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CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
Technology-assisted social networking has blossomed rapidly in the past decade, particularly
with the development of Web 2.0, which has led to tremendous changes in how people meet and
relate in person-centred, convenient, meaningful and valuable ways (Blanchard, 2011). Whether
using the proxy of alumni album and friend-finding and friend-making in Facebook, the
professional purpose-built and office deputation facility of LinkedIn, dating sites, such as Badoo,
or a personal blog, relationship building has become easier and cheaper. Prior to these online
developments, young people exploited various face-to-face strategies in specific physical places
and physical community spaces, such as schools, churches, parties, pen-pals, clubs, etc. to meet
up, make friends and hang out (Gobble, 2012).
The launch of smartphones and mobile devices with internet capabilities and the technical
convergence of computer and mobile networks have opened great opportunities for synergy
between social networking sites and mobile social network software through supporting social
networking activities anytime and anywhere (Lugano, 2008). These social networking
technologies have increased the opportunities for young people to engage in regular interaction
with their friends and families. Social networking sites facilitate this practice by permitting
members to create their own profiles containing what they want their prospective friends and
others to know about them. By doing this, young social network users are able to connect with
other people whose interests are similar to theirs and with whom they then interact to exchange
comments, private messages, and pictures, among others things (Chan and Ghose, 2014; Danah
and Nicole, 2008; Sherry, 2011).
Social networking is occurring in Nigeria as in most places. Nigeria is the largest internet mobile
market in Africa, and 35 million of the 115 million mobile telephone subscribers in the country
are using handheld devices to access internet data services. A recent survey carried out by
BusinessDay (2013) found that social media accounted for, by far, more traffic of Nigerian youth
on the internet than any other services and that sex-related activities are the major attraction.
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A healthy feeling of wanting to be admired, touched, loved and cared for by another person is
natural and is expected to develop in young people as they grow (Alubo, 2000). Social networks
create opportunities for young people to engage in discussions that may lead to the satisfaction of
these needs. Social networking sites provide a unique atmosphere conducive for expression and
discussions of all forms of sexuality, without the traditional oversight of parents, family
members and others in society. This is because these interactions may be taking place through
mobile phones which have been assessed to be convenient for person-centred and person-defined
in a defined manner. Participants are not constrained by barriers imposed by face-to-face contact
or place or location. However, the associated risks associated with using social networks, such as
exposing young adults to cyber-bullying, harassment and sexting, may lead to depression and the
risk of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Also, membership and friendship in a
social organization or group is a factor that may predisposes young people to risky sexual
behaviours (Hayes, 2010).Sexual behaviour includes sexual activities or practices that refer to
the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality (Marcus, 2011). It refers to
any activity, whether solitary, between two persons, or in a group, that induces sexual arousal
and subsequent indulgence in sexual activities. This does not necessarily imply sexual
intercourse, but rather a variety of sexual acts which people engage in from time to time and for
different reasons. Sexual activities are usually intended to display one’s sexuality and often to
gain the sexual attention of others. Strategies to find or attract partners include sending messages,
making constant calls to stay in touch, and so on, and are all parts of sexual activities. Apart from
the natural sexual response patterns inherited and manifested by every human being, sexual
behaviour among youths can be determined by many factors, including the types of influence
that the society exerts on the individual (Hayes, 2010). This influence results in various levels of
sexual activities ranging from mild to high risk and solitary or social sexual indulgences (GPA,
1994). Global Programme on AIDS has listed indicators of risky sexual behaviour as type of
sexual partner, condom use, age at first sex, number of partners, commercial sex and age mixing
in sexual relationships. Social media expose adolescents to various forms of sexual opportunities,
such as creating linkages with possible partners and the availability of sexual content. Media has
generally been linked to sexual indulgences (Rideout et al., 2010). Young people use a variety of
media and increasingly engage with these media on diverse platforms and are, therefore, exposed
to encountering various sexual content across these platforms. However the constant rise in
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sexual immoral acts found here-and-there in our society has been a point of concern to parents,
teachers including school administrators. The wrong conception about sex and sexuality have
driven greater percentage of young people into acts that is capable or have dragged them into
ruin even though scholars have repeatedly pointed out that sex education remains a veritable tool
for addressing sexual behavior among young people, the perception of sex education is a very
controversial issue in Nigeria society due to the conservative nature of culture. People believe
that sex education is equivalents to a social taboo and it influences the students negatively
(Olaluwoye David 2018). But the negative repercussions of a neglect of sex education far
outweigh the supposed negative influence of sex education. A lack of basic sex education from
relevant sources has in no small measure contributed to the prevalence of Sexually Transmitted
Diseases (STDs), and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as HIV/AIDS, Syphilis,
Gonorrhea, unwanted pregnancies, as well as an insatiable crave by youngsters for sex and other
unholy alliances. This trend has assumed worrisome if not frightening dimensions as young
students are forced to drop out of schools with unwanted pregnancies and STDs (SanniOmolade
2018). This further creates a negative multiplier effect on society as the young fragile girls often
contemplate life-threatening abortions or give birth to illegitimate children, most times putting
their future in jeopardy, while their male counterparts become social misfits, with tendencies of
transmitting the STIs to unsuspecting members of the society. Despite successes in decreasing
sexual activity and increasing condom use among students, the continued high prevalence of
pregnancy and STIs among students indicate that further educational efforts are necessary. How
the youngsters perceive sex education and their behavior and response towards them will
determine whether or not there will be a reduction in the social imbalances highlighted above.
