Barriers and Benefits of Social Networking

Introduction

Modernization has made the world to be a global village with ease in interactions among people from different backgrounds. Through various inventions and innovations the world has seen a great shift from print media to electronic media especially in the last decade. The use of electronic media in communication has penetrated all regions of the world within a very short period of time (Kerpen 2011). In addition, these mediums provide quick messaging that has helped develop social websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter among others. This research paper aims at analyzing common barriers and the expected benefits of using social networking at King Saud University.

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Social networking is defined as a forum where people are able to share, post and exchange various views regarding their personalities, events and issues that surround them. It should be noted that social networking is given this definition as it is more of a social event than a designated place where people share information. Social networking sites are regarded as forums due to their ability to change and adopt depending with the needs of their users who determine its content (Scott 2011). Social networking has become a very wide practice all over the world and almost all sectors have embraced their use in the running of their daily activities including many learning institutions.

Problem Statement

Why is the use of social networking sites at King Saud University underutilized despite the presence of internet services and access to them by students?

Research Purpose

The purpose of this research is to identify;

  • Ability of access to internet services
  • How these sites are used
  • Time taken to surf the internet
  • Sites are mostly frequented
  • Relationship between networking and learning
  • Challenges students face while using these sites
  • Importance of these sites to education at King Saud University

Significance of the Study

This research paper will enable students, lecturers and the whole higher learning education system to know how social networking sites are beneficial to the process of learning. In addition, it will help them identify the challenges that limit the successful use of these sites for education purposes. Lastly, the recommendations based on the findings will enable the higher learning community tackle the challenges of using social networking to promote their effective use.

Research Hypothesis

The effective use of social networking sites for learning purposes at king Saud University is hampered by how students perceive and use them. The challenges facing students use are inborn and as a result of their failure to observe simple guidelines on the use of these sites.

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Literature Review

The research relied on the information obtained from the forums obtained from the university website on various issues that includes students’ services, reference books, student assessment, online education, online university, college application, students’ loans, education courses, distance education and continuing education. The information obtained from these sites was analyzed to come up with the findings and conclusions of this research.

Methodology

The purpose of this research is to identify the main challenges and benefits of e-learning, education and social networking at King Saud University. The research is aimed at establishing whether the challenges facing the use of social networking sites at King Saud University are as a result of the students’ inability to observe necessary measures while using the internet for socializing and educational reasons. It is also aimed at establishing whether the ineffective use of social sites at King Saud University is as a result of students’ inclined perceptions regarding the use of these sites.

Population and Sampling

The King Saud University has a total population of about thirty thousand students who pursue different courses at the university. The university has ten major courses with various sub-courses being offered in certificate, diploma, degree, masters and doctorate levels. This research involved 120 participants of whom 50 responded through questionnaires, 20 through oral interviews and observations were done on 50 users on the cyber cafés regarding the benefits and challenges facing social sites in terms of learning, education and socialization. These participants were lecturers and students selected from various colleges of the university.

Instrumentation

The methods used for collecting data for this research were questionnaires, interviews and observations on the use of social networking sites by students. The research questionnaires were filled by the selected sample. They were instructed on the nature of information and their use in order to cooperate and provide reliable data (see attachment). The interview questions asked were similar to those on the questionnaires. Observation on the use of the internet at the university’s cyber café and those located close to the university also offered important data for this research (see attachment).

Procedure and Time Frame

The research was conducted in three weeks from Monday to Friday beginning at eight in the morning to two in the afternoon. The questionnaires were given to the participants on Monday to Friday of the first week. The interviews were conducted at King Saud University on Monday to Friday on the second week of the research and were conducted at the desk located outside the university library and at the university cyber cafes and those located near the university. A desk was located outside the university’s main library where all questionnaires were obtained, filled and handed over. The observations were done on the third week from Monday to Friday at the University’s cyber cafes and those located at the vicinity of the university.

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Analysis, Validity and reliability

The results of the research were analyzed at the close of business everyday to ensure all data collected that day was useful to the research. The participants were persuaded and encouraged to provide reliable information in the interviews and questionnaires. Several samples were taken to ensure there are higher chances of getting the correct information from the participants.

