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The Effect of Social Media on the Spelling Ability of Students: A Case Study of Federal College of Education (FCE) Yola

Fredrick Wilson

Avaliable from January, 1990


This research investigates social media effect on the spelling abilities of students of Federal College of Education Yola. The study is significant because it helped in unveiling the negative effect of social media on students spelling abilities. The intents of the study are to examine the effect of social media on the students spelling ability, to find out the nature of effect social media have on students spelling ability, to determine the number of hours spent by students on social networking activities every day and to determine how social media usage has affected students spelling ability.  The social learning theory was adopted as the theoretical framework. Survey was the research method used, using questionnaire as the instrument which was conveniently and accidentally distributed among respondents in the levels. The study established that virtual platforms (social media) have negative effects on the spelling ability of students. Students expend excessive period on social media events than their academics especially the effect on the spelling ability of students during examination, when writing letters and using social media platform such as Whatsapp, Twitter and Facebook.  The research generalized that the usage of social media by students affects their spelling ability negatively more especially when writing examination and letters, which in turn affects conventional way of writing. The study however recommends that more time should be channeled and spent on productive academic engagement and institutions should come up with ways of harnessing such virtual platforms academically in order to enhance students spelling ability since they are so addicted to social media.


No doubt contemporary technology in communication seem to have turned the entire world into a Global village just as emphasized by an English professor in the person of Marshall McLuhan years ago. The birth of internet or World Wide Web (www) gave rise to the concept of worlds interconnectivity fostered by Information And Communication Technology (ICT) driven by international trade and investment. This also facilitated the rise of the various social media platforms that have become integral to people in respect of information. As it is today, the growth, adoption and usage of technology offers tremendous benefits, advantages as well as disadvantages. Virtual platforms popularly and professionally known as social media are known for the facilitation of information sharing, enlightenment and the enhancement of development issues across the globe regardless of distance and time, which is the regular side. The popular believe today is that mankind has been exposed to simpler and better ways of exhibiting things with the aid of technology. Social media which include, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Whatsapp messenger, blackberry messenger, Skype, Google talk, Google messenger, are interactive virtual environments which propels and harness cordialness through relationships built on the sites.  In both contemporary and primitive societies today, most people utilize these platforms to interrelate with physical, virtual friends and  connect with old friends, share thoughts, ideas and feelings effectively and efficiently within a short period of time. According to Asemah and Edegoh, (2012) the gradual evolution and growth of technology has redefined and changed the world immensely, this is evident in respect of how technological innovations are used as best channels for exploring the wide area of knowledge. The evolution of the internet technology created a suitable, easiest, cost efficient and fast medium of communication, whereby majority of the worlds population two-third statistically participate fully in blogging as well as social media activities in order to satisfy their thirst for information, and entertainment, hence such platforms serve as tools for connection and creation of mutual understanding. Over the years, the online environment created by social media has enabled it users share thoughts, common business, personal and intellectual ideas effectively without restriction. (William, Boyd, Densten, Chin, Diamond and Morgenthaler 2009). The long dream of the world transformation into a global village where one language, one flag and common values rule has become a reality as a result of the interconnectivity of several interactive platforms that unite and allow people to communicate from diverse ends, social background, and culture. Countless benefits have been tremendously realized via distant communication expedited by social media usage. The ability to spell words effectively prepares a ground for educational distinction which is key in the intellectual quest and pursuit of all students. It plays a crucial part in an individual assignment within academic and non-academic institutions hence coining possible ways and mechanism of how peoples academic achievements can be enhanced in all ramification by spelling words effectively and correctly has become a priority and a phenomenon of concern. (Olubiyi 2012).

Worldwide, emphasis have been placed on intellectual and academic excellence. Most prevalent and alarming globally are issues and problems upholding and downgrading it hence many studies have been carried out in order to establish concrete intellectual findings in that regard. Academic accomplishment and its imperativeness in determining ones success is multi-faceted and largely depends on many factors some of which are, the ability to spell words correctly, the ability to phrase and write good sentences and the ability to use language appropriately. They determine ones academic capability in both institutions of learning and career development (Kyoshaba 2009). Spelling excellence which contribute immensely to academic excellence remains one of the goals of numerous if not all academic establishments, it is however ascertained and measured through examination results, therefore spelling excellence and academic excellence are the outcome or product of education. In respect of measurement, there is no general agreement on how it is best tested or the aspects that are most important (Annie, Howard and Mildfred, 1996).  With the recent setback of lifes existent principles and tenets of education commonly prevalent amidst students that accumulate the vast majority of social media users for interaction, perhaps there may be a direct relationship that exists between social media usage and the spelling ability of students in universities and beyond. The greater concentration of these contemporary platforms revolves to a great extent around erecting and modifying appropriate social connotation between individuals with communal and mutual concern. The World Wide Web, that host countless social interactive sites has posed serious flaws to students as they most often prefer channeling time meant for productive academic ventures to activities such as chatting and socializing with friends online. A lot of apprentices are now habituated to the technological amusement and rave of Facebook and twitter. as a result of addiction, the quest to exchange information swiftly, gave birth to new methods of spelling words which is a total deviance from the normal, professional and formal ways of spelling words thus the student seem to have found in love with shortening words to enable them say as much as they can in a short time. Today, most young people who are students enjoy chatting while walking on streets, in formal settings of learning, places of worship etc. it is however alarming that the surge for the usage of these technological devices increases each passing moment. Crystal, D, (2008) established that, among the growing trends in communication, social media happens to be the most welcomed development  and the favourite of youths and students globally because of its cheap tariff and reliability. A study by Rafi, M, (2010) revealed that the adoption, usage and addiction to text messaging have propelled the deterioration of English writing and appropriate spelling of words. The excessive usage habit according to majority of the respondents expedites hurdles in writing English during examination. The indispensable fact is, texting has come to stay and evolve speedily as a 21st century fashion with abundant and unusual usage of language which is a total deviance from the years to years standards. However it is a popular believe that the practice is promoting a huge debility in learning hence the writing skills of students is greatly affected as a result of excessive usage of SMS. A philosophical guide by name Social information processing theory posits that more time is needed in developing virtual social collaboration than one on one relationship. However when developed, it has the same bearing as the one on one. Therefore, given the fact that friends be it physical or virtual exercise some form of influence, the degree and frequency of social media usage is a key and major determinant in respect of students disposition towards their studies. It is against this background that this study examined the effect of social media on the spelling ability of Federal College of Education Yola students.

