THE INTERNET ON STUDENTS: FRIEND OR FOE?

INT
Without doubt, the emergence of the Internet has brought about a connected world and space where information seekers get their desired information in a flash. With the advancement in technology, the Internet has become a tool students almost solely rely on to get whatever enlightenment they need for their academic works. Verily, the internet has proven very useful to students but recent studies have shown that the internet has also proven to be a bane to students and youths worldwide.
British writer, Andrew Brown said “The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life” As much as I don’t want to believe this; I simply do have to because it is the absolute true. The abuse of the internet has become a trend that we all, in some way have accepted. Actually, most of us can hardly do without it. Although its use for academic works cannot be over emphasized, the fraction of time spent on the internet for pleasure is very much more than the time spent on academic works. It is not uncommon to see students in class, devoting their attention to their phones while the lecturer, oblivious of the fact that someone is lost in the online world is going on with his job. The bottom-line is that students involved in this logically ridiculous habit hardly get anything from lectures they have attended.
Internet addiction is not limited to classes or lecture rooms alone; I’m trying not to overgeneralize but students erroneously, have had the belief that the internet is an important part of their lives. Time supposed to be spent studying is spent surfing the net, shuttling between social sites or instant messaging applications and of course online games. This has become most convenient to addicted students that they feel once they are not on the internet; they have been cut off from the world. This has put a major dent on personal and real life relationships of such students but has put even a greater backdrop to academic excellence. A study conducted on University of Ibadan students and published in “International Journal of Education Using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT) in 2013 reveals that of the 200 students questionnaires were administered to, about 97% of them were active internet users, 43.5% representing 87 students claim they browse the internet for about 7 hours daily, 25.5% representing 51 students browse 5 hours daily, 5.5% representing 11 students browse at 3 hours and 21.5% representing 51 students browse less than an hour. The study also state that the respondents admitted that they browse more on social media than academic purpose and indicated that social media help to cool off during their stay in the institution.
In the words of Nassim Nicholas Taleb:  “The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free” . We have become slaves to the internet without us seeming to know because of internet dependence. This may seem like addiction but there is a slight difference, internet dependence connotes that the reliance on the internet is so much that it is used for almost everything and we go towards whichever direction it directs us to. It is a typical scene for students to decide to consult the internet for their assignments and research works while overlooking the relative importance of textbooks and other reference materials. There is a grave misconception that all content on the internet is true. It is however ironical because any Tom, Dick and Harry can decide to post their thoughts on the internet which necessarily may not be true. The aftermath; they misinform a lot of people especially students and making such students score low grades in their assignments.
Students have also fallen to internet scams as a result of internet dependence over the years. Internet jobbers and scammers have seen an avenue to dupe students out of their money but who can really blame them? Last year, there was a report of a university student who part with her money while trying to get an iPhone 6 online, she got a phone, which only for the Apple logo uses a Nokia battery and in all sense is a fake. That is how bad it can be.
As I have stated, the use of the internet has become a hindrance and has had its negative effects on us students. However, its positive attributes and friendly nature cannot be underestimated. Perhaps, students should be reoriented on using the internet for their good. It could after all be a tool for education advancement in the country. I need not say more.

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