Scope and Limitations

The research faced various limitations where interviews and questionnaires were involved. The second week of the research coincidentally ran with examinations in some departments making students very busy. Therefore they had limited time to be interviewed, left some questionnaire questions unanswered and others refused to participate in the interviews. Most students provided limited information on the questionnaire due to fear of their details being exposed to the public. There were cases where I had to pay for the time students used to surf at the local cyber cafes in order to persuade them to participate in the interviews.

Research Findings

Barriers to Effective Use of Social Networking at King Saud University

The greatest barrier to effective usage of social network sites to students of King Saud University is their inclined perception regarding the roles and usage of these sites. The sites readily available at this university include Facebook and Twitter that majority of the students have created their social accounts in. People have had a notion that these social networking sites are for making friends, finding old ones and sharing information regarding events around people (Handley 2010). The majority of these students are using social network sites for the sole purpose of interacting with their friends and therefore do not find any other use for them apart from this (Halligan 2009). Despite the fact that they can access a lot of information regarding their education like courses offered in their next level of study and the modes of learning for different programs majority of the students normally by pass such important postings as they rush to read postings on their walls and the recent updates (Kelsey 2010)

The perceptions that these sites are meant for making friendship and socializing have influenced their use as important academic tools. These sites have made it very impossible for most teachers and students to be in physical contact with each other learning (Hall 2009). For those programs where students are forced to use these sites to access their academic materials it has become very impossible for them to meet in class the way they used to.

This has eliminated the contact between lecturers and students in the process of It is very important that students get in contact with their teachers to ensure all key areas of their learning are addressed and clarifications made. It should be noted that students have very different abilities of comprehending instructions given to them. While some students have the ability to learn and study the course materials given to them by their instructors others require contact with them and a considerable amount of time to be well informed of their teachers’ expectations.

These social networking sites have made many students at King Saud University to lose the personal touch with their teachers resulting to most of the assignments being rejected due to failure to follow the instructions given (Star 2011). In this case the students will do the assignments according to their own understanding since the instructions given are usually not self explanatory as the teachers would have been. Despite the fact that these sites are visited by millions of people it is very possible for someone to know the person one is communicating with regardless of the distance or profile photographs being used by the individual.

The process of registering an individual in these sites does not have anonymity and anyone is able to view the information of another person without their consent. Once an individual knows the name being used by another it becomes easy for them to access their However, these social network sites do not have adequate security to ensure that not all people are authorized to access a persons’ information (Marshall 2011). The fact that students are sometimes very curious to know the performance and whereabouts of their classmates means that there is limited privacy in these social network sites that expose the information people post on their profiles to the public.

There are many cases where students have ignored their teachers’ instructions knowing very well they are going to get the information in these sites (Weintraub 2011). Students usually take advantage of the fact that they are able to access any information online regardless of how complicated it is. Most university students here prefer having their assignments questions, instructions and results posted on the universities websites as compared to them picking the academic materials from the concerned departments in the university.

The examinations departments and teachers marking assignments and home works have been forced to cancel most of their students’ results due to wide spread irregularities arising from students sharing their answers through these social networking sites (Porterfield 2011). The consequences of all these irregularities brought by the use off social networking sites are usually cancellation of the students’ results and sometimes expulsion from the learning institution.

Some are even forced to retake some units and repeat classes when they are not able to raise the required pass marks. The administration of King Saud University is getting it very hard to award students their correct grades due to the many cases of cheating in examinations.

Students in King Saud University use these social networking sites to interact and share information regarding the activities that go on in the university and its environment. Many of them usually post comments without taking into account the effects it may have on them or other people in the university (Abram 2012). These postings are usually very funny and intended to make all who read them very happy and add other comments and criticism to them.

Most postings are usually intended for fun but they have very bad consequences to the people they ridicule (Collier 2009). Most students post vey funny comments on these social sites after they have had a bad encounter with their teachers or the university’s administration. When this information lands on the knowledge of their teachers and the administration the students are given severe punishments.

On the other hand teachers also use these comments to know the type of students they have and this may influence their recommendations regarding the students (Gunter 2010). These sites are exposed to many risks that need to be evaluated by the university to ensure they support the education systems and programs that the university offers.

