online world and acacemic performance

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The online world has evolved considerably in the previous decade as a result of the invention of the Internet and the growth of how people form relationships. The introduction of social media for networking with others was a significant milestone in technology advances and the rapid technological changes that have been experienced. Social media has altered the way young men and women communicate and share ideas and sentiments, and it has become a vital medium of communication in the twenty-first century. Overall, it is estimated that 73 percent of wired Americans have integrated social networking websites into regular communication (Smith). The overall impression is that the social media is having a significant effect in connecting people of diverse age groups. However, there has been a growing concern over the way the student population approaches social media considering the countless number of hours that groups spend on sites such as Facebook, Twitter or playing online games as Sim City and Warcraft. The rapid advancement of technology and the growth of social media as an indispensable tool of communication has had adverse effects on students’ performance as it serves as a distractor in the learning process.

One of the primary effects of social media is that it is associated with low grades due to the fact that students tend to spend most of their time on such sites. It is plausible to think that the grades would be affected when a students spend more time on the internet networking, and participating in social circles then, for instance, reading. Many institution of learning require that the students get involved in widespread research and studying to keep up with the curriculum before they can realize great results and pass examinations (Wang 58). The trend has changed over the past few years because students find it less relevant to study for long hours but instead prefer to chat in social networks, use messengers or spend time on other platforms. The observation has been confirmed by many researchers with a particular case involving a study in Ohio State University. It was indicated that those who spend more time on social networking sites tend to have lower grades than those who are not engaged in activities on similar sites (Wang 62). It was further revealed that college students who had a greater number of followers had lower grade-point averages (GPAs) than those who were not registered on any social media platforms. The results are relevant in the analysis of the subject from the perspective of social media acting as a source of distraction because it can be inferred that having many followers students waste a lot of their time and are not able to study effectively and improve their grades.

Apart from the fact that students exhibit poor grades, being accustomed to social media is also associated with time wastage. The widespread effect of social media has created a sense of urgency meaning that it became priority for some students unaware of how much time they waste on platforms. Many young people often spend a lot of time on the internet engaging in meaningless conversations while they could channel their energy on other valuable activities. Instead, the trend is that many students continue to waste time on online platforms. For example, a research has indicted that 93 percent of young people between the age of 12 to 17 visit online platforms on a regular basis with a majority of the group being already obsessed with activity (Smith, 2013).

The most active activities that teens get involved in include updating their accounts, following friends’ statuses, and checking up on each other’s account updates. The effect is that in the process of associating in these networks, there is a lot of time that is lost that could have been directed to other constructive academic-related and co-curricular activities.

Social media is also associated with destroying students’ social skills and making it appear that real relations are insignificant. It is becoming a trend to be absorbed in social media because many people think that it is a convenient communication medium (Fowlkes, 2012). Both the internet based chatting platforms and those that do not involve the internet such as text messaging are being used at alarming rates. Currently, there is the dominance of over-sharing online. Students are finding it a norm to communicate with friends and their families through electronic devices as opposed to the conventional face-to-face communication (Fowlkes, 2012). It is thus confirmed that the social media influence is adverse and is destroying the social skills of many people, because they prefer chatting on the phone than through physical communication, though it is especially relevant when discussing how it impacts on a student’s life. Research has shown that one person in every four people tends to waste time chatting rather than opt for a real conversation (Fowlkes, 2012). The effect is that students are finding it more appropriate to converse online more than they are likely to participate in face-to-face conversations. It is common to find college students being addicted to their phones and using them to communicate instead of intermingling through physical means. The problem has since been translated to how people perceive their environment as it is becoming less important to meet as social media appears more relevant to people’s lives.

Furthermore, the social media continues to be a distraction for students and has been found to be the primary cause of depression in school. The addictive nature in the way people interact on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other platforms have adversely affected how people communicate. According to Pantic, researchers have since identified that social network as a distractor is associated with depressive symptoms, low self-esteem, and anxiety with the mental conditions impacting negatively on the student’s overall life (Pantic). Many questions related to the topic are still unanswered considering that social media is a relatively new concept. The correlation is more distinct with the reality becoming a concern for education stakeholders factoring the popularity of the online platforms among the students and general population (Pantic, 2014). The effect of social media as a cause of depression has particularly been noted with Facebook considering the manner in which it impacts the ability of a student to establish real relationships. Studies have indicated that when a student is unable to interact in person with family members and the teachers, there is a reduction of the social circle (Pantic). The outcome over a period of time is that there will be indication of loneliness and depression. Overall, a student will end up with adverse outcomes that will hamper their social development skills.