Statement of problem

The growing trend and usage of social media as means of fostering mutual understanding has come to stay in Nigeria just like in almost all parts of the world. It is however imperative to note that majority of users that form the internet or virtual community thriving today are high school and University students. Baran, (2010:272) noted that whatever effect social media has on the user fundamentally depends on how the user chooses to use it as it can be used in advantageous ways and otherwise. The phenomenon social media has been explored widely by diverse scholars in respect of its benefit and effects, however it appears less has been done about the affiliation between social media and the spelling ability of students, in order to fill the gap in knowledge, the study surveyed the effect of social media on students spelling ability. Specifically this study will find answers to the following question. What is the effect of social media on the spelling ability of students? 

Objectives of the study

The rationale of this survey generally is to examine the effect of Social Media on the Spelling ability of students of Federal College of Education Yola. Specifically, the study seeks

i.      To examine the effect social has on the spelling ability of students.

ii.     To find out the nature of effect social media have on students spelling ability.

iii.    To determine the number of hours spent by students daily on social media.

iv.    To determine ways by which social usage has affected the spelling ability of the students.

Research questions

i. What effect does social media has on the spelling ability of students in Federal college of education Yola?

ii. What is the nature of effect on students spelling ability?

iii. What is the number of hours spent by students on social media activities?

iv. In what ways has social media usage affected the spelling ability of the students of Federal College of Education Yola?

Significance Justification of the study

The addiction of social media usage mostly among youths and students has been as issue of local and international discussion. The deteriorating rate of intellectual excellence hugely related to social media usage as proven by numerous scholars triggered lots of studies on its effects and benefits. Glaringly little or nothing has been done about its relationship with the spelling ability of students. Hence this research work is important to institutions of learning, parent and students. It will enable educators understand the impact social media has on their students. The study is also of immense significance to parents in terms of knowing and comprehending the effects social media has on their children and the necessary mechanism for the regulation of its excessive usage. The study will serve as a veritable platform for students to comprehend the collective advantages of social media and the likely dangers exploring the platforms more than required may pose to their spelling ability and academic performance as a whole. It will assist student in comprehending the diverse nature of social media. It will make available pertinent guide for other intellectuals and researchers undertaking related study.

Operational definitions

As words may mean differently in different contexts, the following definitions are given as words used as intended to be understood for the purpose of this study.

Social Media: They are internet based virtual platforms that simplify interactivity and the creation of mutual understanding among people from diverse ends within a limited period of time. Social media include web and mobile technology. In this study, this refers to platforms such as facebook, twitter, Myspace and Whatsapp that enable users share information.

Spelling Ability: The act, competence, quality, practice or subject of forming words with letters, or of reading the letters of words. (Orthography). In this study it stands for the ability of students to spell words correctly as required formally and professionally.

Students: In this study it stands for students of Federal College of Education Yola. 

