The increasing use of social media platforms by students calls for the assessment of their impact, both academic and nonacademic. The study sought to assess the consequences of social media usage on the social life of female learners. The research employed primary and secondary processes of data collection and a mixed technique of analysis. 30 respondents randomly selected among female students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico completed questionnaires. 70% of the respondents agree that social media are negatively influencing social lifestyle, 20% strongly agree, and 10% disagree. There is a need for improved awareness and support from parents and teachers to avoid the negative impact of social media on female students and ensure their maximum gain from such platforms.
Social media denotes online platforms generated to ease communication and knowledge sharing among people around the world. Some of the existing social media platforms are Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Such online networking platforms have influenced people’s practices remarkably, for example, enhancement of knowledge sharing and improvement of education systems. Female students in developing countries have embraced a wide scope of interpersonal and academic interactions in social media platforms (Raza, Qazi, & Umer, 2017). With an increasing rate of students utilizing social media networking each day, there is a need to assess the manner in which the platforms are influencing their social and personal way of life, both academic and nonacademic. The aim of this research is to evaluate how social media affects the social lifestyle of female learners. The advent of social media internationally has made female students in developing countries use the platforms to gain academic knowledge despite many of them spending time on social concerns such as regular chatting and sharing different pictures.
The application of social media by female learners in developing nations has greatly influenced their social life to the point where they prefer making their personal activities public. Despite many previous studies having been undertaken on the application of social media platforms by students and their influence on their welfare, academic performance, and the education system, very few researchers have focused on its constructive and damaging impact on social life. There is a need to evaluate the effects of social media usage on different facets of society, including influencing female learners to make their sentiments and life public. The effects of social media on female learners in developing nations are at times negative and could result in problems such as depression, for instance, when they find that their peers are succeeding in life, but they are not.
Social media is turning out to be a segment of society where it is altering shared norms and cultural beliefs. Information, content, and picture sharing among female students in developing countries have become a social desire. Such practices have changed the way students interrelate, socialize, and communicate in and out of their learning institutions. Social media platforms also offer robust interconnections, communication, and knowledge sharing among the rest of society. This has enabled students to take part in social discussions and post pictures, images, views, comments, and criticism, to mention a few. Chukwuere and Chukwuere (2017) affirm that social media has a huge impact on the daily lives of female learners in developing countries.
Female Students in Developing Nations
Social media has established numerous channels for connectivity among female students in developing countries hence facilitating their discussions, communication, and interrelations. The platforms also offer information and news across genders and enable female students to interact amongst themselves and with their male counterparts. Occurrences across the globe are strongly reliant on social media as nearly all female students in developing countries and about 50% of individuals globally receive instant news through the platforms (Hawi & Samaha, 2017). Indubitably, the application of social media influences the social lifestyle and feelings of female students both positively and negatively. Positive influence includes increased sharing of knowledge regarding social aspects such as how to identify a good partner and the best means of dealing with heartbreak and other calamities.
Negative influences of social media on female learners in developing nations include jealousy over a friend who constantly posts pictures that insinuate that she is leading a good life, enmity, hurt, relationship crisis, pain, psychological, and emotional breakdown. Nevertheless, studies on the effects of social media usage on relationships and marital breakdown are few. This is mostly associated with the unproductive application of social media by married female students where their spouses accidentally bump into suggestive messages of their flattering with other male students. Sobaih, Moustafa, Ghandforoush, and Khan (2016) state that social media usage influences female students’ culture, belief systems, morals, and religious convictions, to mention a few. Female students in developing countries broadly use social media more constantly than their male counterparts.
The Impact of Social Media Usage on Female Students
If used effectively, social media may provide a beneficial opportunity for joint learning among female scholars in developing countries. Chukwuere and Chukwuere (2017) affirm that the application of social media by female students has increased tremendously in the previous decade hence influencing anticipations such as the forecast of the use of platforms by gender. Male learners have a tendency of using much time surfing the internet, while female students prefer chatting and sharing pictures. Among social media platforms, Facebook is the one that is mostly employed across all ages and courses.
