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The Impact of Social Media on The Youth: The Ghanaian Perspective

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Today’s world is a global village. Everyone is connected to one another in this vast network generated by the Internet. As social media sites continue to grow in popularity it promises a lot for the modern youth. Social media has been widely adopted, with high enthusiasm among youth around the world. With very few studies focusing on youth social media use in Ghana there is a wide open array of work to be done. Based on the findings of several research studies in the social media area, it has been found that these Social networking sites are having a great impact on the lives of young people. Also since most of the research works have been carried out in other countries, it was found necessary and important to carry out a study in Ghana on the impact of Social Media on the youth.

The main objectives of this study were to investigate the extent of social media use and the purposes, access, and impact of its use by the young people in Ghana. Two hundred youth aged 15-25 participated in the study. The findings revealed patterns of young people’s social media use consistent with similar studies of youths in other countries. The study revealed the need for young people to have a greater awareness of the risks of social media use. It was found that the majority of Ghanaian youths were using Social media on an enormous scale, mainly for communication purposes. According to this study, although social media has a positive impact on the youth, yet quite a large number of respondents reported having met with negative experiences on these online sites.

Social media is the integration of digital media including combinations of electronic texts, graphics, moving images and sound into a structured computerized(digital) environment that allows people to interact with the data for appropriate purposes. This digital environment includes the internet, telecoms and interactive digital television. In recent times social media sites have become a part of daily routine, especially for the youth. Majority of the youth are shifting speedily from electronic media such as television viewers and radio listeners to the social media among all age of the group. Youth rate is very much to shifting into social media so its influences are much on youth. The last 10 years, the number of youth using social media sites has increased dramatically. According to a recent poll, 22% of teenagers’ log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times a day, and more than half of adolescents log on to a social media site more than once a day [9]. Hinduja et al.[13] in their research showed that 75% of teenagers own mobile phones, and 25% use them for social media, 54% use them for texting, and 24% use them for instant messaging. These research prove that a large part of this generation’s social and emotional development is occurring while on the Internet and on mobile phones.

International journal of engineering technology and sciences

Most youths are at some risk as they navigate and experiment with social media because of their limited capacity for self-regulation and vulnerability to peer pressure. The 2016 statistics on African internet usage released by Internet World statistics [16] reveal that 7,958,675 Ghanaians are using the internet and 3,500,000 use facebook. This represents 13% of the total population of Ghanaians which is 26,908,262. This research seeks to find out what use social media are in the lives of the youth and their implications. With the advent of Information Technology (IT) almost everywhere, there has been a dramatic adjustment in the way we live.IT tools such as computers, Tablets, and mobile phones have become valued elements in the lives of most Ghanaian youths merely because it aids them to interact and communicate freely. Technology has many positive facets but can become dangerous when in wrong hands. Social media offers several benefits and opportunities to young people, including access to information, extended social networks, social skills practice, identity expression, informal learning opportunities, interest-based groups, development and maintenance of friendships and fun. Social media has been described as an important part of a young person’s life and a platform for experimentation, creative self-expression, and identity formation.

Statement of problem

Technology has many positive aspects but, in the wrong hands, it can become dangerous. For the young people, technology is a tryout to do what they feel is good or exciting to them and their friends. Social media has been described by Cortesi[2] as an important part of a young person’s life and a platform for experimentation, creative self-expression, and identity formation. The rise in the use of social media by the youth has several threats and consequences. These threats and consequences include privacy concerns such as sharing a lot of information, posting of false information about themselves or others, exposure to fraudsters and addictions to the Internet or social media use that might impact negatively on their social, psychological, low academic output and emotional well-being [10]. Cybercrime is one of the major issues concerning internet use amongst the youth in Ghana. The crimes include credit card fraud, identity theft, hacking and Dating Scams. With the current acquaintance and easy access that the youth are able to get out of these mediums, this study will establish the impacts it has had on the youth in Ghana.

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