 Literature Review

World over, new information technologies involving a range of computer controlled communication services have evolved. Prominent among these is the internet. The internet is a cluster of thousands of heterogeneous computer networks utilizing different set of protocols to create a worldwide communication platform (Adesina, 2006:168).  The internet is a conglomerate of diverse categories of networks and set ups linked together. It is also known as a connection of computers with the aid of computer networks based on a common addressing system and communication protocol called transmission control protocolinternet protocol. It facilitates information sharing just as mobile phones enable people talk from different ends. Some call the internet super highway. As a road allows vehicular movement to various parts of a country so does information travel via different interconnected computer networks (Owolabi, 2006:139). Dominick (2009:277) posit that the connections that exist among these networks could be microwaves, fiber optic cables, phone lines or wires built exceptionally for this purpose. Dominick (2009) also gave the make-up and characteristics of the internet as World Wide Web (WWW), email, newsgroup, and online service providers. Boyd and Ellison (2007) further explained the features of the internet by saying It shares a variety of technical features that allows individuals to construct a public or semi-public office, articulate list of their users that they share connection with and view their list of connection`s within the system. However, the most interesting thing about the internet is that no organization owns or controls it. There is no government regulation and no one censors the information made available on the internet (Wu, Paulina 2015) Wu, Paulina (2015) also gave the following uses of the internet: chatting, text-based chats, e-based or multimedia chat etc. It is paramount and requisite to have a knowledge of what media is in order to understand the concept of new media. Daramola, (2003:95) sees media as the vehicle or means by which information are conveyed from source to receivers. More so, Ball-Reach and Cantor cited in Littlejohn (1992:341) explain that central to any study in mass communication is the media. The contemporary Mass Media (whether hot or cool as McLuhan would say), foster the interconnectivity of millions of people to be in touch with almost any spot on the globe. In the craft of journalism, the new and the old media exist as a result of the emergence and evolvement of the internet. According to Dungson, (2006) Newspapers, magazine, radio and television are the old media while Haralambos and Holborn, (2004) see new media as those aspects that are associated with information and communication technology (ICT), hardware and software, as well as media institutions and the people who practice in them. Mcquail (2005) stated that new media is an encompassing set of diversifying plus applied communication technologies (IT). Haralambos and Holborn, (2004) added that technological development in information and information technology has allowed new media to diversify and spread. Dominick (2009:291) claimed that the internet i.e. new media supplements the old surveillance function of Mass Media. Kietzman (2012). Defined Social media as web and mobile based machinery that create veritable platforms through which people communally exchange, relate, reinvent and co create user generated content. Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) added that social media are platforms built of philosophical practicalities and a conglomerate of networks that enable users generate and share contents. According to Martinez cited in Boyd (2009), social media allow people expand their social connections by contacting and becoming friends with people who they may not have met in person. Wellman, Salaff, Dimitrova, Garton, Gulia and Haythorn, (1996) opines that social media support both maintenance of existing social ties and formation of new connections outside pre-existing social groups or location their allowing the formation of communities around shared interest, as opposed to shared geography. Over the years, social media have expanded as a result of the availability of mobile phones which have contributed immensely to users usage, adoption and dependence to social media. Social media effects are dire. Baran (2010:272) opined that the outcome of social media influence on a user which could be advantageous (positive) or otherwise fundamentally depends on the manner or ways by which the user chooses to use it hence scholars and researchers across the globe have been able to establish some findings on the influence of social media. According to Englander, Terregrossa and Wang (2010) the negative effect of social media on the academic performance of students is far greater than its advantages thus, social media is negatively concomitant with academic excellence and prosperity.

Social Media Effects

(Oche and Aminu 2010) posits that majority of students and adolescences now a days own Facebook accounts which is gradually resulting to a massive decline in the academic performance of students in all institutions of learning in Nigeria to be specific and the world at large. However reasons or explanations for this decline may not be farfetched from excessive usage of social media. While many minds might be quick to blame the poor quality of teachers forgetting that students attention has drifted away from physical associates to virtual or online friends, whereas relevant academic related schemes like writing and spelling words effectively gets crippled in the process. Olubiyi (2012). Noted that the level at which students are so enthralled to online chatting is one of the commonest trends in societies today, virtually 24 hours is spent on social media by active users(mostly student) to socialize and satisfy their yearnings for visibility in the virtual world. Even in classrooms and lecture theatres, it has been observed that some students are always busy pinging, 2going or Facebooking, while lectures are on, time ought be channeled towards learning, academic research and innovative engagements have been crushed by the passion for meeting new friends online, and most times busy discussing trivial issues and most painful of all spelling words wrongly. Thus countless number of students experience academic impediment by virtue of excessive social media practice. Obi, Bulus,Adamu and Sala ( 2012), observed that majority of students that often explore social media routinely have coined and adopted peculiar practices of  writing and abbreviating words in formal settings and during chatting which is gradually becoming integral to their formal writing skills. For example students now use 2 in place of to, D in place of the, and 4 in place of for. These necessitated the establishment of deterioration in the use of English and grammar by users who are mostly students, therefore this explains in clear terms that words abbreviation while chatting has a direct link with the class assessment of students as it alters the conventional way of spelling words as required professionally. Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) notes that although social media has been recognized as an important resource for education today, other studies however shows that undergraduates harness social media such as Facebook for fun, to while away time, to meet existing friends or to make new ones. Also Kimberly, Jeong and Lee, (2009), supposed that students spend ample stretch on participating in social media activities, with many students apportioning blames to social platforms for consistent shrinkage and decline in excellent academic performance. It also shows that only few students are aware of the academic and professional networking opportunities the sites offers. 

Benefits of Social Media

Social media by originality propagates information sharing for the purpose of creating mutual understanding and benefits. It has the supremacy of humanizing, amusing and influencing the audience. Most importantly, they hold a contagious and outreaching influence of which the mainstream media is deficient of.  Osahenya (2012) explained this latent as the unstoppable power of the social media. In spite of the fact that a lot of negativities have been attached to social media as a result of the potential menace students are exposed to. It is also imperative to elicit the advantages that can be accrued if properly harnessed. Abubakar (2011) posits that the open, chatty and interactive nature of social media propels and boosts participation. He characterized the diverse nature of social into blogs, YouTube, flicker, 2go, Facebook and twitter to mention but a few. Boyd (2007) revealed that institutions of knowledge acquisition are beginning to utilized quite a number of the virtual sites for educational purposes and to incorporate and foster information sharing habits among students regarding assignment and other beneficial intellectual information other students are deficient of. schools have started to use these sites to promote education, keep students up to date with assignments, and offer help to those in need. He concluded that social media can be a positive influence on students if amply used. Boyd (2007) believes that social networking sites bid users the opportunity to uniquely air their views without restrictions of any kind. In addition, Boyd (2007) perceived that social media serve as both meeting place and a platform that propagates positive interactivity where like-minded individuals can showcase their talents. Boyd and Ellison (2007) further explained in clear terms that secondary school students make judicious use of this available forum as yardstick for acquiring wealth of knowledge and other crucial aid for future planning. For example, high school graduates aspiring to be undergraduates in diverse disciplines and Universities could log in to these platforms and visit the profile of the university they deem is fit for them. However Kuppuswamy and Shankar (2010) avert that social networking platforms ensnare the minds of students and divert it to nonacademic venture such unproductive online conversation. While Liccardi, Ounnas, Massey, Kinnunen, Midy, and Sakar (2007) explicitly presage that social media nurture social connectivity among students, it allows them make known to each other their everyday educational proficiencies and also converse on numerous topics. Furthermore, Tinto (1997) added that social media is needful as extra-curricular events and educational events are unsatisfying to some students who suffer from the inaccessibility of social networking sites. This explains that there are lots of academic benefits and useful experiences that attached to social media.  Trusov, Bucklin, and Pauwels (2009) argued that social media in its entirety is precarious to youths who are mostly if not all students.