Social media is also primary cause of the rise in social distrust in many instances with the tendencies having adverse outcomes for children (UNCRC Policy Center 23). Engaging in aggressive and abusive language is a trend that is common among many users of the Internet because of the lack of a physical barrier between two people. It is, therefore, common to find that children also participate in such abusive talk unaware of the impact that it has on their minds and perception of others (Smith). Research indicates that the online social media sharing communities are defined by the content and the language associated with it. Many users tend to be unaware of the build-up of trust or distrust in the process. Research indicates that trust prediction is dependent highly on the level of trust that one gains online from the interaction with strangers (UNCRC Policy Center 23). It is common that many people do not factor the need to look trustworthy in a conversation socially when they get involved in a discussion about a given subject. Depending on how sensitive the subject is, it is typical to find that it will change as the subjects delve in it and in the process, an argument could ensure. From the trend where statistics have established that faith someone has is defined by how they trust other online, it is also assumed that the level of distrust will be defined by the same magnitude. The impact on children when trust is lost is a huge concern because they will end up having a problem with peers (AeKim and Ahmadb 438). It is affirmed that because one could will end up having trust issues he/she ought not to be introduced to the social media if they are susceptible to becoming victims of cyberbullying.

Online grooming is a huge challenge for internet users and children who participate in social media form the group at higher risk. By definition, online grooming entails the process of building trust with children by targeting them emotionally with the goal of building a connection that is destined for sexual purposes (Whittle et al.). Lately, there have been many incidences of people using social media for such purposes (Whittle et al.). Usually, the groomer is either a stranger or someone who knows the target well and he or she will try to find out more about the prey to determine personal details that could be used. It is common to join children chat rooms or social media to gain trust with the groomer often purporting to be as young as the subject who is targeted (Whittle et al.). It is a huge concern especially after the chairman of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) stated that “Following a two-year campaign by the NSPCC grooming is now a crime, and as of April 3 it was made illegal for an adult to send a sexual message to a child” (Pemberton, 201AD). When such incidences arise, the groomer will end up extracting crucial information that they will use to track the preys, determine their whereabouts and abduct them or commit any other crime they want. It is a concern, therefore, when children engage in social media because in doing so they are increasing chances to meet a groomer with particular intensions. In fact, the use of social media among children is a significant problem considering that such subjects end up at the risk of online recruitment for child trafficking. Human trafficking is one of the most serious form of sexual exploitation and children are particularly at a high risk when they expose themselves to social media. Research indicates that utilizing ICT as a recruitment strategy is on the rise with the apparent use of social media being a significant issue (Craven, Brown, and Gilchrist 288). It is, therefore, important that the use of social among children should be reduced to avoid falling into the trap of being recruited or become preys of trafficking.

The exposure to sexually explicit content is another setback that is apparent from the use of the Internet and needs focus, especially when students are involved. It is common that various media often try to control access to child sexual abuse material (CAM) that include texts, images, videos and sounds. The control of such materials on the Internet has been poor because they often tend to be distributed in closed groups on social media and when school-goers, among others, land on such sites, they can become addicts of the context supplied on such fora (Finkelhor 410). It is reported in Interpol study that CAM industry is abusing tens of thousands of children with results indicating that over one million sexual abuse content is being aired on the internet (Finkelhor 410). It is thus imperative that regulations are placed to reduce the use of social media because it remains one of the primary ways of sharing sexual content.

In summary, it is important to highlight that while the use of the internet and social media engagement rises, the challenges to those who are vulnerable is also mounting. The associated adverse effects are thus the most significant among these trends because the occurrences of such setbacks place student’s academic and social development in jeopardy. The problems associated with increased social media use among the minors include exposure to the sexually explicit content, possibility of becoming victims of online grooming, social distrust and depression, loss of social skills, and time wastage that results in poor grades. It is recommended that parents should monitor the manner in which their children engage online and most importantly, how they relate on the social media. With the correct limit measures placed in the process, it is expected that children will develop better and learn good morals.

Works Cited

AeKim, Young, and Muhammad A. Ahmadb. “Trust, Distrust and Lack of Confidence of Users in Online Social Media-Sharing Communities.” Knowledge-Based Systems 37 (2013): 438–450.

Craven, Samantha, Sarah Brown, and Elizabeth Gilchrist. “Sexual Grooming of Children: Review of Literature and Theoretical Considerations.” Journal of Sexual Aggression 12.3 (2006): 287–299.

Finkelhor, David. “The International Epidemiology of Child Sexual Abuse.” Child Abuse and Neglect 18.5 (1994): 409–417.

Fowlkes, Jasmine. “Viewpoint: Why Social Media Is Destroying Our Social Skills.” USA Today (2012): n. pag.

Pantic, Igor. “Online Social Networking and Mental Health.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 17.10 (2014): 652–657.

Pemberton, Lauren WindleBecky. “What Is Online Grooming and How Can You Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse?” The Sun 201AD.

Smith, Bailey. “Students Waste Too Much Time On Social Media.” The Mirror Online (2013): n. pag.

UNCRC Policy Center. “Hope‘For’Children.” UNCRC Policy Center (2015): n. pag.

Wang, Y. “Social Media in Schools: A Treasure Trove or Hot Potato?” Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership 16.1 (2013): 56–64.

Whittle, Helen et al. “A Review of Online Grooming: Characteristics and Concerns.” Aggression and Violent Behavior 2013: 62–70.

May 10, 2023


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