The internet is actually a great tool for students in schools but compulsive use of it could negatively affect the academic performance of students.
In this technology age, particularly the era of smartphones, iPads, tablets etc, business, communication, research, education, entertainment etc will be very difficult without the internet but when used excessively in such a way that it interferes with daily life, it becomes an addiction.
With the introduction of new Apps, softwares, social media networks & platforms which are easily accessible on smartphones, iPads, tablets etc, this has contributed to the pervasive nature of online gaming and internet addiction which have negative impacts on the academic performance of nigerian youths.
Research revealed that some youths spend as much as 14 hours a day on gaming while others spend more. This menace is so rampant in this technology age that in 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) added gaming disorder to its list of diseases.
Many Nigerian youths spend many hours online, playing video games, watching videos, chatting with their online friends for non essential purposes without considering the side effects, particularly on their academic performance.
In 2015, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) noted that there was mass failure in English Language & the use of shorthand texts and social media slangs was the main reason why some students failed the May/June 2015 West African Senior Schools Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
WAEC discovered that many of the students misspelled many words and wrote in abbreviations exactly the way they used to chat with their online friends on social media e.g. writing “b” instead “be”, “d” instead of “the”, “u” instead of “you” etc.
This development is a strong evidence of how internet addiction ruins lives and changes the way the human brain processes information.
Warning Signs of Online Gaming & Internet Addiction:
- Neck or back pains.
- Sleeping late at night.
- Feeling depressed when unable to go online.
- Checking social media & playing games before doing other things everyday.
- Thinking about gaming or next online visit, post or status almost every time.
- Feeling restless or uncomfortable when unable to play game or Log-In to social media networks.
- Having problems at school, work or home because of excessive online gaming or chatting on social media.
- Lying to people about how much time spent on social media or online gaming.
Solutions to Online Gaming & Internet Addiction:
- Always switch off your phone at a particular time before going to bed e.g. 10pm & switch it on in the morning e.g. 7am.
- Delete all Apps that you don’t really need on your device.
- Delete all games on your device or reduce the number of hours spent on gaming to only about 20 minutes.
- Set alarm clock & use stop watch to control the amount of time you spend on internet & online gaming.
- Choose some days to stay offline without gaming or checking social media.
- Parents should buy only educative games for their children. i.e. only games that can improve their academic performance.
- Use of mobile phones in primary & secondary schools during school hours should be totally prohibited.
- Children and youth that are addicted to online gaming & internet should contact counselors for help.
Rotimi Onadipe is the CEO of Onadipe Technologies and National Coordinator for Internet Abuse Crime Prevention Project Nigeria. He can be contacted via : +234-8169121819 / [email protected]