THE INFLUENCE OF THE MEDIA ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE ON ENGLISH STUDENTS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF UYO
1.1 Background to the Study
The world today is flooded with the presence of the media, and the most ubiquitous media known to the world over the years has been the New Media (internet),which, given it’s high information capacity, has been labeled ‘the information super highway, and then social media. This improvement in communication technology has broaden the scope of communication through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
The term ‘media’ includes the wholes range of modern communication which includes television, video, radio, photography, newspaper, magazine, recorded music, computer games and the internet. They are usually referred to as mass media because they are used to reach large audiences. Minx (2005) defines media as a means of public communication such as television, radio and widely circulated newspapers that tend to reach a large audience with similar social characteristics. Also, Thompson (2004), defined media as books magazines, newspapers, radio, television, cinemas, records, tapes, and videos. Media can therefore be broadly defines as channels of communication, having the tendency to reach a large audience. Media is the means through which opinions, ideas, information or news are disseminated to a large group of people. The media is vital in the diffusion of knowledge and helps in developing students’ academics morally and socially.
Media texts often use several types of communication:
- Visual images (likes pictures, still or moving).
- Audio (sound, music or speech).
- Audiovisuals (television and YouTube videos) and written language.
However, the media is basically categorized into three types namely:
- Print media
- Electronic media
- Social media.
Print media refers to means to mass communication in the form of printed publications like magazines, newspaper, (which are the dominant traditional print media used in advertising), brochures, flyers, textbooks etc.
Electronic media refers to the category of media which content can be accessed through the use of electronic devices. Examples include television, radio, phone, and internet.
Social media refers to the collective name for online communication channels, websites or applications that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression via communities and networks. Example includes facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp etc.
However, the mainstream media (Newspaper, Magazine, Television, and the Radio) have some regulations of information in terms of their access and dissemination of information, while the internet and the social media have no regulation. In the words of Asemah, Okpanachi and Edgoh(2013),the proliferation of the media is enhanced by the manufacturing and distribution of equally sophisticated cellular phones, in which case the youths no longer have to visit a cyber cafe before they send and receive messages.
No one in today’s world would be surprised to see a youth chatting in sensitive places like church, mosque, and lecture halls. Some even chat or read internet messages while walking on the road.
Generally, the basic functions of the media include informing, entertaining, educating as well as influencing public opinion. Media are being used to target global problems such as overpopulation, illiteracy, women’s inequality environmental destruction and AIDS (Singha, 2004). One of the major functions of the media is the creation of awareness and educating the masses to overcome various social problem and development of civic sense. This means students who expose themselves to these quality of media contents stand the chances of improving on their knowledge, thereby improving on their academic performance. It can be deduced from Singhal’s position above that some media, especially the electronic media such as television and radio actually do design programme series aimed at adding value to education and knowledge.
Apart from positive impacts the media has been labeled for its negative impact over the lives of people and especially on socialization and cognitive development of people. For instance, it is believed that exposure to media violence is considered a risk factor both at individual and societal level. In other words, media violence is best viewed as one of the many causal risk factors that increase the likelihood of aggression.
Mark (2003) on the other hand, explains that a significant negative effect of the media influence in the creation of an unhealthy habit of consumerism for high end product or overt connection to extravagant materialistic consumptions. Viewers tend to visualize another lifestyle that encompasses the important aspect of luxury comfort and security, which, in the case of the student viewers, has the tendency of distracting from academic pursuit to that materialism and luxury. Cantor and Wilson (2003) also observed that among youths and adults, media campaign sometimes seem to execute negative target attitude (ie boomerang
effects) and behaviour instead of academic improvement and positive change.
Further, other researchers,, still on debate on the media influence on students’ academic performance, for example, Newton and Minor (2009) have identified that one of the major functions of the media is the creation of awareness and educating the masses to overcome various social problems and development of civic sense.
Former American President, Barack Obama, as quoted in Arabic and Udofia(2009) explained that there are certain things children cannot achieve unless they raise their expectations and turn off television set, adding that active learning from books is better than passive learning such as watching television and playing games. Shechtman (2008) agreeing to Shabic and Udofia above argued that exposure to prosocial media could
- Increase the accessibility of prosocial thoughts and scripts, providing adaptive alternatives to aggression,
- Reduce risky thinking (eg, believing the world is hostile) that can foster aggression,
- Reduce the likelihood of imitating aggression by avoiding it’s glamorisation and showing realistic consequences,
- Increase the likelihood of prosocial behaviour by showing that it is rewarded
- Increase empathy and perspective taking towards victims of aggression.