Social networking sites according to Cain (2009) offers ease of connectivity among people.  Its cost effectiveness, information, pictures and videos sharing nature upsurge users participation. Preceding studies according to Wiley and Sisson (2006) shows that great percentage of tertiary students (90%) engage in social media usage. In the same way Ellison (2007) added that roughly half an hour is spent routinely on chatting and other social media activities, thus social media is important in the lives of students. A study conducted by Lenhart and Madden in 2007 unveiled that students acclaim social networking sites are good frequencies for collaboration and the exchange of information with friends. Richardson, Third and MacColl (2009) in Ito (2005) postulate that creative contents on social media strengthen community building when exchanged. It extends high sense of friendship, inseparability and closeness among people who share the same history. It upholds the virtues of collaboration and strong sense of community development. From which ever perspective social media is looked at, Richardson, Third and MacColl connotes that, users sense of community development is built which means to a great extent, they have positive impact on users. Finally Arling P and Subramani M (2011) opine that employees use social networking tools (e.g Facebook, LinkedIn, On-line Blogs, etc) to establish contacts and associate with experts that could be useful in exchanging knowledge that could be helpful in increasing job performance. In 2013 a survey was conducted to examine the use of social media by students. The study unveiled that students usage of these platforms are mostly for leisurely purposes such as phonography viewing, films watching and the discussion of religious and political issues (Ezeah, Euphemia, Asogwa and Obiorah, 2013).

Academic Performance of Students and the Influence of Social Media

The rate at which students drop out of school yearly is alarming which is why it  has become a global phenomenon. (Bowen 2008). Lots of research posits that among the factors and pressures propelling and raising the dropout rate of students across the globe, the greatest and most impactful among them is social media. However, with the increase in social media adoption, usage, addiction and the surge for technological social lives by students, the question remains, does it affect their academic pursuit?  (Bowen 2008).  Yang (2003) noted that the degree of social media usage fundamentally determines its effect on the user. While Williams (2008) holds that majority of high school graduates lack the adequate knowledge and qualification to enroll for higher studies and these reasons are not far from the surge and addiction of social media by students and youths. However Kabilan (2010) believe that there are some advantages tied to social media usage one of which is the facilitation of English learning which leads to English proficiency. Also Craig (2003) and David (2008) noted that information sharing on social media which involves typing or texting in some ways enhance students literateness and mastery of language. Williams (2008) observed that users ability to type fast and multi task gets broadened through social media usage. In a study on impact of Facebook on undergraduate academic performance Moon (2011)   averred that social media have negative impact on students. According to the result, the more students use facebook the more it affects their academic performance. Similarly, Oye (2012) notes that most of the younger students use social networking sites mainly for socializing activities rather than for academic purpose.  Another study conducted by Shana (2012) revealed that students use social media mainly for making friends and chatting. The result showed that only 26 percent of the students (respondents) use social media for academic purpose. Young (2006) in a study titled the effect of internet use and social media on the academic performance of students explained that the wide tentacles of the internet have impacted greatly to the school lives of undergraduates and students generally. He noted that contemporary students now a days fundamentally depend on social media for information sourcing and entertainment that are hugely related to school life. The researcher added that, internet, though time sapping, has less negative effects on studies. This is evident going by numerous observations carried out on some students of university of Maiduguri who are vigorous handlers of social media and yet the most intelligent in their respective classes. Jeong (2005) noted that students obsession to internet is expressively associated with their academic and emotional characteristics. Seo (2004) corroborates Jeongs assertion when he opined that the negative influence of internet is only on excessive users and not on all users. A new research study found that widespread use of social media among freshman college students may compromise academic performance. The study is one of the first to explore mechanisms of media effects on academic outcomes. Investigators determined that use of media, from texting to chatting on cell phones to posting status updates on Facebook may lower grades for freshman female students (Nauert 2007).

