Education Project Topics

The Influence of Smart Phones and Social Networking Sites on the Academic Performance of University Students




Background of the study

The emergence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and internet facilities have drastically affected almost every facet of human life. Currently, it is greatly evident in the way of teaching and learning. Nowadays, smartphones have become a part of every person’s life.

Globally, “People around the world have adopted this new and exciting technology as one of the most important required facility in their everyday life” Dean, S. (2014). Globally, the explosion of smartphones and its related devices has greatly transformed teaching and learning in developed nations where developing nations are not the exception (Cleary, 2016).

The proliferation of these facilities has changed the style of learning whereby students or learners no more solely depend on paper-based materials. The introduction of the internet led to the emergence of smartphones which enables learning to take place irrespective of the geographical location or period of time.

Arguably, smartphones came to the scene to replace the works of the camera, video recorders, digital watches, etc. For instance, it is becoming so rare for an individual to purchase a digital camera for personal use except for commercial purposes, and the extent at which people yearn for digital watches has reduced as a result of the introduction of smartphones. In effect, it becomes redundant for one to purchase such gadgets which can be found in smartphones. Cohen, (2015) postulated that having a smartphone is like having a tiny computer in a pocket. It is blatant that, the potency of smartphone is not only meant for placing of calls and receiving of calls.


Usually, there are amazing features such as for browsing, checking health status, sending and receiving emails, watching videos, listening to music, chatting, sharing photos, videos and other 3 documents, to mention but a few. No wonder there is an exponential use of social media as a result of the emergence of the smartphone. According to Masiu & Chukwuere (2018), in the 21st century, smartphones have vastly increased due to its exciting features such as accessing emails, biometric, accessing social media platform and many more.

According to Cohen, (2015) “A smartphone is a mobile phone with highly advanced features. A typical smartphone has a high-resolution touch screen display, WiFi connectivity, Web browsing capabilities, and the ability to accept sophisticated applications.” Ebiye (2015) regards a smartphone as a smart device used for fast access to knowledge, geared towards students achieving their teaching and learning and academic research objectives.

The dramatic growth of smartphone users has also increased the growth of social media users.

Also, in a report from the International Telecommunication Union, it was indicated that about 60% of the world’s population has access to mobile phones (Dean, 2014). In the same report, it is interesting to note that there are more mobile phone users in the developing nations as compared to the advanced ones (Henry & Quansah, 2013), which means, developing countries utilize smartphones the more. Among the developing countries, Malaysia has the highest use of smartphone where “(55%) of Malaysians use their mobiles to listen to music, half (50%) play online games and almost seven out of ten (67%) Malaysians watch online videos on their phones.”

The world is a comprehensive cyber community that has been connected by a network of wired and wireless devices through the World Wide Web (WWW). Today most of us have secured a room in cyber space by having email accounts, doing online transaction and through e-learning. Social networking sites are the main application under the umbrella of social media, which comes with the Web 2.0 era. Social media is the fastest growing web application in the 21st century. Technology    addiction    problem    has    been    treated    important, especially in the education field of secondary schools, because adolescent is more vulnerable to the addiction. However, smart phones addiction has become a more serious problem recently. Smart phones are the new generation of mobile phones; they have emerged over the last few years and already have conquered the market. Smart phones with their mini keyboards are not just phones, but have computer functions as email, calendar and address book and office programs for reading and editing. The multimedia phone features such as camera, video, sound recordings or podcasting is advanced and can compete with specialized equipment with   the   growing   of   gadgets   embedded   in   modern   mobile phones (particularly 3G and 4G phones) such as MP3, internet and the decrease in the size and price of such devices, mobile phones has become omnipresent. The mobile phone is an anytime and anywhere tool, boosting the tendency to the things discretely as well as openly. The fact is that with the use of cell phones, people sometimes lose the capacity to manage the boundaries between appropriate and inappropriate usage (Gina 2018) In this current technology, the use of social networking sites(such as Face book, twitter, WhatsApp, Skype, Instagram, among others) has become a common place for this generation of college students (Hanson, Drumheller, Mallard, Mckee & Schlegel,2011). Connecting to these social networking sites has become easier and more convenient with the increased popularity of wireless technology. This has contributed to an increase of more than one billion people logging on to these sites daily. Young adults, 18-29 years old are the most active user of wireless technology, 81% are active users (Gina 2018). The demand for social networking sites among college students is significant. 92% of all undergraduate students are members of social media (Rubin, 2002). As college students are increasingly adopting social media, it is important for faculty and administrators in higher education institutions to understand how this is influencing student’s academic performance.

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 Statement of the Problem

The invention of technology such as mobile phones has no doubt brought about immense positive progress to human societies, but this invention equally brought about in its wake some observed attitudinal problems among secondary schools students. However, this is not to say that these problems are solely caused by the usage of these phones as there are other causes, but that the attitudes of the users and the modes of the usage are significantly the contributing factors especially in the 21st century. Scholars have identified the problems associated with the phone usage and time (Camilia, osajoh, & dalhatu, 2013), the attachment to phones (Gaser, 2006), in the face of this, therefore, there is the need to establish the link between these observations and academic performance. In analyzing the problem of these internet phones, and in order to synchronize and have a clearer understanding of the problem as it is related- to this study, it must be borne in mind that other varying platforms of distractions towards the academic performance of the secondary school students are also implicated, such as the computer usages, which generate internet social networking sites, and the visual display devices for relaxation such as televisions.

In addition to this, there is high tendency of students to interact with their phone in the class in the course of lectures, either to respond to received messages, or to browse the internet. These, no doubt, take a heavy toll on the level of concentration devoted to the lectures. Even while outside the classroom environment, most students who use internet enabled phones devotes much time interacting with their phones by chatting on Twitter 2go, Facebook, Instant messages (Bbm, Yahoo messenger). Consequently, the time that ought to have been devoted to study and other useful academic endeavours are thus frittered away.

Research Questions

For the successful completion of the study, the following research questions were formulated by the researcher;

i. What is the influence of smart phones on academic performance of university students?

ii. Does social networks influence the academic performance of students?

iii. Does social networks influence students’ study habit?

iv. Does social networks influences students’ access to learning materials.

 Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of the study is to determine the influence of smart phones and social networking sites on the academic performance of Univerity Students in Benin Metrolird and to also;

i. to determine the influence of smart phones on academic performance of university students?

ii. to determine if social networks influences the academic performance of University students?

iii. to determine if social networks influence University students’ study habit?

iv. to determine if social networks influences students’ access to learning materials.

Significance of the Study

As said earlier, this study is about the influence of smart phones usage and social networking sites on academic performance of University students. This study will be useful to students, parents, teachers, school administrator and school counselor. The students as the receiver of knowledge in the school will understand the ways by which usage of smart phones can affect their learning performance.

Teachers in schools will find these work useful as it will provide the rationale for ensuring that students are been told how and when to use smart phones and the ways they can benefit from social sites.

The school administrator will see this work as one that can be relied on and as such come up with rules that can put the commendation of this study into action.

The counselor as a professional will apply knowledge gain from this work by putting students through the use of smart phones and social networking sites, thereby assisting them to perform well in their studies.

Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of this study will be limited to influence of smart phones usage and social networking sites on academic performance of University students. University of Benin Faculty of Education 200 level students will be used as a scope for this study.


Smart Phone: any mobile communication device capable of accessing the Internet.

Social networking:  sites or Social media: a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0and that allows the creation and exchange of user generated context (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010).

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): trend of using iPads, iPhones, Andriod phones,



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