The Impact of Social Media on Nigeria’s Youth and Culture

There is no denying that social media is increasingly becoming a vital tool for social interaction, learning and business transactions across the world. Social media is particularly agog with an uncountable number of youths, who seek solace in meeting friends and sharing ideas there. The heavy impact of social media on Nigeria’s youth has led thousands of them to use the same channels both for learning and creating significant side incomes.

Social media

Does it mean we can foresee only the good impact of social media on Nigeria’s youth and culture in general? Or is it a mixed blessing? Experience over the years has shown that both the good and bad aspects of using social media heavily impact on Nigeria’s youth. Let’s check the statistics of social media usage for a start.

For Clarification: What is Social Media?

Investopedia website defines social media as:

… a digital technology that facilitates the sharing of text and multimedia through virtual networks and communities.”

Furthermore, the Investopedia site gives us a clearer statistics of social media usage in recent times:

More than 4.7 billion people around the world use social media. In 2022, the number of social media users worldwide grew by 137 million, or about 3%.

“Social media facilitates the sharing of ideas and information through virtual networks. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and YouTube, social media covers a broad universe of apps and platforms that allow users to share content, interact online, and build communities. More than 4.7 billion people use social media, equal to roughly 60% of the world’s population.”

Not only that, but social media messaging apps and sites are the most commonly used internet sites worldwide. So far the largest and most popular of them are Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, and WeChat. Facebook alone has over 2.9 billion subscribers – the largest among all the social sites. TikTok, one of the latest additions to social media, is now on fire. TikTok has joined the ranks of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram in popularity and acceptance.

Recent reports on internet usage also indicate that early in 2023, about 94.8% of users actively used chat and messaging apps and websites. Social media platforms stood at 94.6% of internet users. While search engine sites came third with 81.8% of internet users patronizing them.

Advantages of Social Media to Nigeria’s Youth

Social media has helped to create and maintain several kinds of social interaction amongst people, and with huge benefits. This is particularly true amongst the youths. Youths in Nigeria, just as in other places globally, form dynamic and unique groups on social media. And they are constantly creating and sharing content with their favorite connections and friends near and far. Therefore social media is a powerful networking tool. The network you build now would likely help you later on to succeed in business, jobs and opportunities hunting.

Secondly, social media is a means for youths to express their creativity through several artistic forms and social skills. That would include singing, dancing, fine art, animation, poetry, writing, spoken word, teaching, acting and business skills. The forms of creative expression available goes beyond that.

Thirdly, youths and other age groups stay in the know and are constantly updated about the latest happenings around town via social media. Social media is the best place to stay up to date. You are served breaking news minute by minute on sports, market trends, traffic reports, politics, entertainment, social events and more.

Let’s not forget that social media has also become a way of earning a living. Creative expressions by youths and other age groups are now being rewarded by brands who advertise their products through such people. These creative youths often get many followers and thus become influencers, the perfect vehicle to expose a brand to their many followers. They earn a share of the advertising profits, and even sign bigger endorsements with brands. Besides all these, youths and entrepreneurs also earn massively from marketing their own products and services online.

Disadvantages of Social Media

There is the problem of social media addiction. The large number of useful man-hours spent surfing through social media sites by youths is alarming. Coupled with the large amounts of data they must buy to sustain the trend. Very often, it leads to a waste of precious time and money (that could have been better invested doing meaningful work or chores).

Again, lies and falsehood are easily propagated on social media. The heavy rate at which people, including youths, give a fake impression of themselves on social media is demeaning. Also facts are easy to confirm, and information travels fast on the internet in general. Unfortunately, lies also spread very easily in social media spaces. It would require a few concerned people here and there to refute these lies.

Furthermore, it is quite easy for youths to be influenced by negative lifestyles and social vices displayed on social media. Some detrimental cultures such as dressing, crude language, violent or abusive comments, invading other people’s privacy, and blackmail are easily learnt by unguided youths on social media.

In addition, criminal behavior on social media is an ever-present threat. Scammers, hackers, and cyberstalkers are constantly looking for victims on social media. Scammers and hackers are on the lookout for vulnerable youths and adults, whose communications they can infiltrate and monitor. That is, to steal valuables from them. Especially victims’ money in their bank, investment and cryptocurrency accounts. Kidnappers and cultists are also using social media to lure youths away into dangerous places in order to strike.

In Summary

We implore wise parents and custodians not to ignore the necessity of guiding their young wards away from social media abuse or addiction. By admonition and by periodically checking their activities on social media (and their smartphones), we can stop our youths from backsliding.

Better still, it is best to turn the impact of social media on Nigeria’s youth in the positive direction, in this modern age. This can go far to nip violence, aimlessness and indiscipline amongst Nigeria’s youth in the bud – partly due to social media influence.



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About the author

Omolola Akinyemi

A Computer Science graduate of UNILAG, I hail from Ekiti state of Nigeria. An astute teacher, learner & admin assistant of many years experience. I love technology, innovation, and Nature. A problem solving mentality is important to me. The future is only seconds away, and I believe I can define the future now. You can also.