In this case there are very many issues that threaten the well being of the education system with regard to examination irregularities and cheating that goes on unnoticed by the institution’s administration. The university is facing a very great challenge in the use of these social network sites by students who engage in sharing information that is meant for assessing their performance like assignments and course works.

These sites do not limit the amount of information being circulated by students and does not even check the type of information being passed on. In cases where the students’ access to internet is restricted or even blocked by the university’s administration the students access them from computers outside the university.

This makes many learning institutions to ensure that social sites are blocked or filtered to ensure all the information being exchanged by students is scrutinized before being posted on them (Kraynak 2010). This violates the right of students’ information to privacy and also hinders the freedom of students to express their views and thoughts on issues that are of importance to them.

Lack of efficient literacy policies on the digital media including the use of these sites and online educational portals at the university subjects these sites to great barriers. Despite the fact that there are lessons offered in the preliminary stages of learning to new students there are no sufficient guidelines offered to ensure all students understand the use of social sites for academic purposes.

The university faces a great crisis with regard to students’ knowledge on the positive use of these social networks that lead many students to believe that they are meant for making friends and connecting with old ones(Treadaway 2009). There are no specified guidelines that explore the scope with which students are taught how to make meaningful use of the internet. The university should ensure that it offers advanced courses on the use of the internet and in particular the use of social network sites with regard to learning (Finney 2009). Without these stringent policies on internet courses many students will be limited to the use of the internet to access their academic results and for social networking at the expense of their time in school.

The university regards all the information accessed by its students with great attention and does not condone any cyber misuse. This has forced them to block some sites that are perceived to be having very damaging information to students through their nature. This has been made possible by the use of regional broadband consortia that enable the administration to monitor and evaluate the contents that students access from the internet. All these procedures are carried out through filtering the essential materials that help students in learning and block the students’ access to other non academic sites.

This process of blocking and filtering non academic contents in the university’s cyber limits the ability of students to explore the social sites to their full potential (Salpeter 2011). Whenever these cites threaten the smooth running of the learning programs of students the university threatens to block them and this becomes a major blow to the efficiency of these social sites.

Many people pose as students of this university to cone others money or request financial help through the use of accounts made to look similar to those of students from this university. There are predatory behaviors in the internet that have exposed many children to strangers with bad motives. This has made many students to fear using these sites due to this behavior that threatens most of the female students. This becomes very limited and unpopular as most students take precautionary actions while surfing and they do so when it is absolutely necessary. This becomes a very big barrier to the effective use of social networking sites by students from this university.

Cyber crimes have also been noted to increase in the recent past and this makes students here to fear exchanging their personal information over the internet (Deckers 2011). These crimes originate from within the university and outside it making students prone to risks associated with social networks. It has been noted world over that some people are hijacking information being send on social networking sites and use them to hack email accounts of unsuspecting people. Regardless of the many security procedures adopted to try and keep students’ accounts protected, criminals find their way and access their accounts and the effects left are usually devastating (Kaputa 2010). The problem of accounts being hacked by cyber criminals deters many students from using the internet as a resourceful tool for their assignments and research works.

The information that people post on these social sites can not be controlled once they have been accessed by other people. Students usually post some derogatory comments and remarks regarding their teachers in these sites (Arruda 2007). Some of this information is modified further and others downloaded and reproduced in other versions like print or video clips and circulated among the students. Once such information is exposed and the public gets access to it there is no way these information can be retrieved from these social sites.

This University faces problems in the use of these sites by majority of its students at the expense of learning as these social networking sites are meant for establishment of new relationships and catching up with the current events; it is very addictive and many students find it very hard to balance between learning and interacting with their friends (Rath 2007). Many students here waste their free time visiting these sites to interact with their friends and share their stories. They do this at the expense of their study time that should be used to make revisions on the work done by teachers in the past lessons (Breitbarth 2011). Some students have become lazy and added too much weight due to the fact that they do not leave their computers and any free time is used to surf with little breaks to eat or drink.

Cultural backgrounds have been a great barrier to the effective use of social network sites in the King Saud University. In this case the students find it very difficult to adapt to the use of electronic machines to make friends and interact with their teachers on matters related to education.

