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  • NUMBER OF PAGES: 58 (Chapter 1 to 5)

Background to the Study

The advent of social media opened a new way for people,particularly the younger generation, to connect with one another, based on common interests, goals and even values. Social-media includes all technology that facilitates social interaction, make possible collaboration, and enable deliberations across stakeholders. Social-media according to Chepkemoi ,Situma and Murunga (2018) includes such tools as electronic blogs, audio/video tools (YouTube), Internet chat rooms, cellular and computer texting, and social networking sites (Bryer and Zavattaro, 2011). Internet use and the use of social networking sites in particular, have grown significantly since 2000 with some estimates of nearly 78% of American adults using the Internet regularly; 46% of American adults 18 and older using social networking sites; and 65% of teens age 12 to 17 using online social networks. In terms of membership and daily usage, more recent estimates show Facebook as having over 750 million users worldwide; LinkedIn over 100 million members; Twitter having over 177 million tweets per day; and YouTube having over 3 billion views each day (Chen, &Bryer, 2012).

The use of social networking sites has been repeatedly found to be the highest among those between the ages of 18-29 (Rainie et al., 2011). Facebook is at the lead of the Social-media race with more active users worldwide. It has become one of the most frequently accessed website at the moment. Most high school students are the major group using Facebook for fun, with the main purposes as connecting with their friends, sharing day to day activities, using features such as photo sharing, publishing wall posts, and stating their status updates. The study conducted by Englander et al., (2010), observed that students spend more time using Facebook for other purposes apart from educational use, thus affecting their academic outcomes. Through interactions with Face book friends, the students are able to build confidence, increase their motivation and had a positive attitude toward language learning (Kabilanet al., 2010; Wu et al., 2011; Yunus, et al., 2012).

In addition, Facebook helps remove many barriers for students (McCathy, 2010) and might provide greater benefits for users who have low self-esteem and life satisfaction (Valenzuela, Park, & Kee, 2009). Promnitz-Hayashi (2011) suggests that activities in Face book helped a lower language proficient student to become more comfortable participating in online discussions in an enjoyable and motivating way. It is easier for students to read and control the length and difficulty of their questions and post videos. They could make the activities as easy or challenging as they wish, making activities student-centered rather than teacher-centered. The findings of White (2009) study of the use of Face book to improve the motivation and academic writing of students indicated that students were motivated and they made some effort to improve their writing skills. When they did not understand difficult words posted by group members they went to look up the word in the dictionary, then came back to reply and used words more carefully because they knew that someone was checking or reading their comments.

The pervasiveness of social media, such as Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat continues to rise affording people remarkable opportunities to communicate through social networks (Nadkarni & Hoffman, 2012; Junco, 2013).Many people are taking advantage of these opportunities by spending considerable time on social media(Schulze, Scholer, &Skiera, 2014). For example, a survey of 3000 students from across the US found that 90%of university students use Facebook and 37% use Twitter (Dahlstrom, de Boor, Grunwaald, &Vokley, 2011).
With their popularity, some universities are using social media to market programmes and communicate with students, both current and prospective and alumni. Some professors are beginning to use social media with thegoal of enhancing the educational process and teamwork on projects and improving learning outcomes through better communication with students. However, some recent studies have found that over-involvement with social media by students can have adverse effects on academic performance (Al-Menayes, 2014; Skiera, Hinz, &Martin-Span, 2015). This has prompted discussion among educators from various academic fields about the usefulness and viability of social media as a teaching tool (AL-Menayes, 2015).

Maqableh, Rajab, Quteshat, Masa’deh, Khatib and Karajeh (2015) observed that Social Network Sites (SNSs) have attracted millions of Internet users, who have integrated these sites in their daily lives routines. Twitter and Facebook are among the most popular social networks where the students spend most of their times. LinkedIn is an example of Social Network site that is used by many students, instructors and scholars for academic purposes. Social Media Network sites can have a positive or negative impact on students’ academic performance. However, time management is the factor that contributes towards negative academic performance besides excessive social media use. The networks normally contain a relationship between the entities in it, an association such as a shared value, kinship, friendship, business transaction or other system. The networking that occurs influences an individual’s thoughts, feelings and ideas and is an essential element of human interaction (Tyson, 2009). However the digital social media is not only influencing the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of people but also their writing and speaking.

To clarify how social media activities affect academic performance, this study will analyze the relationship between academic performance and various measures of social media activity.

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