Many interventions to educate students about pregnancy and STI prevention have been set in the
school classroom. The explosion of electronic technology like the social media, may present new
opportunities to provide sexual health education to young people. These technologies are
particularly compelling given their access to them. It is to this ends that the researcher has
deemed it fit to conduct an assessment of the usage of social media for sexual health education in
order to find out the level of understanding and perceptions of undergraduate students towards
sex education.
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1.2 Statement of the Problem
The rates of sexual activity, unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections including
HIV/AIDS and unsafe termination of pregnancies have been on the increase resulting in high
levels of diseases, infirmity and death among Nigerian students.
A lack of basic sex education from relevant sources has in no small measure contributed to the
prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), and Sexually Transmitted Infections
(STIs) such as HIV/AIDS, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, unwanted pregnancies, as well as an insatiable
crave by youngsters for sex and other unholy alliances.
In Nigeria, rapid improvement in communication through the use of telephones, print media and
new media has enhanced interpersonal relationships among youths, which had tremendous effect
on sexuality issues. The intervention of the social media and its availability in Nigeria has
influenced sexual knowledge of young people. Where parents and other relevant stakeholder are
still unwilling to enter into any form of discourse with their children concerning sex education,
the youths have discovered the cyberspace as an arena where sexuality can be experienced,
expressed and fantasized. How the youngsters perceive sex education and their behavior and
response towards them will determine whether or not there will be a reduction in the social
imbalances highlighted above. It is to this ends that the researcher has deemed it fit to conduct an
assessment of the usage of social media for sexual health education in order to find out the level
of understanding and perceptions of undergraduate students especially students of Kogi State
University towards sex education.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are as follows:
1. To find out how often students of Kogi State Universityaccess social media platforms.
2. To ascertain how often students of Kogi State Universityget in contact with sexually
educative content on their favorite social media platforms.
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3. To find out the perception, response rate and attitudinal disposition of students of Kogi
State University towards the many sexually educative content they come across on their
favorite social media platforms.
4. To evaluate the level of effectiveness as well as challenges associated with the usage of
social media for sexual health education among students of Kogi State University.
1.4 Research Questions
The study seeks to provide answers to the following;
1. How often do students of Kogi State University access social media platforms?
2. How often do students of Kogi State University get in contact with sexually educative
content on their favorite social media platforms?
3. What is the perception, response rate and attitudinal disposition of students of Kogi State
University towards the many sexually educative content they come across on their
favorite social media platforms?
4. What isthe level of effectiveness as well as challenges associated with the usage of social
media for sexual health education among students of Kogi State University?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study is significant in more ways than one, apart from the fact that it will help bridge the
gap that exist between social media and sexual health education, it is believed that the finding of
this research will shed more light on the perception, response rate and attitudinal disposition of
students especially towards the use of social media for sexual health education. Again, this study
would be of great benefits to relevant stakeholders like; teachers, lecturers educationalists and
researchers on how the social media can be used to stress the consequences of risky sexual
behaviour such as unplanned pregnancies and (STDs). Thus, opening new channels of
communication between students and their lecturers concerning the meaning, importance and
potential values of sex in human life, which in turn will enable students to find it easier to seek
information from liable sources rather than relying on hearsay or misconception.
