Impact Of Social Networking Sites on Youth

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30th May 2017 Media Reference this

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Just when many of us thought we understood how to use email, could shop online, and search the web for recipes or the long- lost instruction manual for a piece of equipment in the garage, the web is evolving. Now we hear about blogs, podcasts, Facebook, Myspace and Orkut. These are some of the tools and technology associated with a recent phenomenon called social networking and it is everywhere.

Social networking has become part of the daily life experience for an increasing number of people. The rapid adoption of social network sites by teenagers in the United States and in many other countries around the world raises some important questions. Why do teenagers flock to these sites? What are they expressing on them? How do these sites fit into their lives? What are they learning from their participation? Are these online activities like face-to-face friendships – or are they different, or complementary? (Danah Boyd, 2007). Penuel and Riel define social networking as “a set of people and the relationships between them”. That definition is found today in the social networking services that promote the development of online communities of people. Social networking such as Facebook, Orkut, Myspace, Flickr and Youtube are sites where users apply for membership and maintain their personal profile information in a centrally organized database. Each network members controls access to their profile by accepting or declining requests from other network members to be “friends”. By expanding and developing their network of friends, social networking members are able to maintain online relationships for work, study, special- interests or leisure- related purposes.

Social networking services utilize the participation technology and software tools to facilitate communication and interaction between members. Social software communication tools include blogs, wikis, instant messaging, chat rooms, message boards and social bookmarking. Members use these tools to share online ideas, documents, photos, videos, and favorite websites actually almost anything. As more people participate in social networking, the question becomes is it merely a social activity or are they involved in learning?

And social networking websites is very popular among the youth so that they contribute the majority percentage of the users of these sites. So, the researcher wanted to study the impact of these social networking sites on their education.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Jeff Cain (2008), in the research paper “Online Social Networking Issues Within Academia and Pharmacy Education” has discussed that Facebook is a tool that aids students in developing their identities and finding their ”fit” within a college community. Helping students connect and stay in contact with old and new friends is touted as one of the significant benefits of Facebook. Making connections on campus which help them feel that they belong may be an important factor in student retention. These capabilities along with the many facets of communicating with their friends make social networking sites very appealing. Although extremely popular, especially among younger generations, social networking sites are not without their issues. Controversy surrounds the use of these sites, specifically in terms of privacy, safety, and attitudes toward revealing personal information to the world. Most of the press concerning these sites has been negative in focus. Newspapers and magazines related to higher education are replete with cases of college students who experienced negative repercussions from questionable activities that were made public online.9,15-26 The list of incidences are long and revolve around a myriad of issues related to photos, posts, and/or personal profiles.

Social networking sites such as Facebook provide individuals with a way of maintaining and strengthening social ties, which can be beneficial in both social and academic settings. These same sites, however, also pose a danger to students’ privacy, safety, and professional reputations if proper precautions are not taken. Colleges and schools of pharmacy would be advised to consider how these issues might affect their students. At a minimum, schools should take appropriate steps to educate students about these matters. Research is needed on professional students’ usage and attitudes toward online social networking sites. Monitoring and usage of these sites by institutions venture into legal grey areas concerning the Fourth Amendment, the right to privacy, and duty of care, and should be approached with caution. Discussion is warranted on how, if at all, material found on student social networking sites should be used in colleges of pharmacy admissions decisions and/or matters of a disciplinary nature. Further research is needed on how best to address the issues surrounding online social networking.

Ana M Martinez Aleman, Katherine Lynk Wartman and M Aleman Ana (2009) in their book Online Social Networking on Campus said that Teenager’s online social needs are similar to those of college students. High school students want to stay up to date with their friend’s status; they plan activities online; they are “social searchers” who investigate other users with whom they have a real- life connection, and also like college students, they perceive their Facebook community to correspond to their existing real-life social relationships at school or other institutional affiliations (sports teams, music groups, etc.). Though perhaps not a user community that engages in “social browsing” to connect with other users offline, the high school user seems less alien and disparate to Facebook’s traditional and original niche user than the older adult user.

