By Dennis Wendo
Technology, the internet, and social media has radically changed the world of communication. It has affected all sectors of human endeavors.
By and large, the evolution of ICT has yielded positive societal change with immense value addition growth; nevertheless, it has given birth to unprecedented challenges that are now becoming a threat world-over.
Cyber- related crimes such as phishing, cyber extortion, cryptojacking, money laundering and cyber espionage are taking over courtesy of the internet.
Of great concern is the impact of social media and parenting.
Social media services are geared towards boosting connections, interactions and building communities by enabling users to create, co-operate, modify, share and engage with each other with ease, timely and cost effectively.
The world has been digitized into an ‘internet village-like hub’ with social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, instagram, linkedIn, myspace, skype ,podcasts, weblogs, youtube, google among others now being used extensively for the purposes of communication and education.
Embracing ICT is now the new norm as evidenced during this Covid-19 pandemic period. Our learning institutions at one point were all closed and online classes and training adopted. A majority of institutions both private and public have encouraged their staff to work from home; facilitated via internet connectivity and virtual meetings. This has made a majority of households to have smart phones, laptops and internet connections.
The young people; right from primary, secondary, tertiary to the universities have embraced social media and use it to exchange ideas, feelings, personal information, images and videos. Despite the positives gained; vices have been cited among the school-going youths, teenagers and families at length.
Cases of academic distractions, psychological distress, anxiety, bullying, abnormal isolation; social withdrawals are on increase. Our youths are least utilizing the social media platforms objectively but largely for leisure.
Our teenagers and youths have become lazy, with little or no time for research but with a quick appetite for short-cuts, quick-results via internet applications.
Bizarre and unimaginable happenings are taking place via social media platforms such as; massive fake job adverts, lotteries, scholarships, cultism-luring, phishing, online radicalization, terrorism recruitment and dating.
Many people have fallen prey to these online offers, losing huge amounts of cash ; personal data; joining wrong groups and forums, engaging in dating(s) that have resulted in the increased strange love-triangles, suicides, homicides and femicides.
Many teenagers have been forced to employ alternative methods of getting quick monies to satisfy their social media egos and engagements. Incidences of online porn-site recruitment among the youths have become rampant with abnormal psycho-social behaviors on rise.
Various theories such as the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and Theory of Reasoned Behavior (TRB) have alluded to the fact that the influence of attitudes and behavioral intention on the use of technology/system cannot be over-stressed.
“The theories agree that the intention to perform certain behavior precedes the actual behavior. If students or the teenagers understand that; the use of social media for academic activities will enhance their academic performance, there is the possibility that such platforms will be employed for rightfully”
Parents who are convinced that the use of social media would enhance academic performance of their children; adopt a style that would encourage such. Parental control and guidance are effective in reducing the negative situations that children face through the Internet medium, with fairness not to compromise the future of the child.
There exists a close link in parenting styles to children’s use of social media and academic performance. Parents need to know how to teach their children to make appropriate decisions around technology and adopt the best parenting style.
As we embrace and adopt the CBC education system, there is a need for the enforcers to incorporate social media in the computer studies curriculum moving forward.