Teachers have viewed the use of the internet as a threat to quality education due to their ability to expose essential information to the public (Schatter 2009). On the other hand some teachers are slow adaptors and they take too long before they accept their introduction in their teaching programs. Some teachers are too preservative and want to maintain their traditional chalk and board teaching and would never wish to change this with any other form of teaching.

In addition, many students in this university have strict religious beliefs and most of them assert the use of the internet for socializing as prostitution regardless of the contents of information being shared. They do not believe in the fact that one can make friends over the internet and not to mention exchanging their personal information.

The differences in cultural backgrounds have made many students and teachers to view the use of these social networking sites as a waste of time since nothing important is available in them (Schepp 2009). This makes them think of these sites as ineffective in aiding teachers and students in the process of learning.

Benefits of Social Networking

The purpose for which these sites were established was to ensure that people make friends regardless of the distance between them and the many differences in terms of age and culture (Oliver 2005). These social sites have made many strangers to communicate over the internet and eventually some of them have become very good friends.

In the King Saud University many students have established friendships with others within the university and around the world. This has been made possible through the provisions in these sites that allow people to send messages to strangers and request them to be their friends (Miller 2010). Once the person looks at the profiles posted by other people and feel that they have similarities then they are able to bond easily and become great friends in future.

Students have established friendships with fellow students in the university who would otherwise never have the opportunity to know each other. This is due to the differences arising as a result of variations in their class timetables or that there are many students and the possibility of meeting and making friendship with all of them is limited by their time in school.

However, these social networking sites give students room to read and analyze the profiles of other people they intend to be friends with and choose those who seem to have similarities in terms of likes and dislikes and ignore those with different interests.

Many people have had a number of friends that have travelled to various destinations in the world due to the nature of their work, marriage or personal preferences (Mansfield 2011). This has made many friends to lose contact with each or once one forgets the residential addresses or the phone numbers of their friends. However, with the establishments of these social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter they are able to keep in touch with their friends regardless of where they are. Students at King Saud University have used these sites to ensure they keep in touch with each other and the university’s alumnus and this has ensured that all current and former King Saud University students are brought together as one family.

There is no need for the former students to travel to the university to know what is going on but instead they use these social sites to be informed of all that is taking place or is expected to take place in the coming days. Students have also been connected with their teachers through these sights and are therefore able to communicate with them with regard to assignments given to them from the comfort of their homes without having to travel to the school and book appointments with their teachers (Aaker 2010). They are able to seek extension of time on their assignments, inquire on the expectations of instructions and seek directions on how to do their assignments.

Many students have saved considerable amount of money while using these social network sites compared to when they use mobile phones, fax machines or other communication tools (Browning 2010). The use of social networking sites is enabled once an individual has a computer that is connected to the internet or an internet enabled mobile phone.

Once this are installed the students are able to share information with millions of people without worrying how much they will pay. When compared to the use of mobile phones where a person is able to share information with others on the basis of how much money they have in their accounts the use of the social networking sites is still cheaper and affordable. If students are not able to raise funds to buy a computer, laptop or internet enabled phones they can consolidate their money and buy one computer which will be shared among them in equal proportions of time.

They may decide to visit cyber cafes and surf the internet for as long as they wish depending on the amount of money they have (Magid 2006). Students are able to save considerable amount of money that they may use to buy books, school bags or their personal items. The students at the King Saud University have used social networks to make various surveys regarding different activities that take place within and outside the university.

Many researches have been successfully carried out through these social sites and the response has always turned out to be very outstanding compared to physical interviews. Majority of the surveys that have been conducted in the university have been carried out through the social sites like Facebook and Twitter that have immense human traffic visiting them regularly (Chappell 2009). These surveys have been successful due to the fact that most students are registered on these sites and visit them very often and therefore the possibility of getting their attention to participate in these surveys is very high.

Other organizations and the government included have used these sites to get feedback as far as academic and issues that affect the youths are concerned. Students have used these sites to make comparisons with other universities as they analyze which university has many students posting quality comments, topics or answers to various questions (Smith 2008). Therefore these social networking sites become very beneficial tools of carrying out simple surveys in issues that affect students.