Henk Huijser (2007) explores potential educational applications of Web 2.0 technologies, and cuts through some of the hype generated around these technologies, as well as around characteristics of Generation Y, and their implications for learning and teaching. Web 2.0 technologies both reflect and drive a blurring of the lines between students and university educators, which has a potentially profound impact on learning and teaching in higher education. This paper argues that Web 2.0 technologies, and Social Network Sites in particular, offer exciting opportunities but that educational applications of these technologies should be based on sound pedagogical principles and driven by empirical research and careful evaluation, if they are to effect meaningful learning experiences for all students.

Vincent Miller (2008) in his research paper “New Media, Networking and Phatic Culture” has discussed that This article will demonstrate how the notion of ‘phatic communion’ has become an increasingly significant part of digital media culture alongside the rise of online networking practices. Through a consideration of the new media objects of blogs, social networking profiles and microblogs, along with their associated practices, I will argue, that the social contexts of ‘individualization’ and ‘network sociality’, alongside the technological developments associated with pervasive communication and ‘connected presence’ has led to an online media culture increasingly dominated by phatic communications. That is, communications which have purely social (networking) and not informational or dialogic intents. I conclude with a discussion of the potential nihilistic consequences of such a culture.

Doris de Almeida Soares and Escola Naval (2008) in their resarch paper “Understanding class blogs as a tool for language development” it has been said that Web 2.0 has allowed for the development of cyber spaces where any computer user can create their own public pages to share knowledge, feelings and thoughts inviting linguistic interactions with people around the globe. This innovation has caught the attention of language practitioners who wish to experiment with blogging to enhance the teaching and learning experience. In 2007 I set up a class blog with my nine pre-intermediate EFL students in a language school in Brazil. This experience gave rise to two central questions: a) did my students see our blog as a learning tool? and b) what was blogging like in other language teaching contexts? To answer the first question I carried out some Exploratory Practice for three months. As for the second question, I designed an online survey which was answered by 16 members of a community of practice called the Webheads. Ultimately I learned that my students saw our blog as a learning tool and that blogs are being used in different ways around the world. This article presents the rationale behind using blogs in language classes, describes my research process and discusses the understanding my students and I have gained from exploring our own practices.

R. Cachia, R. Compano and O. Da Costa (2005) in their research paper “Students Actually Use the Internet for Education” says that New research released by the National School Boards Association reveals data showing we all might need to reevaluate our assumptions: It turns out kids are actually using the Internet for educational purposes. In fact, according to the study, “Creating & Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social–and Educational–Networking,” the percentage of children specifically discussing schoolwork online outpaces the percentage that spend time downloading music.

For the survey, the NSBA teamed up with Grunwald Associates to poll 1,277 9- to 17-year-olds, 1,039 parents, and 250 school district leaders who make decisions on Internet policy. It found that a full 50 percent of students who are online spend time discussing schoolwork, and 59 percent spend time talking about education-related topics, including college or college planning; learning outside of school; news; careers or jobs; politics, ideas, religion, or morals; and schoolwork.

Further, these students are spending almost as much time on the Internet visiting websites and social networking services (nine hours per week for teens) as they spend watching television (10 hours).

A full 96 percent of students surveyed responded that they use the Internet for social networking purposes, including Facebook, MySpace, Webkins, and Nick.com chat. Seventy-one percent said they use these services at least on a weekly basis.

Yet, the study asserts, the vast majority of school districts have stringent rules against nearly all forms of social networking during the school day–even though students and parents report few problem behaviors online. Indeed, both district leaders and parents believe that social networking could play a positive role in students’ lives and they recognize opportunities for using it in education–at a time when teachers now routinely assign homework that requires Internet use to complete. In light of the study findings, school districts may want to consider reexamining their policies and practices and explore ways in which they could use social networking for educational purposes.

