Chapter One


Background of the Study

The internet was created by the American Military as a means of communication and has been in existence since the 1950‘s. Up until the mid to late eighties commercial organizations and educational institutions mainly used the Internet. This was due to high costs involved. The rapid development of technology has seen improvement in communication links and a lowering of costs. The implication of this is that the Internet is now widely available to more people. The Internet is a global network of computers linked together over large distances. It is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide (Geoff, 2010). The internet is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies. Unlike traditional broadcasting media, such as radio and television, the Internet does not have a centralized distribution system. Instead, an individual who has Internet access can communicate directly with anyone else on the Internet, post information for general consumption, retrieve information, use distant applications and services, or buy and sell products. The internet is also a forum to promote group discussion, which are time, distance and technology independent. There are many forms this group discussion can take. These include, the form of blogs; chat rooms where everyone comes together in a host area and communicates with each other via the keyboard; and in more developed countries it can take the form of video conferencing, whereby the use of a small video camera and microphone, thus members of the group can actually see and hear each other. Group discussion is one of the major ways of learning prevalent in universities, and the use of the internet among its members contribute immensely in promoting these forums. The Internet can also be instrumental to this fundamental change in the processes and organizational structure of post-secondary teaching and learning. Following the idea above, the Internet can transform undergraduate learning process to studentcentred learning rather than institution and faculty centred instruction, contributing immensely to proper development of university undergraduates. Since the Internet is now available to a wider sector of the global population, many educational establishments including universities have seized on its educational potential, as a valuable source of information for students looking for ideas for projects and assignments. World Internet Usage statistics (2011) estimated that there are over 60 million web sites on the internet. The chances are that any information however obscure can be found by any individual, those in the university environment inclusive. The only tools required to find this information is patience, a decent search engine installed on a computer and internet connectivity. It also serves as a useful tool for university lecturers in helping to prepare lesson plans as there are a number of sites, dedicated to providing educational material (Ibegwam, 2009). A university could be seen as an institution of higher education and research which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects and provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education (Aronowitz, 2000). Gutek (2008) has it that Universities are institutions of higher education that offer programs beyond the high school level. The author further explains that universities provide necessary training for individuals wishing to enter professional careers and also strive to develop students‘ creativity, insight, and analytical skills. The original Latin word “universitas” refers in general to a number of persons associated into one body, a society, company, community, guild, corporation, etc (Lewis & Short, 1966). At the time of the emergence of urban town life and medieval guilds, specialised associations of students and teachers with collective legal rights usually guaranteed by charters issued by princes, prelates, or the towns in which they were located came to be denominated by this general term. Like other guilds, they were self-regulating and determined the qualifications of their members (Marcia, 1997). The original Latin word referred to degree-granting institutions of learning in Western Europe, where this form of legal organisation was prevalent, and from where the institution spread around the world. Consequently, a university undergraduate is a student or a member of a university who has not received a first, especially a bachelor’s, degree. Hence undergraduate education is an education level taken in order to gain one’s first tertiary degree, (Shields, 1995; Scott, 2006). This inadvertently means that the university is a system designed to contribute to development of the people it harbours. Therefore, undergraduates are one of the major groups that a university contributes to their development.

Statement of the Problem

University undergraduates are among the very populous group that access the internet most often and reveal a certain degree of internet addiction. It is evident that young people show a remarkable ease to become addicted. Hence, the needless worry and commotion about constant being online, accessing and using the internet among young people is grave. Most undergraduates go out of their way in buying gadgets, phones and expensive equipment that will consistently keep them online and alert to the happenings on the internet and especially when it revolves around social networking, gambling, cyber dating, modelling, football, movies, music and a whole lot of other aspects. Most spend extensively both financially and long hours both day and night socialising in the internet. This study therefore seeks to determine the contributions and challenges of this internet addiction on the development of university undergraduates and the associated challenges

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Updated: 25th May 2018 — 11:21 am