Usage of Social Media and Students Academic Performance

The outcome of a survey by Lenhart in 2010, on social media revealed that about 57% of virtual platform users are student who fall within the age range of 18-29. Most of them according to his findings have numerous profiles or accounts on several social networking sites.  Pempek, Yermolayeva, and Calvert (2009) added that there is a great variance in respect of time spent on social media by users. However, analysis discovered that huge number of users expend nearly half an hour routinely mostly around 9 p.m. to zero hours socializing while students disburse 47 minutes every day on Facebook. Majority of college students about 50% visit social media more than necessary daily (Sheldon 2008). According to Quan, Haase and Young (2010) 82% of undergraduates visit social networking sites severally daily. Younger students frequently explore Facebbok more than older students. They use the platforms for maintaining old relationships with people from their places of origin as well as high school colleague and friends. (Pempek 2009). A research conducted by Ajewole, Olowu and Fasola in 2012 on social media dependence amid youths of Nigeria revealed that most of the respondents have issues with noble academic productivity of which time spent on social media is seen to be the factor responsible. Khan U (2009), is of the opinion that active social media users encounter deficit in their school presentation. Similarly, Englander, Terregrossa and Wang (2010) postulate that social media and the academic performance of students are adversely linked. The disadvantages associated with its usage outweigh the advantages. To him, constants handlers enjoy being online rather engaging in other relevant personal and professional endeavors which ultimately create a glaring discrepancy in educational excellence in terms of performance. A study by Karpinski and Vein (2009) pointed out that social networking handlers create little or no time for their educations when compared to non-users. The study was able to ascertain and generalized that based on data collected and analyzed in relation to users and non-users CGPAs hence in the history of generations and their peculiar distractions, Social media usage and addiction is seen to be the foremost disturbance of this current generation (Karpinski and Duberstein (2009).

Social Media and Language

The imperativeness of language and language usage as the only natural means of creating mutual understanding cannot be over emphasized. The gradual evolution of technology that gave birth to concepts such as digital age and globalization have impacted and redefined communication momentously. The adoption of social media as channels of exchanging information have in ways uncountable altered language and conventional language usage. Veteran users who are mostly young people by virtue of addiction have now coined a variety of online dialect that is constructing influence in the speech of youths and the vast diverse areas of language. Eloquence and good mastery of English language is a celebrated global phenomenon. It is not only important in academic endevours but a prerequisite in all ramifications of professional activities both locally and internationally in todays contemporary generation. . According to a study conducted on Malaysian youths by Saraswathy, ErPekHoon, Swagata Sinha Roy and Pok Wei Fong (2014) revealed that it the quality language spoken by Malaysian youths is gradually deteriorating and deviating from conventional standard as a result of improper and unprofessional usage on social media communication which ultimately brings to fore new phrases and words. (Aydin 2012). Theorize that abbreviated language developed on social technological platforms is severely interfering with the vocabulary of students negatively. He concluded that lot students learn and practice the online language by counter parting and observation in both speech and lettering. For example addicted handlers use leet instead of elite which is a total deviance from the conventional. As usage of online platforms continue to increase many users (students and teenagers) have coined a peculiar language of communication on the platforms. (Aydin 2012). Holds that texting and jargons established and used during conversation in online platforms directly affects language as 90% of youths and students own a mobile phone while 96% actively enjoy texting. This shows that young people are active texters (Plester 2008).  Kathleen and Anuhea (2010) see social media as a liability base on freedom of speech and poor regulation that came with the platforms, according to them the lack of censorship have posed serious challenges to peoples privacy and vocabulary more especially celebrities, that post items with clear linguistic challenges. Toutanova (2003). Revealed series of studies that detailed how writing accuracy on social media considerably dropped from 97% to 85% hence the magnitudes of language technology are dismal. Foster (2011) validates the impact of social media on language based on the double digit accuracy deterioration experienced in multiple state of the art parsers when examined on online platforms methods of texting, Craig (2003) also added that the continuous use of abbreviation and uncommon slang during texting impedes the ability of students to implore prescribed literacy abilities. However other scholars consider social media as great platforms that facilitates vocabulary development and language learning. While some researchers claim that, frequency of usage and number of encounters in different forms and contexts determine the acquisition of new vocabulary. Grosseck (2008) and Muñoz (2009) found that social media (Facebook and Twitter) give students the opportunity to exchange useful academic information. Group pages when created on either whatsapp or facebook enable students communicate and share valuable information about assignments and projects. In University of Maiduguri, a lot of students explained how well informed they are about class issues as a result of such platforms. Kabilan (2010) postulate that virtual environments created on social media could be used in the promotion of learning through language development since confidence, motivation and the constructive trust to communicate in English are built on the platforms. On the effect of texting Craig (2003) and David (2008) similarly concluded that social media in some ways develops learning via messaging as it makes viable likelihoods to absorb language.

Social Media Problems in Schools

Social media networks and other contemporary systems of dispatching facts have modeled serious challenges to schools and professional bodies as a result of the level obsession showcased by students within centers of knowledge and skills acquisition. (Greenfield and Subrahmanyam 2008). Speculates that mechanism put in place by various institutions of learning to regulate and checkmate usage of social media seems to be less effective as many students devise means of accessing these sites as they so wish during learning sections. (Greenfield andSubramanian 2008). Further connotes that irregularities showcased during tutoring phase implement negative outcome on learning in educational serenity. Oche and Aminu (2010) posits that majority of undergraduates now a days are addicted to chatting because of over usage which is very unhealthy for their education, while Wiley (2006) perceive it to be a sharing nation and a great opportunity for learners.

