INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ BEHAVIOUR IN MACHAKOS SUB-COUNTY, MACHAKOS COUNTY, KENYA
JAMES, DAMARIS MBITHE
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Social media is one of the most used interactive communication tools in the current world. Almost every person of above ten years is operating an account of any social media platform. The purpose of the study was to establish the influence of social media on the behavior of secondary school students in Machakos Sub- County, Machakos County. The objectives of the study were to examine social media use among these students, establish various social media platforms accessed, determine behavior displayed by the students as a result of social media use, and determine the measures to put in place to mitigate the behavior arising from social media use among students in the secondary schools in Machakos Sub- County. The study was underpinned on the social learning theory. A mixed-method research design was adopted, 104 teacher counselors were targeted, and in 20153 students who were enrolled in 90 public and private secondary schools in Machakos Sub- County. Purposive sampling was used in selecting the teacher counselors, while the students were selected using a simple random sample. Data was obtained using a semi-structured questionnaire and an interview guide. The data were analyzed using descriptive analysis and content analysis approaches. The study found that 97.4% of the secondary school students in Machakos Sub- County were regular social media users. The students preferred using WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. The study also found that most students accessed social media at home and school during games and break times, weekends, and late at night. Though the use of social media in schools was not approved except for learning purposes and during computer studies, many of the students could use social media using phones and other electronic gadgets that had been illegally sneaked into the schools. The study also found that social media use cultivated positive and negative learning, social, health, sexual, and psychosocial behaviors. The positive behavior was produced at a 60% extent, while the negative behavior was at a 40% extent. The study further found several actions that parents/guardians, schools‘ management, and other stakeholders could undertake to mitigate the students‘ exposure to inappropriate materials on social media, leading to negative behavior. The study thus concluded a high prevalence of social media use among secondary school students in Machakos Sub- County.
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