SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES AND SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR OF TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS STUDENTS IN KOGI STATE, NIGERIA

Asogwa, Chika Euphemia; Ojih, Success Emmanuel Unekwu and Onoja, Ibe Ben

Asogwa, Chika Euphemia. PhD; Ojih, Success Emmanuel Unekwu, Department of Mass Communication, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti; and

Onoja, Ibe Ben, Department of Mass Communication, Kogi State University

 Abstract

In Nigeria, Social Networking Sites (SNS) are getting more popular among students of tertiary Institutions irrespective of their ethno-social backgrounds. SNS have become a vital part of contemporary social life, presenting new opportunities as well as potentially unsafe encounters. Yet, little is known about the contributions of these media to the pattern of sexual exposures of young people, especially students, and more so in the context of its exacerbating influence on them. It is against this backdrop that this study examines social networking sites and sexual disposition of students of tertiary institutions in Kogi state, Nigeria. The study employed survey research method and relied on questionnaire and interview guide as instruments for the collection of primary data. The data were analyzed using tables showing frequencies and simple percentages. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to sample 384 respondents from the selected tertiary institutions. Anchored on the Uses and Gratifications Theory, the study found that social networking sites contribute to student’s formative sexual behavior via their exposure to nude/semi-nude, pornographic and other sexual innuendos on social media platforms and that they are influenced by their experiences on these platforms. The study concludes that SNSs utilization exerts both positive and negative effects on the sexual behaviour of students but with the debilitating effects more conspicuous; meaning they may promote sex education and pleasure, but indiscriminate sexual activities are also promoted thereby polluting the traditional sacredness of sex among young people, thus undermining the moral values in the state and country at large. Hence, the study recommends that the use and contents of SNSs should be regulated among students, and stressed the need for awareness and re-orientation of students on the safest way of using the social platforms.

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