Theoretical Framework

Klaus (1993) states that theories resent various ways observers see their environment more than they capture reality itself. Kaplan (1964) also added that the formation of theory is not just the discovery of fact but a way of seeing and thinking about the world, as such it is better seen as the lens one uses in observation than as a mirror of nature. In this study, the effect of social media on the spelling ability of students, social learning theory was used. There has been some questions on the kinds of values adopted and used by people from the conventional media and now social media. Social learning theory propounded by Albert bandura postulates that learning takes place in a social context via cognitive processes known as observation and uninterrupted guidelines even in the absenteeism undeviating corroboration. He further said that people learn persistently using communication within their immediate environment and now the virtual environment known as the internetsocial media. He explained that communal and virtual communal interaction exercise influences on the mind thus, innovations such as social media is a factor in determining the life events, believes, values and culture tenable in our societies today. Elder (1981) and Bandura (1989) Posit that technology provides new innovative methods that create social learning environments. One aspect of this technology is its ability to create platforms that allows interactivity and also provide the opportunity to observe others. To them human believe system is greatly influenced by virtual platforms used for the transmission of information and the stimulation of social persuasion of which social media is a clear example. Students and humans generally are now constantly surrounded by so many influence fundamentally the media. Social media has become integral to virtually all students across the globe and this has influenced them behaviorally, cognitively and otherwise. Albert bandura gave three major process or stages by which social learning takes place since learning does not occur independently. These process are: 

Identification: This is a psychological process whereby the subject assimilates an aspect, property, or attribute of the other and is transformed wholly or partially by the model provided. It is by means of a series of identifications that the personality is constituted and specified by which copying a model and specific acts, springs from wanting to be and trying to be like the model with respect to some broader quality (White 1997). 
Observation: Neal M and John D (1941). Observed that observational learning occurred when observers were motivated to learn, when the cues or elements of the behaviors to be learned were present, when observers performed the given behaviors, and when observers were positively reinforced for adapting those behaviors. According behaviors can be adopted when seen and such behaviours would be reorganized and then learned which produces new behaviour, and either increase or decrease frequency with which a previously learned behaviour is demonstrated.
Imitation: is an advanced behavior whereby an individual observes and replicates anothers behaviour. It is a form of social learning that leads to the development of traditions and culture.  Miller and Dollard assumed that individuals behaved in certain ways and then shaped their behavior their based on imitation and learning. The researchers saw imitation as replacing random trial-and-error behaviors and that it has simplify behavioural adoption and reinforcement. Social learning theory has been used for this study because it best explains how people learn and develop certain behaviors that could be as a result of media usage and exposure to media content plus the reason(s) and outcomes of such usage on the users. As the theory states, the degree of our learnability in a social context is the key variable in understanding how we learn and adapt certain behaviors.

The History of Federal College of Education Yola

The Federal College of Education Yola started as Federal Advanced Teachers College in 1974. The College alongside others in Nigeria was restructured in 1989 with a change of status and mandate to Federal College of Education following the enactment of Decree No 4 of the 1986 and the follow-up Decree No 6 of the 1993. The mandate of the Federal College of Education, Yola is to produce highly motivated and efficient classroom teachers for the Basic Education level of the Nigerias Educational system. The vision of the College is to be a leading college in Africa in the training of efficient and creative teachers, and the promotion of professionalism, research and community service and also to spearhead the internalization of the NCE programme and the integration of the host community into the mainstream of national education agenda in line with the college core values which are, humility, selfless service and God consciousness. The college offers three year NCE (Nigeria Certificate in Education) programme and five year NCE part-time program (for in-service teachers). In collaboration with sister institutions, Information Technology courses, Language proficiency courses and vocational programs are offered. The college also offers a B.Ed.  Programs in 9 subjects in collaboration with University of Maiduguri. The college can burst of more than seven thousand students from diverse ends.


The research design adopted for the study was descriptive survey. This design is considered apt because it enables the researcher to generate data through the standardized collection procedures based on highly structured research instrument(s) and well defined study concept. According to Barbie (1997) survey design is probably the best technique available to social scientists for original data collection from a defined population extremely large to observe holistically and directly. He added that survey design is excellent in measuring orientation and attitudes in large population. According to Osuala (2001) survey research investigates both large and small population by selecting and studying samples excerpt from the population in order to explore the relative incidence, distribution interrelation of sociological and psychological variables. The outcome of most survey is characterized by the following: Selection of samples via identified sampling technique, construction of measurement instruments, and the process of data presentation, analysis and interpretation after the study. Data generation in survey is often through questionnaire, personal interview and observation.

Population of the study

The entire students of Federal College of Education Yola form the population of this study from which samples were drawn. The total universe for the study was 3545.

Sample and Sampling Technique

Wimmer and Dominick (1987) defined sample as a sub set of a population that is taken to be the representation of the entire population who share the same characteristics in all aspect. Since it was practically not possible for this study to investigate the entire students of Federal College of Education Yola, as a result of time and size, respondents were drawn from each level (levels and figures as provided by the Examination and Records Division, Federal College of Education Yola.) this formed the sample of the study.  Purposive sampling method which is under non probability sampling technique was adopted in the study for sample selection. The purposive sampling procedure is a jacketed process that entails the selection of subject base on specific features or qualities and eliminates those deficient of the laid down criteria. It is a method where researchers handpick subject to participate in a study based on identified variables under consideration (Wimmer and Dominick 1987). Defer (1997) believe that the power of purposive sampling lie in the selection of information rich-cases for in-depth analysis related to the central issues being studied.  Samples in the study were selected based on level of study. Using the total number of students and distribution according to level, the study drew samples from each level according to their proportional size that was determined using the steps below:

1.     The total population of students Federal College of Education Yola was identified.

2.     The number of students in each level in Federal College of Education Yola was identified.

3.     The required total sample size is 150 (The 150 sample was selected bearing in mind several constraints which makes it difficult to study the whole students).