They are also used to spy on other universities and see the key issues they discuss that may be beneficial to them. Due to the high enrolment rate at the King Saud University it is very difficult for a notice board advertisement to get the attention of all students. In addition, these students come from various parts of the country and are not all of them are confined to one location at the same time.

With the use of these sites they are able to get the advertisements that the administration intends to pass to them (Conrad 2011). These social sites have enabled students to access the university’s notice board without having to spend money and time travelling to the university and getting the information from the concerned departments.

It becomes very necessary for the administrators at King Saud University to corporate the use of these social networking sites to ensure that all audience get these advertisements in good time. This is made possible by the fact that most students have active accounts with most of these social sites and therefore the possibility of the advertisements to reach them is very high.

Apart from the advertisements that originate from the university there are other companies that deal with academic materials that university students require. Therefore, they find these sites very useful as far as marketing their products and services are concerned.

Some companies advertise vacant positions or internship programs available for students to fill either immediately or in the near future (Boettcher 2010). Students at King Saud University have found social networking sites very useful in terms of getting essential educational materials and internship placements. In addition, the students are able to make comparisons in terms of the prices and qualities of goods and services offered and choose the one they can afford.

Students have found these social sites very useful in terms of shaping their personalities and getting people understand them well. These sites offer provisions for people to write and edit their profiles and describe themselves (Vai 2011). This motivates them to post very good comments regarding their personality and in the process try to be like what their profiles describe. Without knowing they soon find themselves changing their behavior and take to what their minds tell them they are supposed to be.

Whenever other people read these postings that describe these individuals they develop a certain perception of what they think the person is. In most cases people usually describe their positive aspects and try to highlight their uniqueness that make them look special than others (Lehman 2010). However, when a person has described himself in a manner that does not reflect their personality in actual sense the person will be subjecting himself to criticism and ridicule from friends.

These ridicules serve a very important role in ensuring that the individuals either change the descriptions in their profiles or change their behavior to match what they described themselves to be. In the process the individual is forced to be what he described himself to be as this is usually his real perception of how is supposed to be. Therefore the use of these social sites usually y help students develop positive behavior through avoiding posting comments that makes other students perceive them as deviant.

Students here have had opportunities to get updates of events through the social media. The social media is a hub of all information ranging from politics, entertainment, nature and family issues. The postings usually range from events that take place at the university to issues from remote villages in various corners of the world.

This means that these sites collect all information from all regions of the world due to the fact that individuals who participate in them are from various regions of the world. Students are able to get the updates on various issues with a click of a mouse and get to know the recent happenings in the world of politics, science, religion and social lives (Marcus 2011). This enables them to stay up to date with the happenings around them that are usually very important in their education programs since some lecturers may choose to ask students questions regarding any recent developments in an issue.

Credibility on the students’ ability to persuade and make crowds follow them is demonstrated by the number of feedbacks an individual’s comment receives from other social network site users. The ability of a person to provide very useful advice and directions to issues being discussed is also viewed as one way through which a person is able to gain credibility from others with regard to the person’s abilities.

In the King Saud University there are many forums where students wishing to contest various leadership positions in the university are given the opportunity to express their views and let other students asses them on their ability to lead them properly (Ko 2010). Those students who post constructive comments on their profiles attract very large crowds that eventually turn out to be their supporters when election time comes.

The use of filters and blockers in these social networking sites has made it very possible for users to select the people they want to communicate with and establish friendships with. Unlike face to face interactions where it is very difficult to sometimes refuse to go out with a stranger in these social network sites the person has sufficient time to decide whether to accept the advances from other people. It should be noted that in the King Saud University not all students are comfortable with everybody being their friends.

The use of these filters and blockers ensures that a student is able to choose an individual he thinks they share very many aspects of life with. In addition, a student is able to choose to participate in which discussion depending on his or her tastes, likes and dislikes (Svinicki 2011). This gives them room to select the discussion topics from a variety of topics that are usually circulating in the social sites.

These social networking sites have helped many students to develop their interpersonal communication skills. Through the posting of their profiles in these sites they are able to portray themselves as the best individuals with the desired qualities that others should emulate (Cadenhead 2002). In this context the students of King Saud University develop their communication skills through constant interactions with other users.