The study will also be of tremendous help to health care providers to recognize the many
opportunities offered by social media in discussing the possible consequences of unsafe sexual
practices, early pregnancy, which can result to a lot of educational opportunity of sexually
transmitted diseases which can cause pair, impair fertility and even result in death especially
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among student. It is envisage that the findings of this research work will help reduce the risk of
potentially negative outcomes from sexual behaviour such as unwanted or unplanned
pregnancies and infection with Sexually Transmitted Diseases including HIV and drop out of
school. Students will be free and enlightened to ask questions on sex education; and also give
parents/students opportunity to discuss related issues on sex education all made possible by the
multifarious features offered by the social media. More so, the useful knowledge of the
perception of student towards the use of social media for sex education, this work attempts to
glare out, will be useful to relevant stakeholder involve in sex education especially in tilting and
re- strategizing useful measures on how to better use the social media to educate students about
the need for safe sex practice thereby reducing the rate of abortion, unwanted pregnancies, drop
out of schools. STD‟s and transmission of HIV diseases.
Finally, it is envisaged that the finding of this research work, will add more vital information to
the existing body of knowledge which would be useful for other researcher, who may likely want
to plunge and or pitch their tent of research in this areas.
1.6 Scope of Study
This study will be conducted amongst the undergraduates’ students of Kogi State University, as
the study attempts to conduct an evaluation and analysis of the use of social media as well as the
perception of students of Prince Abubakar Audu University to sexual health education especially
such education tilted through the social media.It is important to take note of the fact that the
choice of the scope of this study is necessitated by the nature of the research been conducted
since a vast majority of the students of Kogi State University have unrestricted access to the
different social media platforms.
1.7 Operational Definition of key Terms
Social media: Internet and mobile technologies for interactive social networking.
Sex: in this study, this will mean a sexual activity typically involving the insertion and
thrusting of the penis into the vagina for sexual pleasure, reproduction or both.
Sexuality: in this study, this refers to a set of biological attributes in humans and animals.
It is primarily associated with physical and physiological features including
chromosomes, gene expression, hormone levels function and reproductive/sexual
anatomy.
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Education:in this study, this refers to an act or process of imparting or acquiring general
knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment aimed at preparing oneself
or others for an intellectually mature life.
Health Education: health education is a combination of learning experiences designed to
help individuals and communities improve their health, by increasing their knowledge or
influencing their attitudes.
Sexual Health Education: in this study, this will mean, a process of acquiring
information and forming attitudes, beliefs and values about bodily development, sex,
sexuality and relationship aimed at enlightening people about sexual consequence and the
need to make well informed decision about their sexual life.
Perception: This is the aggregate of individual attitudes or beliefs in a system. It can also
be seen as the complex collection of opinion of many different people and the sum of all
their views or as a single opinion held by an individual about a particular issue.
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CHAPTER TWO
LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Introduction
This chapter deals with a highly review of various relevant conceptual, theoretical
and empirical studies propounded by scholars and researchers in the field of mass
communication. The reviews of these studies will definitely help in the final
recommendations for further improvement and studies. For clarity this review is broken down
into these headings:
Conceptual review
Theoretical framework.
Empirical studies.
Conceptual Review
2.2 Concept of Social Media
Social media continuously keeps changing and as such it is difficult to assign a fixed definition
to it as Jacka and Scott (2011), argued that ‘’there is no single recognized definition for social
media’’. However some scholars have defined it in different perspectives over the past years.
Kaplan and Haenlein (2010), defined social media as a group of internet- based applications that
build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and allow the creation and
exchantt5ge of user-generated content. The Oxford dictionary (2011), also defined social media
as “websites and applications used for social networking”. Another definition of social media is
that it is a ‘’communication channel which is very popular, extremely fast and broad, has proven
to be highly effective, as well as trusted by billions of people, to share and discover content
concerning individuals, brands, information, entertainment and knowhow’’ (Dearborn,
2014).One theme that all these definitions underpin is that social media involves some form of
communication between individuals over the internet. Social media began in the late 1990s with
the first recognized social media network called“ Six Degrees in 1997 and this technology
enabled people to upload a profile and make friends. From 1997 to 2001 a number of community
tools; Asian Avenue, black planet and MiGentebegan supporting various combination of profile
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