 The proportion required from each of the level was determined using the formula below:

Formula =           sub group Population X Required samples

                                             Total population

 In this study-students population in each level X 150 (required samples) Total Population of students; Federal College of Education Yola

All the levels were represented proportionately to their size within the population. Stratified Accidental sampling technic was used for the actual selection of individuals involved. (Selecting students from year two to final year). 3545 formed the universe of the study from which 150 students were drawn as required sample size for this research.

Below is the table that shows the sample allocation bases. 

Sample allocation for the levels

Table: Table of sample allocation for the levels.

A well-constructed and self-developed questionnaire was the data eliciting instrument for this study. Questionnaire is perceived to be the most frequently used instrument of data collection specifically in most survey research. Onwe (1998) claimed that appropriate usage of questionnaire in a particular research situation provides meaningful answer to research problem. The general two types of questionnaire was appropriately used in the study and these are: (A) structured or fixed response questionnaire in which each question include a number of respondents to respond to options by picking any option that best suit their option. While (B) which is the unstructured or op-ended questionnaire allows respondents to respond according to their feelings and own words. In view of the above, questionnaire was used to find out the effect of social media on the spelling abilities of students, a case study of Federal College of Education Yola. The question focused on the selected indicators of the study (the effect of social media on students spelling abilities of Federal College of Education Yola). According to Nachmias and Nachmias (1996) questionnaire has a lot of advantages some of which are, cost efficiency, greater anonymity of respondents and the reduction of biasing error because of the little or no interaction between the researcher and the respondents, as such, less or no influence that will tamper with the authenticity, reliability and validity of the research outcome is experienced. This study used tables and percentage to interpret quantitative data generated. Qualitative interpretation and analysis was used appropriately especially as it relates to open ended questions.

Data Presentation

The study with the aid of questionnaire elicited information from students of Federal College of Education Yola (FCE) 150 questionnaire were administered on students using purposive and accidental sampling techniques, out of which 139 were returned. Three were invalid and eight got missing. This gave a response rate of 92.7%.

Demographic Data

Sex of respondents

Table 1: Sex of respondents.

From the above table, majority of the respondents are male (53.2%).While (46.8%) of the respondents are female.

Respondents age.
Table 2: Respondents age.

From the table above 52(37.4%) of the respondents fall within the age category of 16-20 and 68(48.9%) 21-25, 14(10.1%), 26-30 and 5(3.6%) 31 and above.

Below is the presentation of the findings based on the objectives of the research.

Objective one: To examine the effect of social media on the students spelling ability

The effect of social media on students spelling ability

Table 3: The effect of social media on students spelling ability

Findings from this table above reveal that 106(76.3%) of the respondents believe that social media can affect their spelling ability while 33(23.7%) of the respondents believe that social cannot affect their spelling ability.

Social media influence on the spelling ability of students

To view Table 4, click below

Table 4: How has the use of social media influenced students spelling ability.

From the table above 60(43.2%) 0f the respondents said social media has influenced their spelling ability while 60(43.2%) of the respondents said social media has negatively influenced their spelling ability. 19(19.6%) of the respondents gave no response which it has neither influenced their spelling ability negatively or positively.

Objective two: To find out the nature of effect social media have on students spelling ability

To view Table 5, click below
Table 5: The nature of effect social media have on students spelling ability

This table shows the nature of effect social media have on students spelling ability. 71(51.1%) respondent see more of the effect in terms of examination and 36(25.9%) respondents in letters. 23(16.5%) while using Facebook and 9(6.5%) while using Whatsapp.

The effect of social media on students spelling ability

To view Table 6, click below
Table 6: What is the impact of words abbreviation on your spelling ability

The table above unveils that 45(32.4%) of the respondents said words abbreviation while chatting on social media positively affects their spelling ability while 73(52.5%) of the respondents said words abbreviation while chatting on social media negatively affects their spelling ability. 21(15.1%) of the respondents said the effect on their spelling ability is indifferent.

The effect of social media on conventional way of writing

Do you believe that words abbreviation
Table 7: Do you believe that words abbreviation can alter conventional way of writing

This table shows that 115(82.7%) respondents said words abbreviation can alter conventional way of writing while 24(17.3%) respondents said words abbreviation does not alter conventional way of writing.

Objective three: To determine number of hours students spend on social networking activities daily

To view Table 8, click below
Table 8: How many hours do you spend online

The table above reveal that 20(14.4%) respondents spend 6 hours online. 25(18%) respondents spend 4 hours online and 52(37.4%) respondents spend 2 hours. 38(27.3%)respondents spend 1 hour online and 4(2.9%) respondents spend hours not specified by them.

Objective four: To determine the commonly misspelled works by the students

How the use of social media has affected students spelling ability.
Table 9: How the use of social media has affected students spelling ability.

This table reveal that 11(7.9%) respondents commonly abbreviate fkns while chatting while 9(6.5%) respondents use twaz. 18(12.9%) respondents use wuh and 12(8.6%) respondents commonly abbreviate ait. 18(12.9%) respondents use Lol and 69(49.6%) respondents use all the abbreviations and 2(1.4%) respondents use 2day, and leta respectively.

Specific words miss spelt when chatting or writing formally

To view Table 10, click below
Table 10:  What specific words do you misspell when chatting and writing formally.

