THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CREATING AWARENESS ON TEENAGE PREGNANCY (A CASE STUDY OF GUARANTY HIGH SCHOOL)
This study examines the Influence of Social Media In Creating Awareness On Teenage Pregnancy (A Case Study Of Guaranty High School). The specific objectives of the study are: To find out the level of access to the internet by students; To find out the frequency of social media usage by students; To find out their level of exposure to teenage pregnancy campaign on social media; To find out the influence of the teenage pregnancy campaign on the students. This study adopted the survey method as a research design, where a sample size of 200 was used for the study. A questionnaire was administered to 200 students in senior classes (SS1 to SS3) in Guaranty High School, Iju Ishaga.
The findings from the research show that majority of the respondents who were students had good access to the internet with 161 respondents representing (89.4%) out of the 180 agreeing to have used the internet before and a total of 90 (50.0%) respondents who reported to be using the internet always. The research showed that of the total respondents 90 (50.0%) reported using the internet always, with a majority of them using social media platforms frequently. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ranked amongst the most visited and used social media platforms, while WhatsApp and YouTube ranked low. Overall findings showed that the frequency of social media usage by students of Guaranty high school was very high. The study also noted that the majority of the students were exposed to messages concerning teenage pregnancy, with about 112 of them reporting that they have actually learned something regarding teenage pregnancy through social media platforms. Most reported that Facebook ranked amongst the highest places where they encountered these massages. The research also observed that the campaign on teenage pregnancy amongst the students of Guaranty High School has had a considerable impact on them.
The study concludes that though social media platforms can be used for bad things, they equally can be used for good, most especially to disseminate vital information that is crucial to the wellbeing of people in society especially the young. As the number of young people who engage in pre-marital sex increases and as their usage of the social media also increases concurrently, it is quite needful and convenient to drive the message and proper sensitization to them using these very platforms upon which they literally live most of their lives. The study recommends that the message on teenage pregnancy be intensified on social media platforms, especially the specific ones where there is a higher concentration of young adults who are vulnerable to teenage pregnancy. It also recommends the government or responsible institutions should produce movies that would treat issues like teenage pregnancy to target people young adult, since a considerable percentage of them, use their social media for chatting and watching movies online.
1.1 Background to the Study
Teenagers these days widely use social networks (sites). They have made this a part of their daily activities. Every webpage that allows for social interaction is considered to be a social media site. These pages include the social network pages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Myspace; gaming sites and virtual worlds such as Club Penguin, Second Life, and the Sims; video sites such as YouTube; and blogs (Elda, 2015). Consequently, such sites offer today's youth a portal for entertainment and communication. Based on the significant increase from previous surveys, 73% of wired American teens now use social networking websites (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, & Zickuhr,
2010). Lenhart & Madden (2009) argued that a very important factor contributing to early sexual initiation in adolescents is exposure to sexually explicit content on social media. For this reason, the need for social media awareness of teenage pregnancy cannot be overemphasized and thus demand urgent attention.
Teenage is often used interchangeably with adolescence. According to the World Health Organisation (2003), teenagers are the period between 10 and 19 years when secondary sex characteristics appear. Turner and Helms (1993) reported that the teen years fall between the ages of 13 and 19 years. Teenage pregnancy is defined as a teenager or under-aged usually within ages of thirteen to nineteen years becoming pregnant, it also refers to women who have not reached legal adulthood who becomes pregnant (Oguguo, 1996). Teenage pregnancy has become a bane in society. As such, the issue of pregnancies among teenage girls seems to be one of the social problems facing not only Nigeria but also several other nations of the world.
As a result, underage girls are caught in the mess of being put into the family way. Consequently, this has led many young ladies to early graves as a result of unsuccessful abortions; dropped out of schools, and consequently a costly mistake that leads to stigmatization. In this regard, Nwosu (2005) and Okafor (1997) observed that teenage sexual activities in Nigeria tends to be on the increase. And this is attributed to out of wedlock pregnancies that may result in abortion, childbirth, or even death.
According to Alabi and Oni (2017), citing Maynard (1997), believes that teenage pregnancy is a delinquent behavior resulting from stress, dislike, malice, boredom, and unhappiness experienced by a teenage girl within her home environment. Other predisposing factors include alcoholism, drug addiction, and sexual promiscuity. Victims of teenage pregnancy lacked information or probably were not adequately educated on safe-sex either by their parents, schools or development agencies and the social media that could have enabled them to deal with friends who lure them into sex prematurely (Kirby, 2001).
On the other hand, social media platforms are forms of media created by adolescents, and thus they combine both peer and media effects. Social media platforms such as short message service (SMS, or texting) and social networking sites (SNS) allow self-expression, intimacy, and privacy for adolescents (Moreno, 2011; Livingstone, 2008). Users are able to set their own preferences to convey messages about their social identity, in the same manner, that face-to-face interactions allow, but on a global scale and in contexts that are not always monitored by adults (Moreno & Kolb, 2012).
Social media is a strong source of influence on adolescent attitudes, intentions, and behavior. Through a single website such as Facebook, millions of adolescents are now linked to other adolescents online and each of these ties represents a potential tie of influence.