Anonymom (2008),in one of his studies tends to conclude the debate by asserting that students who watched TV for four and more hours decline their grade from 36 to 29 while those watching for one hour or less per weekday mostly increase their grades from 20 to 29 percent. Cotton (2008) argued that a major category of social media activity in social networking. Social networking websites such as facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, have become an integral part of United States.
Nevertheless, the presence of the media – traditional, new and social – is gradually washing away the essence of the library. Some students limit themselves to the information offered by the media, they patronise, while getting themselves shut to the wealth of knowledge stored in the library .While argument for the media with regards to their roles in students’ academic performance has been diluted by issues of destruction caused by other available interesting contents also provided by the media, arguments against it is also not devoid of criticism regarding the fact that the media such as the internet, has an endless routes to information sourcing, and reputation of having contributed positively to students’ academic performance. With the above scenario, therefore, this study seeks to investigate how the media have influenced academic performance of English students in the University of Uyo.
1.2 Significance of the study
The role of the media on influencing human behaviour cannot be overemphasized. Through their social responsibility and Agenda-setting function, the media have continued to affect the way people think, how they think and what they should think about. These influences vehemently abound in almost all aspects of human lives, which education and its end product -academic performance is never an exception.
The present society is characterized by the ubiquity of the media. And the new Media (internet) which has, due to its high information capacity, has been labeled the ‘Information Super-Highway’.
Nevertheless, the latest media (the social and the New media), has capaciously swept the students by their feet, generating critical questions, as to what influence the media play in students’ academic performance.
It is an unanimous fact that a good population of the students, from time to time make reference to the media, whether social media or the internet for their assignment or personal researches. And over the years, there has been a lingering argument, that the emergence of the internet and the social media has to a large extent bastardized the educational system, by way of their offering ready-made information to the students, while leaving them lazy. It is therefore to clarify this argument that this study is of great significance, as it sets to ascertain the nature of the media influence on academic performance of English students in the University of Uyo.
Moreso, the study is also important to policy makers, by way of its serving as an instrument of deciding decision to make about the students’ exposure to the media.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
It is believed that the media affect the academic performance of students either positively or negatively. The media seeks to provide information for the enlightenment and development of the student, and also increases and quickens access to information in order to make the academic enterprise more interesting, more meaningful and less tedious.
However, despite the fact that the media have contributed positively to the academic performance of students, there are still some indirect negative influences poised by the media. Some of these lapses includes arousing laziness in the learners since some media like internet seem to provide ready-made material or information to the students, thus making them relent in reading, as they tend to rely on the media by spending more time on accessing media contents instead of studying. Also, some media contents can expose students to sensitive issues that may have psychological effects on the students thereby impeding academic performance .These problems have negatively influenced academic performance of students, and the possible cause is the use of mobile phones.
However, this study seeks to investigate the nature of influence played by the media on academic of students, and seeks to provide ways in which students can utilize the media to increase their academic performance while reducing poor performance caused by access to the media.
1.4 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to examine the influence of the media on the academic performance on English students in University of Uyo.
Specifically, this study seeks to achieve the following objectives
- To determine the extent to which print media influence academic performance
- To determine the extent to which electronic media influence academic performance.
- To determine the extent to which social media affect academic performance
- To examine the nature of influence the media play on the student’s academic performance.
- To examine the nature of influence the media play on the students’ academic performance.
1.5 Research Questions
- What is the extent to which print media influence academic performance of students?
- What is the extent to which electronic media influence academic performance of students?
- What is the extent to which social media influence academic performance of students
- What nature of influence does the media play on students academic performance?
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
The study is limited in scope to 300 and 400 levels students studying English Education in the Department of Curriculum Studies in University of Uyo.
1.7 Basic Assumption of the study
It is assumed that the media influence academic performance of students either positively or negatively.
1.8 Research Hypothesis
- The print media does not significantly influence the academic performance of English students in University of Uyo.
- The electronic media does not significantly influence the academic performance of English students in the University of Uyo.
- The social media does not significantly influence the academic performance of English students in the University of Uyo.
- Operational Definition of Terms
- Influence: This is the effect or capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behaviour of someone.
- Media: Media is the plural form of medium and refers to collective communication outlets or tools used to access, store and deliver information among many people, including newspapers, magazine, television, radio, internet, etc.
- Academic performance: This relates to outcomes that indicate the extent to which a person has accomplished specific goals that were the focus of activities in an instructional environment or educational institution.
- Student : This is a learner who attends a higher institution or university .