With time they learn to use these communication skills while answering the questions assigned to them by their teachers. In addition, they develop their discussions and are able to argue their side of the story until they get their opinions and suggestions taken by the rest of the group. The fact that a person is able to put forward an argument and defend it until it becomes accepted means that the individual has a great ability to influence others.

When this is applied to academics it means that the person is able to defend his or her answers and when faced with questions from a job interview panel it becomes easy to convince them that the candidate is qualified for the job being offered. This means that interactions in these social networking sites helps students develop good communication skills and are able to present themselves in the right picture.

The use of these sites by students helps them have a global view of issues that are relevant in their educational and personal development (Clancy 2002). Each day the world experiences various challenges that evoke various debates and through the use of these sites the students are able to know the direction in which these discussions are taking.

Whenever events in the world change their directions it is important that people know so that they can plan and know what their future will be. In this case the students of King Saud University usually benefit from the immense flow of information that originates from these social networking sites regardless of whether the information is true or not.

It is difficult for an individual to collect information regarding the happenings in various regions of the world within a short time (Bucy 2003). However, with the correct use of social sites like Facebook and Twitter a person is able to gather useful information from them. It should be noted that most of the issues being studied in learning institutions are usually matters that relate to the affairs of human life. Students and teachers have found these social sites very important tools in expanding their scope of reading and teaching materials respectively.

Therefore, all these sites offer great information that students and teachers use to develop their education and learning programs. It is very evident that most bright students in King Saud University do not use the academic materials given in class as the sole source of their study materials but also use the information from social websites to develop on what they already learnt in class.

The most important benefit that students all over the world including those from King Saud University have gained by their participation in social networking sites is the ability to enhance communication among them and with other students. Through the use of these sites they are able to pass information to their friends, families and strangers.

These social networking sites have been proved to be the most influential tools for communication especially among the youths (Olifer 2006). The type of information passed in these sites ranges from greetings, appointments, news headlines and gossip on unconfirmed stories. The fact that there is no strict law as to what should be posted on these sites has made it very possible for people to find them suitable sites for making all kinds of plans whether official or non official.

The students at King Saud University are able to share information on sports, politics, education and various events that take place at the institution. This enables them to have knowledge regarding various issues that affect their lives directly or indirectly (Donahue 2011). The ability of these sites to contain discussions on various topics and links to major world affairs makes them more attractive to many students compared to newspapers, televisions and other tools of mass media.

These sites are very popular due to the fact that they are accessed from any part of the world without any restrictions. In addition, there are no limitations as to the ages of those legible to use them. In most cases there are very many policies that regulate the age of the users but this is usually theoretical as there is no definite criterion used to check the age of the participant.

Another important factor that outlines the students’ benefits with regard to the use of social networking sites is the possibility of exchanging unlimited amount of information through them (Engebretson 2011). This is a very important factor considering the fact that most students usually have a lot of information to pass to their friends.

In most cases students have exchanged almost all they had to and exhausted their discussions on various topics through these sites. When compared to other means of communication like telephones, fax machines, emails and letters that have limited space for information to be passed the use of social sites is unlimited (Bambina 2007). There is total freedom regarding the volume of information that passes through various accounts of students and their friends.

In the King Saud University students have exchanged volumes of information ranging from simple greetings to class notes and discussions on the past and future events through these social network sites. The students have benefited due to the fact that they are able to share information without fear of being disconnected from communicating with their friends.

In addition, the students do not have restrictions on what time they are supposed to browse their favorite social sites. Students are able to access these sites any time of the day or night and the number of hours dedicated to them is subject to the user’s ability to endure transfixed positions on their computers or their internet enabled phones. This is a very important factor offered by these social networking sites as they enable students get in touch with their friends, teachers and parents despite the tight academic schedule at the university and in their homes.

In many cases people usually have various grievances but do not know the best way to express them. In most case the fear of victimization by the higher authorities usually threaten many people from expressing their views to the administration (Walker 2011). However, with the coming of social networking sites people have had many chances and ways through which they are able to express their dissenting views regarding their leaders.