Indeed, social media is a promising channel to deliver health information, including health promotion and disease prevention messages (Stockwell, Kharbanda, Martinez, Lara, Vawdrey, Natarajan & Rickert, 2012; Wong, Merchant & Moreno, 2014). However, others suggest that social media platforms might also have negative health consequences due to a false belief of privacy leading to more provocative behavior and discussion around drinking, sex, violence, suicide ideation, and bullying, coupled with less parental monitoring (Houlihan & Houlihan, 2014; Borzekowski, 2006). Preliminary evidence suggests that displays of sexual material on Facebook are associated with the reported intention to become sexually active among teenagers (Kirby, 2007).
Panday, Makiwane, Ronchad, and Letsoalo (2009) emphasized on increased teenage pregnancy is more likely caused by lack of knowledge and information with regards to sexual activities. Richter and Mlambo (2005) further indicated that teenage pregnancy is much encouraged by lack of access to sex education. The American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media has also argued that although social media may facilitate socialization and communication, enhance learning opportunities and increase access to health information, it may also lead to cyberbullying or harassment, sexting, depression, and unwanted pregnancy (O'Keeffe & Clarke-Pearson, 2011).
Yet, there is little empirical evidence on the impact social media awareness on teenage pregnancy. Landry, Gonzales, Wood, and Vyas (2013) concluded that Latino teenagers who sent or received more than 100 SMS per day were significantly more likely to ever have vaginal sex leading to unwanted pregnancy and teenagers who logged in to a social networking account at least once per day were significantly more likely to ever have vaginal sex.
In view of the foregoing, this study is an attempt to expand the body of knowledge by examining the influence of social media awareness of teenage pregnancy among high school students.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The issue of teenage pregnancy is no longer a new thing globally. Various reasons have been attributed to its existence, but the basic problem is the persistency and the geometric progression of its expansion despite all the efforts made by the government, schools, religious bodies and non-governmental agencies at resolving some identified factors leading to this decadence in our societies. However, several opinions on the increase in teenage pregnancy has been attributed to a lack of information or campaign message on teenage pregnancy. In supporting this assertion, the study of (Panday et al., 2009) in 2002 and 2008 by the Medical Research Council emphasized that misinformation, lack of adequate knowledge and information with regards sexual activities is a causative factor of the high rate of teenage pregnancy.
Studies have been conducted on cases, effects, and control of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria (Alabi et al., 2017), awareness on consequences of teenage pregnancy in Nepal (Bhandari, 2014), effects of media, and teenage pregnancy (Coppens, 2014). However, there is a dearth of empirical findings on the influence of social media awareness on teenage pregnancy. Albeit, Kimemia and Mugambi (2016) attempted to examine social media and teenage pregnancy among students in secondary schools, the study was conducted in Imenti North sub-county, Meru county, Kenya. Scarce empirical study has been done in Nigeria where there are a plethora of cases of teenage pregnancy.
In view of this gap raised, the thrust of this current study is to fill the gap in knowledge in this area by examining the influence of social media awareness of teenage pregnancy.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine the influence of social media awareness on teenage pregnancy. Other specific objectives are:
1. To find out the level of access to the internet by students of guaranty high school
2. To find out the frequency of social media usage by students of guaranty high school
3. To find out their level of exposure to teenage pregnancy campaign on social media
4. To find out the influence of the teenage pregnancy campaign on the students of guaranty high school
1.4 Research Questions
In view of the objectives of the study, this study is guided using the following research questions:
1. What is the level of access to the internet by students of guaranteed high school?
2. What is the frequency of social media usage by students of guaranteed high school?
3. What is the level of exposure to teenage pregnancy campaign on social media?
4. What is the influence of teenage pregnancy campaign on the students of guaranty high school?
1.5 Significance of the Study
A good media campaign can generate awareness, motivate action, spur funding, and keep a community focused on the menace of teen pregnancy. Several, media campaigns have been undertaken to address numbers of different public health problems in Nigeria and globally. This explains the need for social media to keep the audience abreast of detailed information on teenage pregnancy by serving as a watchdog to society.
Media organizations will see the need to give due to prominence and set agenda through their programs to help reduce the menace of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria. This study will add to the available body of knowledge on social media awareness of teenage pregnancy. It will help bridge the gap in knowledge as prior studies have failed to address this issue.
The study will be relevant to policymaker and implemental in promulgating laws to help redress the factors affecting the moral decadence in Nigerian. Nongovernmental organizations and social organizations will also see the need to embark on programs to help in the prevention of teen pregnancy in Nigerian society.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study is the research boundary of the study; this study examines the influence of social media awareness on teenage pregnancy. This study will focus on students of guaranteed high school. The findings of this study will be generalized to other high schools, because students share similar characteristics.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Campaign awareness: this is an act of disseminating information on teenage pregnancy through several events.
Influence: this is the effect of social media awareness on teenage pregnancy
social media: social media as used in this study include social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram involved in keeping the audience abreast of the reports of teenage pregnancy.
Teenage pregnancy: is a situation of childbearing of the female adolescents between the ages of 13-19..