Jeff Cain (2008) in “Online Social Networking Issues Within Academia and Pharmacy Education” it has been said that Facebook is a tool that aids students in developing their identities and finding their ”fit” within a college community. Helping students connect and stay in contact with old and new friends is touted as one of the significant benefits of Facebook. Making connections on campus which help them feel that they belong may be an important factor in student retention. These capabilities along with the many facets of communicating with their friends make social networking sites very appealing. Although extremely popular, especially among younger generations, social networking sites are not without their issues. Controversy surrounds the use of these sites, specifically in terms of privacy, safety, and attitudes toward revealing personal information to the world. Most of the press concerning these sites has been negative in focus. Newspapers and magazines related to higher education are replete with cases of college students who experienced negative repercussions from questionable activities that were made public online.9,15-26 The list of incidences are long and revolve around a myriad of issues related to photos, posts, and/or personal profiles.

Social networking sites such as Facebook provide individuals with a way of maintaining and strengthening social ties, which can be beneficial in both social and academic settings. These same sites, however, also pose a danger to students’ privacy, safety, and professional reputations if proper precautions are not taken. Colleges and schools of pharmacy would be advised to consider how these issues might affect their students. At a minimum, schools should take appropriate steps to educate students about these matters. Research is needed on professional students’ usage and attitudes toward online social networking sites. Monitoring and usage of these sites by institutions venture into legal grey areas concerning the Fourth Amendment, the right to privacy, and duty of care, and should be approached with caution. Discussion is warranted on how, if at all, material found on student social networking sites should be used in colleges of pharmacy admissions decisions and/or matters of a disciplinary nature. Further research is needed on how best to address the issues surrounding online social networking.

Danah M. Boyd and N.B. Ellison (2007) in their research paper “Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship” it has been said that Social network sites (SNSs) are increasingly attracting the attention of academic and industry researchers intrigued by their affordances and reach. This special theme section of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication brings together scholarship on these emergent phenomena. In this introductory article, the authors describe features of SNSs and propose a comprehensive definition. They then present one perspective on the history of such sites, discussing key changes and developments. After briefly summarizing existing scholarship concerning SNSs, they discuss the articles in this special section and conclude with considerations for future research.

The work described above and included in this special theme section contributes to an on-going dialogue about the importance of social network sites, both for practitioners and researchers. Vast, uncharted waters still remain to be explored. Methodologically, SNS researchers’ ability to make causal claims is limited by a lack of experimental or longitudinal studies. Although the situation is rapidly changing, scholars still have a limited understanding of who is and who is not using these sites, why, and for what purposes, especially outside the U.S. Such questions will require large-scale quantitative and qualitative research. Richer, ethnographic research on populations more difficult to access (including non-users) would further aid scholars’ ability to understand the long-term implications of these tools. They hope that the work described here and included in this collection will help build a foundation for future investigations of these and other important issues surrounding social network sites.

M. Brendesha Tynes (2007), in “Internet Safety Gone Wild? Sacrificing the Educational and Psychosocial Benefits of Online Social Environments” it has been said that Many Internet safety and parenting experts suggest that parents prohibit their teens from social networking sites and other online spaces where predators may lurk. But we may do adolescents a disservice when we curtail their participation in these spaces, because the educational and psychosocial benefits of this type of communication can far outweigh the potential dangers. These benefits include developing cognitive skills that are consistent with those required in educational settings and perspective-taking skills that are necessary for citizenship in an increasingly multiracial society. Alternative strategies for keeping adolescents safe online should build on the increasing technological awareness and sophistication of teens themselves.

