Internet Access and Use of Social Media among Adolescents in Selected Secondary Schools in Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Keywords:Internet Access, Use, Adolescents, Secondary School, Social Media, Digital Inequality, Health Communication, Health Education
Background: Despite increasing majority of adolescents having access to Internet every day, there is need to understand why a significant minority still lack access to Internet and social media, which is a form of digital inequality in the 21st Century.
Aim: To assess the rate of Internet access and use of social media among secondary school adolescents in Nigeria with comparative emphasis on socio-demographic variables among students in public and private schools. Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted in four (2 public and 2 private) secondary schools in Ile-Ife, Osun State. A stratified sample of 596 Senior Secondary School (SSS) students (291 public, 305 private) were randomly selected across class levels from SSS 1 to SSS 3. Data collected were analyzed with SPSS version 26; using descriptive (frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation) and inferential statistics (Chi square).
Results: Almost all private secondary school students (97.7%) had access to Internet, compared to 82.3% of students in public schools. Majority of the students that have access to the Internet were between the age 14 to 16years (75%), females (73.7%), and of Yoruba tribe (90.2%). Likewise, 63.5% of students in private and 41.2% of those in public schools have used social media. Nonetheless, 17.7% vs. 2.3% of the respondents in public and private schools have never browsed the Internet respectively. Six socio-demographic variables (gender, religion, school type, class level, residence after school and weekly pocket money) statistically influenced access to social media significantly (p<0.05). Although 52.1% of the overall student sample that had access to Internet, regularly use social media; there was no significant association between the level of Internet access and use of social media (p = 0.280).
Conclusion: Adolescents in private schools have higher Internet access and use of social media than those in public schools. Since more than one-third of adolescent students in secondary schools do not use social media as desired, due to some significant socio-demographic limitations; the adoption of a hybrid approach of online and offline channels of health communication and education is best recommended among school adolescent population in Nigeria.
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