1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
It is a well-known fact that the use of internet has become a central part of both the developed and developing nations of the world. “It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies”-(Wikipedia) Its origins date back to research commissioned by the United States government in the 1960s to build robust, fault-tolerant communication via computer networks. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the interlinked hypertext documents, and applications of the World Wide Web, electronic mail (e-mail), telephony, and peer-to-peer networks for file sharing. Today, the Internet is a global phenomenon with the ability of providing information immensely, in education, sports, entertainment, and various walks of life. More Information is presented to more people from more sources than at any time in human history (Toktam, Salleh & Nizman, 2013). A development in technology was the foundation of the Internet. And its advancement has witnessed diverse enterprises which are disputable topics in very recent times. It has amongst several criticisms, evolved from function limited to feature rich and exciting computerized systems.
Opeoluwa, Nsima & Olugbenga, 2014 believe that the advent of the Internet in the late 1960s appears to be the greatest development in the chronology of technological inventions. However, the topic of the Internet and youth is one that its debate started since ICT became popular and quite ubiquitous. Parents and guardians all over the world have raised concerns over the negative impact the Internet is having on their wards. Nigeria is no dierent to this assertion as parents are especially concerned with how media exposure and content may influence their children. Although, eorts to restrict the content of media influence have become more and more intensified, questions remain as to how eective those eorts have been. The Internet has moved our society forward, and made accomplishing many tasks easier, but there are so many negative sides attached to its use. It has however introduced cyber-crime, addiction, diminished passion for academic excellence, neglect of cultural values, good behavioral norms and pornography- (Opeoluwa, Nsima & Olugbenga, 2014). One of the concerns raised over the usage of internet by the youth is addiction- (Medscape, 2013). “Excessive internet use is emerging as one of the more negative aspects of young people’s online activities. These addictions have negative effects on academics, physical health (depression), family relations (having to hide their excessive internet use from parents/guardians), and finance (cost of accrued interest expenses). We can however say the Internet is fast becoming a major force that is shaping the lives of youths in our society, and also designing the way the society operates.
It is therefore imperative to develop a balance on how to manage the usage of the Internet among the Nigerian youths for a better and brighter Nigeria. Internet is one of the best inventions for us and importance of Internet is huge in our lives. It has become the best source to get knowledge about any aspect. We can’t even imagine the life without Internet. Internet is nothing less than a boon for person related to any field- be it student, employee or anything else. We can stay updated with the latest happenings in the world, can stay connected with the world all the time, can get knowledge about anything we want and can do lot other things with the Internet. But as you know, nothing comes with ‘only’ benefits. Everything has got its negative points as well, and so the Internet has. The question might have hit your mind that what are the negative impacts of Internet, right? So, are you curious to know about that? If yes, then do read out the article ahead. Internet eect (IE) is a relatively new field of academic inquiry. Empirical studies suggest that IE, like other well researched addictive behaviors, has an eect on many aspects of a person’s life, including academic/work performance, relationships, and physical and mental health (Goldberg, 1996; Young, 1996, 1998) . Evidence of IE has been suggested by the findings that some Internet users spend increasingly longer periods of time online and experience withdrawal symptoms when online.
According to Opeoluwa, Nsima & Olugbenga, 2014: “In as much as technological advancement as it is with the Internet, bring smiles to the faces of millions or billions inhabiting the world, we must neither underestimate or neglect the impacts and challenges associated with them.” Reports and various articles have talked about the continuous and rapid growth of the use of the Internet in developing countries of the world, critics like Andrew Keen warned that: “The consequences of Internet and internet revolution are much more profound; the Internet and majority of its social platforms are revolutionizing our cultural habits, our ways of entertaining ourselves, and our ways of defining who we are; thus, requires a holistic approach to eliminate most of its adverse effects if at all it should be accorded any kind of credibility”- (Keen,2010)
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Since its inception in the late 1960s, and its arrival to the Nigerian environment in 1996, the internet has played a very significant role in shaping our immediate society and the world at large. From providing a platform through which different people from different parts of the world can meet at “real time”, without having to worry about the barrier of distance, to integrating all peoples of the world into one social community (internet), its importance cannot be overlooked. However, in developing countries like Nigeria, where there is little or no measure to check and manage what people do with Internet access, it has posed to be a serious menace to the society especially among the youths. Menace such as Cyber-crime; which includes Internet fraud and hacking, addiction, diminished passion for academic excellence, neglect of cultural values and behavioral norms, and pornography has continued to threaten the order of the society and negatively influence the mind of the youths. Therefore, we can see a big gap between its essence and the impacts it is having on youths today.