Danah Boyd (2007) in her research paper “Why Youth Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life” has said that Although news media give the impression that all online teens in the United States are on MySpace, this is not the case. For this reason, I want to take a moment to discuss who is not participating. In 2004, PEW found that 87 percent of teenagers aged twelve to seventeen have some level of Internet access.5 In a study conducted in late 2006, they found that 55 percent of online teens aged twelve to seventeen have created profiles on social network sites with 64 percent of teens aged fifteen to seventeen.6 While these numbers are most likely low,7 it is very clear that not all high school students participate in online communities that require public content creation like social network sites.

Gender also appears to influence participation on social network sites. Younger boys are more likely to participate than younger girls (46 percent vs. 44 percent) but older girls are far more likely to participate than older boys (70 percent vs. 57 percent). Older boys are twice as likely to use the sites to flirt and slightly more likely to use the sites to meet new people than girls of their age. Older girls are far more likely to use these sites to communicate with friends they see in person than younger people or boys of their age.10 While gender differences do exist and should not be ignored, most of what I discuss in this article concerns practices that are common to both boys and girls.

The research paper “Exploring the Educational Potential of Social Networking Sites: The Fine Line between Exploiting Opportunities and Unwelcome Imposition” by Henk Huijser (2007) University of Southern Queensland explores potential educational applications of Web 2.0 technologies, and cuts through some of the hype generated around these technologies, as well as around characteristics of Generation Y, and their implications for learning and teaching. Web 2.0 technologies both reflect and drive a blurring of the lines between students and university educators, which has a potentially profound impact on learning and teaching in higher education. This paper argues that Web 2.0 technologies, and Social Network Sites in particular, offer exciting opportunities but that educational applications of these technologies should be based on sound pedagogical principles and driven by empirical research and careful evaluation, if they are to effect meaningful learning experiences for all students.

In the research paper Social networking sites within Higher Education – threat or opportunity? by Neville Palmer, Jomo Batola, Margaret Jones and Sheila Baron (2007) it has been said that a Southampton Solent University, students predominantly use Facebook to advertise social and sporting events, make new friends, or chat among existing friends. There are currently over 6,200 members of the “official” Southampton Solent network, which represents around 40% of all students at the University, though there may be more in other groups. Currently there seem to be at least 150 different groups representing areas of interest under the umbrella of the University, ranging from the bizarre to sports clubs, social activities and academic related interests. Most of these groups have a small membership. There are also alumni groups, and some specific course related groups. These seem to have been formed, not by staff, but by students. For example there is a group for journalism students and another for business studies. There is a mixture of social chitchat, but also course related self help discussion. The journalism students are also giving each other leads on where they can get work experience.

Forums are a form of Social Software that can be a useful tool in education. Forums are also related to Blogs, though a blog is centered on an individual, whereas a forum is centered more on an area of interest (Holzsclag 2005). There are many blogs on the Internet posted by individuals to discuss subjects ranging from their personal lives to World events. However some students are using blogs to post and discuss their work and ideas so that others can comment and advice on it (Polly 2007). A forum can be useful when a particular topic or area of interest requires discussion on the Web. This concept is being used at Southampton Solent University.

In the research paper “Youth Impact” I has been said that A combination of the words “iPod” and “broadcast,” podcasts are digital media files distributed over the Internet and listened to on a portable media player. A related term is “vodcast,” which describes podcasts that incorporate video. Podcasts were originally conceived as a way for people to create their own radio shows without needing a recording studio or transmission network. They evolved into a means of recording and distributing speeches, classes and training sessions, and public safety messages. They are especially popular in K-12 schools and colleges: Teachers and professors use them to record lessons, debates, and guest speakers for absent students or later use, and students use them to record their presentations, projects, and experiments

Podcasters and vodcasters record their audio and video sessions, edit them, and upload them to a feed. Listeners and viewers use a “podcatcher” service such as iTunes to search for and subscribe to one or more feeds. When a new podcast or vodcast is released on the feed, the audio or video file will download automatically to the subscribers’ iPod, computer, or other device so that they can listen to or view it at their leisure.

