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The purpose of the paper was to highlight the links that exist between the use of social media and student performance in school. So far, current literature and research have examined the relationship between information and communication technology use and student education, but little research has gone into how social media, a subset of ICT, solely effects student performance. As a result, by writing this work, the authors addressed a research gap in both education and technology. The paper examines the research topic primarily from two perspectives. The first approach proposes that social media has a positive effect on students education while the other proposes that it has a negative impact on their performance.
The advent of social media has been welcomed with different attitudes in the general society. This is since social media has benefits as well as demerits. The benefits accrued from embracing social media include increased connectivity among people and easy access to information. The disadvantages, on the other hand, revolve around issues of distraction waste of time and the exacerbation of moral decadence. In education, in particular, the debate on whether social media assists in the realization of academic goals or distracts students from their goals has elicited varying perspectives. This could be attributed to the divide between conservative and progressive forms of learning. Proponents of progressive education styles back social media by citing the eased mode of information sharing that platforms such as Twitter and Facebook provide students. However, supporters of more conservative learning styles cite the fact that social media is rife with content more likely to distract than inform.
Social media has evolved significantly within the last two decades. However, social media can trace its history back in 1997 in the platform known as six degrees of social media. The technology employed then was far different to the current technology (Van Dijck, 2013). This is since six degrees utilized internet relay chats. Users could now upload avatars for their online profiles and virtually chat as if in real groups. Websites such as LinkedIn and MySpace revolutionized the field of communication in the 2000s. Facebook, Twitter then followed suit in 2006. Moreover, niche networking sites such as 4Chan, Spotify, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Foursquare were developed for less conventional social media needs. This trend in the sophistication of social media is however not expected to go down anytime soon. This is partly the reason why its impact on different fields and industries should be scrutinized for actionable strategies.
In 2017, it is estimated that the average time spent on social media sites per day is 135 minutes (Teo, 2017). Moreover, in 2016, social media audiences were more than 2 billion. Facebook alone accounted for 1.86 billion active audiences every month. Behind Facebook are Twitter, WeChat, Instagram, Sina Weibo, and Tumblr. When taken to the education perspective, statistics have it that in 2016, the age group of 18-29 years had the highest usage rates of social media at 90%. This is a crucial factoid seeing as the age bracket comprises of the majority of school-attending adults. The age group of 30-49 years was second in the usage list with 77%. People between 50 and 64 years were third at 50%. Lastly, people above 65 years accounted for about 35%. The age comparison yields another interesting observation since the last three age brackets, specifically the third and the forth represented the group of policy makers and implementers in the education sector. Therefore, it is worth noting that since they used less time on social media, their comprehension of why school-going adults accessed social media so frequently may be inhibited.
This paper adopts the conservative approach and thereby proposes that social media is more detrimental to a student’s education than it helps in their performance. However, the paper will also evaluate the potential academic benefits that students can accrue from these platforms. Next, the paper will discuss the demerits of social media as an academic tool. Following that the paper will then contrast the points from each supposition and weigh out the general impacts of social media on student performance.
Statement of the problem Grouped by website categories, for high school-going students or less, Facebook was the most visited social media site at 56% in 2016 (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, & Zickuhr, 2017). Twitter was next at 19%. Pinterest came third at 18%. Twitter followed with 145 while LinkedIn came last with 9%. For college undergraduates, Facebook was used by 77%, LinkedIn by 49%, Pinterest by 33%, Instagram by 32%, and Twitter by 28%. Of the five sites, LinkedIn unarguably the most dedicated to academic agendas. This shows that majority of students visited sites less likely to promote academic services. Thereby it can be asserted that there is growing concern over the hours spent by students on social networks that may not prioritize the promotion of the academic agenda.
Objective of the study
The study aims to establish the impacts of social media on students' education. The project seeks to bring to light the positive and negative effects of social media on the academic performance of students.
Significance of the study
The undertaking of this project is a crucial undertaking as it fills a research gap in the establishment of the effects of social media to students. Prior research in the field has concentrated on exposing the relationship between Information and Communication Technology and Education. Moreover, other researches have concentrated on the relationship between the Internet and education. However, this paper takes a more specific take on the related topic.
Scope of study
The study will mainly discuss the research topic in the scope of the field education as opposed to the field of technology. However, due to the inevitability of the introduction of technicality into the research, because the research topic is tied to technology, the paper will dedicate a section discussing different technologies utilized in social media.Definitions of terms
Social media/network – refers to the use of dedicated applications and websites for interaction with other online users with shared interests over the internet.
Academic performance – refers to the achievement of the goals set out in a student’s curriculum. It may also refer to the extent to which a student can apply what was learned in class to solve issues in the real world.
Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., & Zickuhr, K. (2017). Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults. Millennials. Pew Internet & American life project.
Teo, T. S. (2017). Demographic and motivation variables associated with Internet usage activities. Internet Research, 125-137.
Van Dijck, J. (2013). The culture of connectivity: A critical history of social media. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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