1.1 Background to the Study

It is no doubt that ignorance is a disease among humans. As the world goes by things are bound to change in every spheres of life; as change is a constant variable in life. Humans, most times find it difficult to adapt to this changes in the world of agriculture, transportation, business, communication, etc. Since, man cannot not communicate, communication is the main aspect of concentration.

Since, change is an integral part of livelihood around the world, then innovation is sure of coming forth as a result of change. These innovations in our different spheres of life have really made the world a sweeter and better place; but also a dangerous and life threatening one, due to ignorance of misuse of these innovations.

In the world of communication and interaction, our mental health has been a crucial issue to talk about for the advent of ICT and social networking sites, has dealt so much on our mental health as people use it more to the negative side than the positive. The social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have become a raging craze for everyone nowadays, while media use is an integral part of the daily life of youths, there are number of risks associated with social media use, specifically, negative effects on mental health, cyber bullying, texting/sexting dangers of sexual solicitation, and exposure to problematic and illegal content and privacy violations (Barak, 2005).

The negative effects of these social networking sites overweigh the positive ones. These sites have caused some potential harm to society as youths become their victims more often than anyone else. This is because of the reason that when they are studying or searching their course material online, they get attracted to these sites to kill the boredom in their study time, diverting their attention from work, (Kowalski, 2011).

Electronic media do have specific qualities that make them especially well suited to cyber-bullying. "Anonynity", instantaneousness the ability to escalate quickly, and intrusiveness are features of the internet and social media that can enable or increase bullying and sexual harassment; a lack of specific physical locale may also convince bullies and harassers that they are beyond the schools legal reach as they sometimes are (Campell, 2005).

When it comes to youth dating violence and sexual abuse within dating relationships, technology can be an often used in dating abuse. Sexual harassment after a bitter breakup has always existed among youths but now post-breakup sexual harassment has jumped the physical barrier and has become an epidemic on social media websites.This harassment goes by multiple name: cyber bullying, social sexual shaming cyber gender harassment, and even terms as graphic and demeaning as "revenge porn". Youths get away with posting these images because it mostly happens at night since people don't want to get caught so they usually put it up at night and then they remove it afterwards (Lenhart, 2007). In Califomia, approximately 23% of youths reports being threatened by a peer and cyber bullying appears similar in prevalence to offline bullying (Lenhart 2007).

Cyber bullying has been shown to cause higher level of depression and anxiety for victims than traditional bullying and has also been connected to cases of youth suicide with youths known to engage in reading hurtful comments days before their suicide attempts (Kowalski, 2011), those mostly at risk for cyber bullying include, Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender and Allied youth "Allied youth" refers to young people who openly support them. Youths in relationships may also receive nude pictures or be pressured to send nude pictures themselves to a partner. Relationship abuse can also include sending nonstop text messages or posting cruel comments on a boyfriends or girlfiiends F acebook or MySpace page (Li, 2005 ).

Social networking websites are all increasingly being used to monitor, threaten and harass relationship partners one in three youths in relationships has been text messaged up to 30 times an hour by a partner to find out where they are, what they are doing, or who they are with (Wallis,2006,pl8) sexual cyber bullying can have many harmful effects on youths as they miss Osme activities so they do not have to face their peers or they are afraid for their safety.

According to Susan Greenfield, an Oxford University researcher in are article "the quest for identity in the 21st century on Daily mail UK 14th September, 2010", as growing numbers of people discover the potential of the world wide web and as they become active parts of it and as technology becomes even more advance, expanded, accessible and sophisticated current forms of communication transform, taking advantage of the crowd sourcing phenomenon.

This research will find out what these social media are, what are their use in the lives of youths and their implications on their behaviour. New information Technology (IT) is almost everywhere and has dramatically altered the way we live. These tools have become valued elements of life in Ikot Ekpene merely because they opened many doors to youth and allowed them to interact fi-eely and markedly unlike at any other time in history. The speed of intemet has changed the way people receive the information. Lt combines the immediacy of broadcast with the in-depth of newspaper making it perfect sources for news and weather information. Even with the multimedia excitement of the web, electronic mail (email) is the most frequently used application of the internet.

Most people, who have access to the internet at school, home and at work place use the internet for no other purpose than send and to receive the mail. It's not just friends and co-workers that are receiving email, whatever you look the web is providing email addresses. This has made communication between strangers easier than ever, chatting is one of the most popular activities on the internet people can talk to anyone across the world. Introduction of social networking sites has facilitated communication.

These are web sites where users can create a profile and connect their profile to others to form an explicit personal network. They are web based services that allow individuals to:

  • Construct a public or semi-public within a bounded system
  • Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection
  • View and transverse their list of connection and those made by others within the system
  • The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site, through social media people can use networks.