The review of literature gave a clear idea on the use of social networking websites and the aim of the study was formulated to find the Impact of Social Networking Websites on the education of Youth and the objective is to find the trends in the Internet use by youth and to study the impact of social networking websites on the education of youth.

METHODOLOGY

For conducting the research, the researcher has chosen the following two methodologies: Survey and In-depth Interview. The researcher adopted the Stratified Random Sampling technique. Stratified random sampling is done when the universe is heterogeneous i.e. if the people are of different kinds. So the universe is sub-divided into many homogeneous groups or strata. And the random sampling is done in each stratum and the sample size from each stratum is taken proportionally. The total number of samples taken were 500 i.e., 125 in each stratum. The researcher has sub- divided the universe as following strata

Stratum 1- +1 & +2 students

Stratum 2- Engineering students

Stratum 3- medical students

Stratum 4- Arts & Science and others

Also, the researcher has interviewed experts from the field to know their perspectives of the impact of the Internet on education and to know the impact of social networking sites and how far it complements the students’ education.

ANALYSIS

Survey: Statistical Analysis

Survey has been done among five hundred respondents, one hundred and twenty five students from each stratum. Among the five hundred respondents 295 were male and 205 were female. 100 students accessing Internet for more than five years, 140 students for 3-5 years, highest of all- 205 students for 1-3 years and the lowest of all- 55 students for less than a year.

210 students access Internet several times in a week, 125- once in a week, 70- once in a day, 45- several times in a day and 50- rarely. When asked about the number of years the students are using social networking sites (SNS), majority of the students from all stratum have selected the option 1-3 years. Majority of the students sit in the social networking sites several times in a week. Next highest is the option once in a week. The lowest is several times a day.

Maximum number of respondents uses social networking sites more than one hour and exactly only 185 students sit for less than hour. Maximum respondents said the SNS is rarely useful for their education and 140 students said it is useful only during the exams. 65 said it is useful for the education at all times and 85 said it is never useful for the education.

310 students said SNS is time consuming, 195 said they use SNS for education and 135 said they chat regarding academics in SNS. 190 students have not agreed that social networking is time consuming. But out of 190 students, 150 of them sit in SNS more than hour. 75 of them sit for 2-4 hours and 5 sit for more than four once they access the social networking sites.

260 students said their academic performance didn’t change because of using SNS and only 15 students said that it has decreased. Others said it has improved.

455 students have an account in Orkut and some of them have account in Facebook, Hi-5 etc. But next to Orkut many are familiar with the Youtube website and the next is Facebook. SNS is highly used by the students as a messenger, then it is used for sharing photos and videos and then it is used to find new friends.

Only 140 students have joined in the communities regarding academics, out of which 110 had said that those communities were helpful for the education. And only 40 students have said that the social networking sites distract them from the studies.

Thus, from the percentage analysis of the survey data, it is found that 41% of the students are accessing Internet for 1-3 years and 28% for 3-5 years. 42% access Internet several times in a week and 25% once in a week. Apart from social networking many students use the Internet for sending e-mails and chatting. Apart from social networking 51% of the respondents use Internet for downloading music/videos, 76% for sending e-mails/chatting and 60% for educational purposes. Maximum percentage of the students accessing social networking sites for 1-3 years.

Figure 1.1 No. of years students accessing SNS

33% of the students access SNS several times in a week, 28% once in a week, 18% rarely, 14% once in a day and 7% several times in a day. More percentage of the students sits in SNS more than an hour when accessed.

Figure 1.2 Time spent in SNS

13% said that SNS is useful in education at all times, 28% said it is useful only during exams, 42% said it is rarely useful and 17% said it is never used for education.

Figure 1.3 SNS in education

62% had accepted that SNSs are time consuming, 39% agreed that they use SNS for education, 27% chat regarding academic subjects in SNS.

