The internet is actually a great tool for students in schools but compulsive use of it can negatively affect the academic performance of students.
In today’s technology age, particularly the era of smartphones, iPads, tablets etc, business, communication, research, education etc will be difficult without the internet but when used excessively in such a way that it interferes with daily life, it poses a problem which eventually becomes an addiction to the user.
The introduction of new Apps, software, social media networks and platforms which are easily accessible on smartphones, iPads, tablets, etc, has contributed to the pervasive nature of online gaming and social media addiction, which have negative impacts on the academic performance of students.
Research by experts revealed that some youths spend as much as 14 hours a day on gaming while others spend more. This menace is so rampant in today’s technology age that in 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) added gaming disorder to its list of diseases.
Many Nigerian youths spend many hours online, playing video games, watching videos, chatting with their online friends on social media for non-essential purposes without considering the side effects, particularly on their academic performance.
In 2015, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) noted that there was a mass failure in the English Language and the use of shorthand texts and social media slang was discovered as the main reason why some students failed the May/June 2015 West African Senior Schools Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
WAEC discovered that many of the students misspelled many words and wrote in abbreviations exactly the way they used to chat with their online friends on social media e.g. writing “b” instead of “be”, “d” instead of “the”, “u” instead of “you” etc.
This development is strong evidence of how social media addiction ruins lives and changes the way the human brain processes information.
Warning Signs of Online Gaming and Social Media Addiction:
- Neck or back pains.
- Sleeping late at night.
- Feeling depressed when unable to go online.
- Checking social media and playing games before doing other things every day.
- Thinking about gaming or next online visit, post or status almost every time.
- Feeling restless or uncomfortable when unable to play games or Log-In to social media networking sites.
- Having problems at school, work or home because of excessive online gaming or chatting on social media.
- Lying to people about how much time is spent on social media or online gaming.
Solutions to Online Gaming and Social Media Addiction:
- Always switch off your phone at a particular time before going to bed e.g. 10 pm and switch it on in the morning e.g. 7 am.
- Delete all Apps that you don’t really need on your device.
- Delete all games on your device or reduce the number of hours spent on gaming to only about 30 minutes.
- Set an alarm clock and use a stopwatch to control the amount of time you spend on social media or online gaming.
- Choose some days to stay offline without gaming or checking social media.
- Parents should buy only educative games for their children. i.e. only games that can improve their academic performance.
- The use of mobile phones in primary and secondary schools during school hours should be totally prohibited.
- Youth and children that are addicted to online gaming and social media should contact counselors for help before their addiction becomes uncontrollable.
Rotimi Onadipe, CEO- Onadipe Technologies and National Coordinator- Internet Abuse Awareness & Prevention Project, Nigeria.