With the rising technological advancements, studies have shown that social media usage plays a critical role in economic growth, the connection of friends, facilitation of socialization, and the making of new pals. The application of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook by female students in developing countries has enabled sharing information and materials beneficial to their academic performance, for example, past papers and links to sites that are vital in their education (Chukwuere & Chukwuere, 2017). Female students assess social media platforms from devices such as mobile phones and computers when they decide to communicate with their friends, want to show them of a good fortune that befell them, require assistance in dealing with a problem at hand or just feel like sharing personal thoughts.
Despite the positive effects of social media usage on female learners, using the platforms also has negative consequences. For example, it results in unethical behaviors over and above addiction among female students in developing countries, which is a call for concern. Additionally, social media usage has also been associated with problems of low self-worth, insomnia, and depression. Ineffective utilization and overuse of social media platforms also result in isolation and wastage of time among some female students in developing countries (Oberst, Wegmann, Stodt, Brand, & Chamarro, 2017). Other negative consequences of social media usage among female learners in developing nations encompass the facilitation of terrorist attacks, being poached for sexual abuse, and cyberbullying. Research has also established that social media usage results in increased cases of hostility against female students, mainly through planned meetings with treacherous male friends.
This study used secondary and primary methods of data collection and a mixed technique of analysis, both qualitative and quantitative. Primary data were collected with the help of a questionnaire that contained close-ended questions. The questionnaires were distributed to 30 participants who had been randomly selected amongst female students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The questions sought to evaluate the effects of social media usage on female learners, especially their social life. Secondary sources of data were peer-reviewed journal articles obtained from online databases such as EBSCOhost, Emerald, and Google.
Findings and Data Analysis
The findings from the study established that most students (24) have been using social networks for over five years. 6 (20%) students waste more than five hours each day on Facebook while the majority (19) of them misuse one to two hours on the platforms. Results also indicate that 21 (70%) students agree that social media having a negative impact on social lifestyle, 6 (20%) strongly agree, and only 3 (10%) disagree. Moreover, 2 (7%) students strongly agree that social media having a positive impact on social lifestyle, 12 (40%) agree, 10 (33%) disagree, and 6 (20%) strongly disagree.
The information age associated with social media has tremendously influenced female students in developing countries. Some of the positive effects include making new friends, socializing, sharing academic materials, recreation, leisure, and staying updated about daily occurrences. From the study, it is clear that female students in developing countries benefit from using social media. This is demonstrated by the 7% who strongly agree and 40% who agree that social media has a positive influence on social lifestyle.
Despite its numerous benefits, social media has negative effects on female learners in developing countries. For instance, respondents in the study affirm that it has led to wastage of time, with 20% misusing more than 5 hours each day. Moreover, 70% of the respondents agree, 20% strongly disagree, while just 10% disagree on social media having negative effects on social lifestyle. This is proof that the disadvantages of social media usage by female learners in developing countries outweigh its advantages.
Social media has established new international practices of communication, socialization, interconnectivity, and information sharing, which cannot be realized with face-to-face interactions among students. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have enabled discussions and given attention to academic and other pressing matters among students globally. They have also enhanced inter-social relations among learners and educators. The adoption of social media among female students in developing countries is attributable to its user-friendly features and the fact that it is inexpensive (Chukwuere & Chukwuere, 2017). However, the use of social media can be addictive, distractive, and time-consuming over and above, causing isolation, depression, and poor self-esteem (Andreassen, Pallesen, & Griffiths, 2017). It also exposes learners to unethical content. There is a need for increased awareness and support from educators and parents to prevent the negative effects of social media on female learners and ensure that they greatly benefit from such platforms.
Female students in developing countries have resorted to a broad range of interpersonal and educational relations on social media platforms. This has made them gain academic knowledge, although many of them spend time on social concerns, for example, regular chatting and sharing of pictures. The influence of social media application on female learners in developing nations is sometimes negative and could lead to problems such as depression, addiction, low self-esteem, and time wastage, to mention a few. Parents and teachers should guide and support students to ensure that they benefit from social media and prevent the possible negative influence of such platforms.
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