Nigeria has the largest population in West Africa and, by extension, Africa. It has a population of 200 million people. The seventh most populous country in the world, Nigeria is known for its diverse culture, rich history and oil reserves. The country has about 300 tribes and, according to Ethnologue, at least 500 languages. Just as every other country in the world, Nigeria has its flaws. But according to Ogeah Henrietta Ifechukwume, a student of Delta State University, there is a plague that is fast diminishing the success rate of this country.
She said that it is the rate at which social media has dug deep into the peace of the country, mostly through the youth. This is unsurprising because the youth are the ones who are by default drawn to these apps. The platforms are designed to facilitate communication, collaboration, and information sharing among users. Social media platforms available in Nigeria include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok and Snapchat. Social media has become an integral part of modern life such that even organizations are now buying into the idea.
Quest to become “banger boys and girls” expose youths as gullible.
Ifechukwume opined that Nigerian youths are one of the most gullible people on earth. She said that the evidence lies in the comments and thought processes formed from the desperation to become online figures. These youths do this without having a deeper knowledge of the genuineness of their social media role models. For instance, the Nigerian section of Twitter has users who are known as “banger boys and girls.” They are so called because they always post thoughts and views that attract backlash. When this happens, their tweets are said to have had a bang – analogous to the bang of a bomb or something heavy.
Because of this over-indulgence, there have been diverse effects such as negatively shaping political views and extreme political polarization at the youth level. This is because the rate at which information spreads on the internet can be termed “unrealistic.” It is extremely fast. Unfortunately, the information may be disseminated without being verified and cases like these have led to violence and poor thinking values in the life of Nigerian youth. Youths now look to these apps to decide blindly on where their loyalty lies rather than carefully examining the political state/wellbeing of their country.
Adverse cases as a result of overusing means of socializing.
However, it is also known that the platform in Nigeria has led to cases of addiction, loneliness, depression, active desperation disorders and anxiety. Instead of socializing, younger people prefer to curl in bed scrolling through these social media apps and neglecting other important aspects of their lives. These include schoolwork, physical activity, and face-to-face social interactions. Also, its use can expose young people to cyber bullying, harassment, and other forms of online abuse, which can have serious negative effects on their mental health and well-being.
In addition, these platforms can affect culture negatively. One of such ways is the contribution to the spread of cultural stereotypes and misinformation. These platforms can amplify negative or inaccurate portrayals of certain cultural groups, which can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and reinforce prejudice and discrimination. On Twitter, for example, different tribes in Nigeria have their respective stereotypes, which are largely untrue and without evidence. This is also true of different religions in the country. Essentially, these platforms operate an engagement-over-accuracy policy.
Loss of diversity as cultures become homogeneous.
Finally, social media can contribute to the homogenization of culture. People around the world are exposed to the same cultural products and trends, and this can lead to a loss of diversity in local cultures. The increasing homogenization of cultures on social media is causing a loss of diversity and individuality. Instead of celebrating differences and appreciating other cultures, social media is promoting a monoculture, where everyone is conforming to the same set of norms and values.