In the case of King Saud University the administration is able to know what their students demand as far as learning is concerned. The students are able to express their views regarding how their teachers are offering their services and this becomes very important in monitoring the teachers’ performance. This will ensure that all teachers become committed to teaching and ensuring that they offer quality education to students.

In addition, it becomes very easy for students to present their preferences as far as their affairs in the university are concerned (Allee 2002). This is an important means through which most institutions are able to know what their students prefer and asses whether it is a worthy cause or a mere search for attention. They are able to avoid conflicts usually present in most learning institutions as students accuse the administration on negligence and abuse of students’ rights while the administration accuses the students of failing to follow the proper channels while addressing their grievances.

The possibility of avoiding an imminent disaster from riots caused by students is easily identified through monitoring the type of information that students exchange in these social sites. The administration is put in a better position to avoid any situation that may threaten security issues and disrupt learning programs.

There are various ways though which most students at King Saud University have demonstrated their unity through the information shared in these social network sites they are familiar with (Alamin 2012). In this case the use of these sites become a very important tool of ensuring that the whole fraternity of King Saud University remains intact through their identity in these social sites as being students or alumni’s of the university.

This becomes a very important tool as far as identity and personal pride is concerned. All students who use Facebook or twitter will feel much more comfortable in the company of other users who are the person’s classmates (Brantford 2011). Personal security is achieved through the use of these sites as students discover that having many friends in these sites who are school mates plays a very important role in ensuring they are in the comfort of their school mates.

Conclusions

The barriers that students face while using these social networking sites are as a result of their negligence to observe simple regulations that control the use of these sites. However, King Saud University should develop the basic computer courses offered as supplementary units in all students pursuing various programs.

In addition, students have failed to use these social network sites for meaningful purposes due to their inclined perception that these sites are meant for making friends and not gaining useful academic information. These sites can develop academic and social knowledge of users if they are properly used and referred to by students and their lecturers.

Recommendations

The following are recommendations are drawn from the findings of this research and if used well will play a major role of ensuring these sites are effectively used to enhance social networking and learning at King Saud University;

  • Students should manage their time well when using these sites and avoid spending study times to surf the internet.
  • Teachers should advise students on the importance of spending time wisely on the internet.
  • Students should visit sites and discussions that are beneficial t them.
  • The university should broaden the scope of study of computer courses as introductory courses by all students.
  • Individuals should develop self discipline regarding the information they share on these sites with friends and strangers.
  • Students should have adequate security measures in place while using social sites like using coded passwords and avoid opening up to strangers.

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Questionnaire

Name……………………………………………………………………………….

Age…………………………………………………………………………………

Sex…………………………………………………………………………………

Year of study…………………………………………………………………………………

Course………………………………………………………………………………….

What is your understanding of social networking?…………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………………………………………………………………………….

How many networking sites do you know? Name them.…………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………………………….……………………

Do you have an account with any social networking site?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

How many sites have you subscribed to?……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Which is your favorite site?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Give reasons for your choice above………………………………………….……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………………………………………………………………………..……..

How often do you use this site (s)?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

How many friends do you have on each site?……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

What kind of information do you get from these sites?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………….

What kind of information do you offer on these sites?……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………………………………….

What academic content do you get from these sites?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Do your department and university in general support the use of these sites?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

How long do you take when surfing these sites in day?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

What are the dangers associated with social networking?…………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………………………………….……

How do you solve these problems?……………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

How do you use these social sites for academic purposes?…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Compared to research done from other sources like the university library and the internet library how do you rate academic research using social networking sites?………………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………………………………………………………………

What are the major issues that hinder the use of these sites for academic reasons?……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

What do you measures do you think users of these sites can adopt to ensure effective use of these sites?…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………………………………………….……………

After completing your university course will you continue using these sites?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Give your reasons for the answer above………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

What will you advise a friend who wishes to subscribe to these sites?……………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………………………………………………………………………..…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

How do you value the information you get from these sites?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

What do you think is the future of these sites?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Thank you for your time and opinions.

Note: the information you offer here will be used for the purpose of analyzing the significance of social networking in education and is not intended for publication. Therefore, all personal information submitted in this questionnaire will be treated with privacy and respect.

Barriers and Benefits of Social Networking
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