1.2     Statement of the Problem

          It is imperative to note that the prognostication of Marshall McLuhan some years back has been referred to by many as a prophesy prophesied by a ‘prophet’ McLuhan for the smooth interaction and inter-connection of individuals in recent times. Obviously, today, this prophesies is a reality. The prophesy has not just come to reality, it has made every facet of the human race meaningful and effective.

          Be that as it may, it is obvious that the introduction and emergence of the internet since year 2000 has played both a positive and negative role in the society. The internet, no doubt carries both positive and negative influences on users.

          Also the popularization of the social media undoubtedly has been referred to by many as "a media of social-ness". This is so because, the social media yields intensive level of social interactions among youths which brings about promiscuity, unwanted pregnancies, pomography, relationships issues which most times leads to suicide of either partner involved all these are occasional by youths use of the social media, the social media is now the youths media while some youths use the social media for effective and useful purposes, some use it for other questionable gratifications.

          This is because social media carry activities and displays that either educate or corrupt the youths. This, no doubt, is based on individual differences. This no doubt is as a result of the type of social media content they are consistently exposed to which most times are sexual inducing content which influence their sexual behaviour. The actual influence of social media content on the sexual behaviour of youths in Ikot Ekpene is unknown and that is what this research seeks to unveil.



1.3     Objectives of the Study

          The goal/objectives of this research is to address the influence and implications of social media on the Ikot Ekpene youth especially those in the urban area they include:

i.        To determine how often youths in Ikot Ekpene use social media in their   daily lives.

ii.       To find out the influence social media has on behaviour changes among

          the Ikot Ekpene youths.

iii.      To find whether exposure or use of social media influences the sexual

          behaviour of youths in Ikot Ekpene Urban.

iv.      To find out the extent to which social media influence the sexual

          behaviour of youths in Ikot Ekpene Urban.

v.       Find out whether there are other factor(s) that equally influence the

          sexual behaviour of youths in Ikot Ekpene urban.


I 4     Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study

i.        How often do youths in Ikot Ekpene use social media in their daily lives?

ii.       What influence do social media have on behaviour changes among lkot

          Ekpene youths?

iii.      Does exposure or use of social media influences sexual behaviour of youths      in Ikot Ekpene urban?

iv.      To what extent does social media influences sexual behaviour of youths in        Ikot Ekpene urban?

v.       Are there other factor(s) that equally influence the sexual behaviour of     youths in Ikot Ekpene urban?

l 5      Hypothesis

Hi:    Social media significantly influences the sexual behaviour of Ikot

          Ekpene youths.


1.6     J ustification of the Study

          lt is hoped that the findings of this study will bridge the gap of lack of sufficient information on the effects of social media on the youths and behaviour change. The findings of this study may also be useful to the policy makers in various sectors of the government.

For instance, in the educational sector curriculum developers will be informed when developing curriculum for the youth. In health ministry, it will help doctors communicate to the youth_ The results of this study are likely to influence further scholarly research by other researchers who may be interested in this field of knowledge and initiate appropriate mitigation.


1.7     Delimitation of the Study

The study above seeks to find out the influence of social media among the youths behaviour change. While the study recognizes that the new interactive technologies have influence on other age groups outside the youth bracket and as such, the study will focus itself only on youths in lkot Ekpene. The study will focus itself only to the urban area as opposed to other areas outside the stated realm of geographical boundary.


1.8     Limitations of the Study

          During the process of carrying out this research exercise, the researcher was encumbered by some factors, each of which was however properly and adequately handled by the researcher in order not to affect the quality of the study as well as the vitality of the findings. One of such encumbrance is with the population of the study. There was no way to locate a database that contains the exact figure of youths in lkot Ekpene urban which prompted the researcher to conduct a pilot survey using the Topman's formula to arrive at a representative sample.

Another glitch was the bottleneck bureaucracy usually associated with studying youths because of their ever busy schedules coupled with their unending quest for some sought of financial assistance before filling out items in the questionnaire. However, to subdue these challenges, the researcher gave them sufficient time to complete the questionnaire as well as made them understand that the research exercise was strictly academic.

However, the researcher was successful in the course of carrying out the research in the course of carrying out the research exercise as every challenge that posed itself as a threat to the smooth flow of the research exercise was subdued out rightly.


1.9     Definition of Terms

          The following terms are defined operationally as used in the study.

i.        Lesbians: These are females in lkot Ekpene urban who are sexually

          attracted to their fellow women.

ii.       Gays: These are men who are sexually attracted to their fellow men in

          lkot Ekpene urban.

iii.      Allied Youth: It refers to young people who openly support them in lkot           Ekpene.

iv.      Cyber Bullying: This has to do with people using information they have           about you to cause you into a place of depression or intimidated by nature in   lkot Ekpene.

v.       Texting/Sexting: this has to do with sending message that can arouse      whoever you are chatting with in a negative light in lkot Ekpene.

vi.      Sexual Solicitation: is the intent of engaging in sexual activity for a fee or         the functional equivalent of a fee by lkot Ekpene youth.