Figure 1.4 SNS is time consuming

52% of the students said that their academic performance didn’t change because of using SNS and only 3% said that it has decreased. 39% said it has improved and 9% said it has improved a lot.

Figure 1.5 Academic performance

Interview with Prof. V. Sundareswaran

Dr. V. Sundareswaran, the Professor & Head, Department of Media Sciences, Anna University Chennai has thirty one years of experience in the teaching field. When asked about the difference between knowledge level of students ten years back and the students at present he said that retrieval or gathering of information was very difficult in those days. It took a lot of time to reach the source materials which are in libraries. But nowadays students gather lot of information very quickly and easily using Internet. And said because of the Internet the students at present are more knowledgeable than the students in the past. And also added at times students know more than the teachers also.

He said no one knows about how students are using the Internet. When a student is at home, teachers doesn’t know how and for what he/she is using the Internet and when the students are at the institution, parents doesn’t know what he/she is doing.

When asked about students- teachers’ interaction via Internet he said that it is a good and easy way for a student to reach the teacher and clear some doubts or get some guidance at any time. But nothing is equivalent to the conventional class room. He always prefers the traditional classroom teaching method and specifically chalk and board teaching. He doesn’t prefer to use the Over Head Projectors and Powerpoint slides also.

When asked whether he thinks the information is better conveyed through the interactions with the teachers by the students in the Internet, he said he don’t know as he doesn’t use Internet much. He rarely uses Internet only to guide his research students.

When asked about websites like Orkut and Facebook, he said he don’t know about those sites and remembered me his point that at times students know more than their teachers.

Interview with Mr. Kiruba Shankar

Mr. Kiruba Shankar, CEO of f5ive technologies, a web based company is also a social media enthusiast.

When asked about his opinion about the social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook they are wonderful tools to expand one’s contact beyond the first circle of friends. It’s a wonderful way to keep one’s friends updated about what’s happening in his/her life. That said, Social Networking sites are like a two edged knife. While they can be extremely useful, they can also be misused and become a time sink.

He doesn’t think social networking sites help improve student’s education. But what they do well is improve connections which can be quite useful in the real life. In corporate life, connections and contacts are everything. He believes that SN sites in colleges helps prepare for the real world.

He said most students are using SN sites for the following

1) To maintain friendship connection with existing friends

2) Reaching out to friends of friends who they would like to be in touch with

3) To improve the brand image of the person in the community

4) Reach out to the opposite sex.

He says that these websites definitely distracting the students from their studies. These SN sites are a big time sink and before we know it, they would have sucked away a lot of our time. It can easily become an addiction.

He also said that in future, academic institutions will embrace the concept of SN and tweak it to be an integral part of the education system. That’s the right way of doing it. Elements like blogging, podcasting and wikis are already being actively used in documenting the lessons.

FINDINGS & CONCLUSION

The study reveals that 41% of the students are accessing Internet for 1-3 years and 28% for 3-5 years. 42% access Internet several times in a week and 25% once in a week. Apart from social networking many students use the Internet for sending e-mails and chatting. Apart from social networking 51% of the respondents use Internet for downloading music/videos, 76% for sending e-mails/chatting and 60% for educational purposes. More percentage of the students accessing social networking sites for 1-3 years.

33% of the students access SNS several times in a week, 28% once in a week, 18% rarely, 14% once in a day and 7% several times in a day. More percentage of the students sits in SNS more than an hour when accessed. 13% said that SNS is useful in education at all times, 28% said it is useful only during exams, 42% said it is rarely useful and 17% said it is never used for education. 62% had accepted that SNSs are time consuming, 39% agreed that they use SNS for education, 27% chat regarding academic subjects in SNS. 52% of the students said that their academic performance didn’t change because of using SNS and only 3% said that it has decreased. 39% said it has improved and 9% said it has improved a lot.

Though students don’t accept that SNS distracts them from their studies, it is clear that SNS is time consuming which

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