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Researched by: CHIGOZIE OKIDI (SSS 1)
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In Defense of the Social Media

What is internet?

According to Wikipedia, the internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link billions of devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies.

Now then, the social media is an important component of the internet. These are websites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts. Websites and applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry Messenger, Whatsapp, Snapchat, are few examples of what constitutes the social media. In our everyday activities, the use of the internet has become inevitable, because of the unlimited resources it provides us on all facets of life.

The use of the internet / social media:

Recently, the use of the social media has witnessed a huge surge. Among youths especially teenagers, it has become so popular that it engages them in most of their productive time. This has been a source of concern for parents, school administrators, and teachers. Many believe this is the cause of dwindling performances from students these days. According to this school of thought, students’ accuracy in spelling has declined; likewise grammatical expressions are now filled with errors. They attribute this to influence from the social media. Accusing fingers have been repeatedly pointed at the use of short forms of spelling as a medium of communication on the social media.

The adverse effect of Social media on the youths:

In supporting the use of social media among teenagers, one must also look objectively at the points raised by the group who are against its use. Agreed, spelling and grammatical usage has been adversely affected, but the blame should not be solely laid on the social media. A proper and solid foundation from the elementary level in spelling and grammar would ease the effects of the short form of spellings.  Spellings and grammatical usage can be improved through the internet itself; anyone who is familiar with the internet knows how Google chrome and other browsers could be useful in this regard. The auto-correct feature on keyboards of smart phones would come handy too. These corrections should be mastered and put into use.

The positive effect of Social media on the youths:

Positive discussion and ideas can be generated through the use of the social media. A good example is the Nigerian website and discussion board nairaland.com, where engaging arguments and ideas are shared on ranging topics like: politics, sports, investment, banking, education, properties and a wide range of topics are discussed. A forum like this can positively engage a teenager, because there is so much to be learned from there.

Another thing we need to have in mind is that we are in the information age. The ease and the speed at which information could be accessed from the internet is something of note. Information travels very fast through the social media. We can all recollect the role of the social media during the “Arab Spring” in the Middle East. Information was quickly passed across through various social media outlets like twitter, facebook and the rest. This galvanized the youths in various countries in the Middle East and long serving despotic leaders like Hosni Mubarak of Egypt were overthrown.

Other reasons that can be used in support of this notion are the ease with which goods and services are marketed to a wide range of audience. Blogging is another example of how the social media has advanced our world in the area of self-employment. One can just sit with his or her laptop and make legitimate money.

Looking at it carefully, the pros of teenagers and students making use of the social media far outweigh the cons.   Yes there are negative sides to it, like other advancements in technology, but if we have to look at its positive angle, it is something that its use should be encouraged among students.  Conscious and sustainable efforts should be made to manage the situation.

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