THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF ACCOUNTING STUDENTS IN EKITI STATE
Background to the Study
Social media tools are rapidly changing the communications landscape.Their emergence has impacted significantly how students learn and the wayinstructors teach. In today higher education settings, instructors, students,and others collaborate on the tasks ofknowledge construction.The influence of social media on
learning and teaching environments isgrowing more each year. Social media
applications can reinforce class material and positively influence discussions collaborative work, and authoring. Educators and researchers are constantly experimenting with social media technologies hoping to stimulate critical thinking skills, collaboration, and knowledge construction.
The world today celebrates the improvement in communication technology which has broadened the scope of communication through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Internet has changed the way people interact and subsequently, communication and access to information hasbeen made easier. Use of internet is now not only about communication through emails but isalso a platform on which people interact. Today it is possible to attend a classroom beingtaught abroad while seated somewhere in rural part of Ekiti State or give evidence directly to aninternational court in real time with no need to travel, thanks to internet. Sunitha and Narayan(2010) observe that internet is now more about blogs, podcasts, Facebook, and Twitter – toolsand technology also called social media sites is a recent phenomenon. Social media sitesare the web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-publicprofile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share aconnection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by otherswithin the system (Boyd and Ellison, 2007).
Most of the members to these social media sites are young people who are still inschool. Al-Rahma and Othman (2013) inform that there is no doubt that social media hasgained wider acceptability and usability and is also becoming the most importantcommunication tools among students. A large percentage of teenagers in Nigeria spend theirtime online either using smartphones or their computers and other handheld gadgets such asipads and tablets browsing these social media sites. Students in all levels of educationseize every opportunity they get to access social Media sites to check on status onFacebook and what is trending on Twitter.
Service providers have also helped provide easy access to internet by going a step further toprovide special offers in order for people to access internet.Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore observed that the youth have really beenbehind the increasing demand for data to support their preferred communication channels.These preferred communication channels are the Social Media Sites (SNS).Teenagers are among the most avid users of technology in general and social network sites inparticular (Lenhart, Madden, Macgill & Smith (2007).
Recent reports find that youth spendnearly 10 hours per day using some form of technology with socially networked mediaplaying a large role in their daily lives (Rideout, Foehr & Robert 2010).Neelamalar & Chitra (2009), state that members of social sites can easily form groups(called communities) and share their opinions among themselves through discussionsthreads, forums and polls. On their research on the impact of social network onIndian youth they found out that 95% who are members in one or more socialmedia sites spend varying amount of time from less than an hour to five hoursevery day in social media sites. They also found out that 95% of the youth findthe social media sites as a platform for reconnecting with lost friends,maintaining existing relationships and sharing knowledge, ideas and opinions.
Moreno & Kelb (2012) observed that for adolescents social media sites are an
important medium for self-expression, communication with friends and peer feedback.They further assert that 22% of teenagers log on to their favorite social mediasites more than ten times a day. Studies have shown that adolescents often believesocial media sites reference to be accurate which may influence their ownperception and actions (Moreno & Kelb, 2012)Sunitha and Narayan (2010) observe that social media has become part of the daily lifeexperience for an increasing number of people. Ahn (2010) observes that while teenagersare engaged with technology they are more disengaged from another major component oftheir lives – school. No one denies that youth use these technologies to communicate with theworld, and they do so with high frequency and intensity (Lenhart et al., 2007).
Research has shown thatsocial media is negatively associated with academic performance of students. According toKarpinski (2009), Facebook users often devoted lesser time to their studies in comparison tonon-users did and subsequently had lower GPAs.Therefore as more teenagers rush to join and continue using SNS the question that comes tomind is, are these SNS having an impact on their academic performance or not. This studyintends to find out the impacts of online social media sites on academic performance ofstudents in high schools.
Statement of the Problem
Technological shift from analogue to digital has immensely changed the way people
communicate in society. It is something that cannot be wished away. Many teenagers havejoined and many more are still joining Social Media Sites (SNS). Sunitha and Narayan(2010) observe that social media has become part of the daily life experience forincreasing number of people. They further raise concerns such as how these SNS fit intothe lives of these teenagers and what they are learning from their participation. Is whateverbeing learnt and shared on these social media services for academic purposes?Lenhart et al, (2007) note that 85 percent of teens ages 12-17 engage at least occasionally insome form of electronic personal communication, which includes text messaging, sendingemail or instant messages, or posting comments on social media sites. Danah Boyd(2007) expresses concern and wonders if these online activities are like face to facefriendships, are they different, or complementary? These questions are very important forparents and educators to ask themselves. It is also very important for both the parents andeducators to know what type of information their children seek on these sites.
Social media websites content is least monitored and these sites though popular withteenagers, do have many issues such as addiction and even online intimidation which can haveadverse effects on their academic performance.
It istherefore vital to investigate whether apart from communicating if there is any other role thatthese social media sites play in academic achievement of Accounting Education students’ life. Also, in spite of the suggested benefits that may emanate from the use of social media, it is yet not ascertained the extent to which Accounting Education students access the social networks and the level of utilization as well as the impact of these media on their academic performance.
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