPERATIONAL TERMS
The following are key terms used in this Research Work:
1. Social Media - They are forms of electronic communication which facilitate interactive base on certain interests. Kaplan and Helen (2010) defined Social Media as a group of internet based application that allows the creation and exchange of user generated content.
2. Social Networking Sites -A website where people put information about them and can send to others.
3. Social Networking -The use of internet to make information about yourself available to other people especially people you share an interest with to send messages to them.
4. Media -Are all those media technologies that are intended to reach a large audience by mass communication. "They are messages communicated through the mass medium to a number of people"(Bittner, pg19)
5. Academic -It is concerned with Studying from books as opposed by a practical work.
6. Students -Someone who is Studying at a University or School. Someone who is very interested in a particular subject.
7. Computer -A computer is a machine that receives or stores or process data quickly according to a stored program.
8. English Competence and Performance - This is the ability to employ English grammar in communicative events