This table shows that 18(12.9%) of the respondents said they miss spell kk when chatting and writing formally while 29(20.9%) respondents miss spell how and 2(1.4%) respondents miss spell B. 15(10.8%) respondents miss spell Wif while 8(5.8%) respondents miss spell Dat and 9(6.5%) respondents miss spell D. 17(12.2%) respondents miss spell U and 37(26.6%) respondents miss spell all of the above while 4(2.9%) miss spell others such as 2day, Nofin and others.

To view Table 11, click below
Table 11: How it has affected students spelling ability.

This table shows how words abbreviation while chatting on social media affects students spelling ability. 71(51.1%) respondent said it affects them when writing examination and 36(25.9%) respondents said when writing letters. 23(16.5%) respondents said it affects them when facebooking and 9 (6.5%) respondents when whatsapping.

Discussion of Findings

Question 1: What is the effect of social media on students spelling ability in Federal college of Education Yola?

Providing answers to the first research question: What is the effect of social media on students spelling ability in Federal college of Education Yola? This study indicates that 76.3%of the respondents use social media, according to them, adequate access and usage of social media can affect their spelling ability. Furthermore in table 6 majority of the respondents 74.8% said that social media affects their spelling ability negatively and 32.4% of the respondents believed that social media affects their spelling ability positively. 15.1% of the respondents said social media neither affects their spelling ability negatively nor positively which means the effect is unknown. This result therefore strengthens the finding by Moon (2011). Who theorize that the social media have undesirable bearing on students. He argued that frequent and ceaseless usage of social media determine the level of bearing it has on students. This negative effect is however associated with the extent of stretch expended by students as a result of the inevitable satisfaction driven from the usage. According to Morahan- Martin and Schumacher, (2000) excessive use of the internet, social media addiction, and the failure to control this usage may eventually become a problem. Kuss and Griffiths, (2011) said, on the internet, students engage in multiplicity of activities some of which may be potentially addictive.Also in ascertaining the effect of social media on students spelling ability, the study indicates that 11.9% of the respondent spell Fkns instead of thanks and 6.5% spell it was as twaz, 12.9% spell what as wuh while 12.9 spell laugh out loud as lol while 49.6% of the respondent misspell all the words and even more. Table 10 spell you as u while 20.9% of the respondents spell how as hw while majority of the respondents misspell all the words in the table. The findings from the two tables indicate the negative effects social media usages have on students spelling ability.

Question 2: What is the nature of the bearing social media has on the spelling ability of students?

To find out the nature of bearing social media has on the students spelling ability; the study found that 43.2% of the respondents said social media has influenced their spelling ability negatively while 43.2% of the respondents said social media has negatively influenced their spelling ability. 19.6% of the respondents gave no response which means the influence of social media on their spelling ability is neither negative nor positive and also table 5 discovered that 51.1% respondent see more of the effect in terms of examination and 25.9% respondents in letters. 16.5% while using facebook and 6.5% while using Whatsapp.This finding revealed that, although students engage in the use of social media virtually every day, the nature of influence it has on them varies, as some experience more of the effect in examination, others. However the result here is in tandem with the finding by Baran (2010) who noted that technology could have both negative and positive bearing on its user depending on how it is used. It was observed in university of Maiduguri that some students use social media excessively but doing well academically while some of the excessive users perform otherwise. Therefore, the nature of effect boils down to influence which could be negative or positive and mostly visible in examination, latters, Facebook and Whatsapp just as revealed by the finding.

Question 3: What is the number of hours spent by students on social media activities?

And in finding answers to number of hour‟s students spend on social media activities; the study further revealed that on daily basis, 14.4% respondents spend 6 hours online. 25(18%) respondents spend 4 hours online and 52(37.4%) respondents spend 2 hours and 27.3% respondents spend 1 hour online and 2.9% respondents spend 30 to 40 minutes daily on social media. Time is a very important factor in examining the effect of social media generally. Findings from the analyzed data revealed that most of the respondents consume not less than 2 to 4 hours daily. The result here correlates with the work of Lawal and Oluwatoyin (2011) where they pointed that social media users spend an average of two to six hours using social media while non-users spend between eight and seventeen hours studying. According to him those who spend hours using social media devotes lesser time to academic venture. This study revealed the same on students of Federal College of Education Yola since they spend hours on social media which contributes to the deterioration of their spelling ability.

Question 4: In what ways has social media usage affected the spelling ability of the students of Federal College of Education Yola?

The findings indicate that. 51.1% respondents said social media affect them when writing examination and 25.9%of the respondents said it affect their spelling ability while writing letters. 16.5% of the respondents said it affects them when facebooking and 6.5% respondents when whatsapping. Findings here revealed that social media is a major factor that affects students spelling ability in Federal College of Education Yola. The outcome of this study is consistent with the finding by Aydin, (2012). Who noted that, words abbreviation used on virtual platforms deteriorates student‟s vocabulary. Many learn the language through observation and imitation in both speaking and writing. According him, alternative words such as sup derived from what‟s up and wuh from what are good examples of elements deteriorating conventional spoken language and vocabulary. However generally this study stands on the fact that social media affects students spelling during examination and when writing letters, the negative effect also alters their conventional way of writing which is unhealthy academically and formally. Thus, according to social learning theory which posits that learning takes place in a communal context by observation and imitation, the students of Federal College of Education Yol


Mass communication, Spelling Ability, Social media.