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THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON NIGERIAN YOUTHS: THE PROS AND CONS- ATANAFE OLEMENA

Jul 6, 2023 #News

Social media has become a ubiquitous part of modern life. It is one of the most popular ways to connect with friends and family, stay up to date on the latest news and trends, share our feelings and thoughts.

It can help people feel less alone and can be a source of inspiration and motivation. The role social media plays in the 21st century has divided opinion among people. However, people give an opinion on social media, based on their individual experience, or experiences of people around them. Social media has taken centre stage in life of youths, this has presented many challenges, as well as opportunities and this has transformed to a great extent, the way youths interact with the world generally. The following are some of the ways social media has imparted on youths;
Social media has helped in the education of youths.

Educational materials can be seen in large quantities on social media. An example is YouTube, where people who possess knowledge of a particular subject(s) can create and upload videos educating the world. Google is another sight where students can look up some things and gain more knowledge too. Social media has also made it easier for students to connect with one another to work on group projects and study together.

Various educators also connect with their students outside the classroom, via various social media platforms, which can be especially helpful for students who need extra help or support. In 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, some schools were able to hold classes online for students so they won’t sit idle at home.


It is an avenue for business promotion and growth. Social media platforms have made it easier for businesses to reach a wider audience, regardless of location, time zone and other factors. So many Nigerian youths today have been able to set up small businesses and seeing that social media is a cost-effective way for businesses to promote their products or services, as it often requires little to no investment beyond time. It allows businesses to engage with their customers in new and meaningful ways, whether through messaging, comments or other means.

It also provides businesses with a wide range of targeting options, allowing them to reach specific demographics on interest groups. It can also help businesses to build their brands and increase awareness of their products or services.


It helps in communication and information. Social media can be a great way to connect with others who share similar interests or experiences. It helps people feel connected to the outside world, communicate with friends and families around the world. For instance, someone in Nigeria whose family is in the US can contact them whenever they like. Gone are the days when people had to write letters and take it to the post office and wait for days in order to contact their families. News and information, are easily spread across to the masses through social media platforms, such as; Opera news, Twitter, Instagram and so on.
Despite these virtues, social media can also have negative impacts in Nigerian youths. The following are the negative impacts of social media in Nigerian youths;


Fake news and misinformation. A recent example of this, is the news of the 18 years old lady, Rofiat, who was murdered by her boyfriend and his friends. The group of 4 boys, aged between 17 and 20, planned and executed the killing of Rofiat in the quest for money ritual. The news had it that one of the boys saw the steps for the money ritual on Facebook and informed his other friends to execute it by using the girl after getting other materials ready.


It has also increased the number of cybercrimes. It has given perpetrators easy access to their preys. Identity theft and hacking, can result to loss of huge amounts of money. Majority of Nigerian youths now engage in internet fraud, popularly known as “yahoo yahoo”, ponzi scheme, among many others. Sexual harassment, stalking and other social vices have been facilitated by the advent of social media.
Cyberbullying is yet another negative impact of social media. Victims of cyberbullying may experience feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness. They may have trouble eating, sleeping and concentrating. In severe cases, it can lead to self harm and suicidal ideation.

For instance, a young Nigerian teenager, credentials undisclosed, tried killing herself after she was body- shamed by some people online. In recent events, Chef Dammy, who came up after Chef Hilda Bassey, popularly known as Hilda Baci, broke the Guinness World Record, has been dragged, insulted and bullied for the actions she took; because she wanted to break Hilda’s cook-a-thon record.


Another way social media negatively affects Nigerian youths is the feeling of loneliness and social isolation. While social media can be a great way to connect with others, it can also lead to feelings of disconnection. A study at the University of Pennsylvania found that high usage of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram increases, rather than decreases feelings of loneliness. This is because social media can create a false sense of connection, where we feel like we are interacting with others, but we are not actually engaging in meaningful face-to-face interactions.


One of the way social media can affect youths, is by contributing to feelings of anxiety and depression. Studies have found that excessive use of social media can lead to FOMO(Fear Of Missing Out). Even if you know that images on social media are manipulated, they can still make you insecure about how you look or what is going on in your own life. Teenagers usually want to be involved in the happenings of the world.

The fear of missing out can be particularly problematic to youths, as it is can lead to distraction. Therefore, neglecting what they are actually meant to do, like school work and totally focus on social media. It can contribute to sleep problems, many youths today use social media right before bed, which can make it harder to fall asleep and stay awake. This can lead to fatigue and insomnia.


Overall, the impact of social media on Nigerian youth is complex. While it can have negative effects, it can also have positive effects, it is important for individuals to be mindful of their social media use and to take breaks when necessary. By doing so, we can help ensure that social media has a positive impact in our lives.


In conclusion, social media is a powerful tool that can have both positive and negative effects in our lives. While it can be a great way to connect with others and find support, it can also have bad influences in our lives.

Atanafe Olemena is a student of Delta State University, Abraka, Oleh campus, of the department of private law, faculty of law.

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