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Opinions of Thursday, 5 April 2018

Columnist: Musah Abdul Razak Churchill

How social media has undermined Ghana's uniqueness

In this 21st century, connecting with families and friends globally has become the integral part of life by just a click away. Thumps up for social media making the young and the aged lively in the global village.

One can count out of millions functions and importance that these platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, snap chat, whatsapp just to mention few have brought to existence.

If not anything much, It helps people make new friends every now and then. As global platform, trending on the internet it's a place where majority of youth these days get new vacancies or online jobs.

For its wider spectrum reaching people all round, It is also a place to advertise products. It would be recalled how Jack Ma, the director of Alibaba. Com placed all small businesses in China on the internet thereby making goods and services readily available for all across globe.

One cannot neglect its sigh of relief that many get from the social media as It has become a place of entertainment to many. In acquisition of first hand information, knowledge among others, the social media's role is pivotal.

It is however easy to vow that the future is exciting because it requires no or minimal skills for it's manipulation. All you need is a smartphone and data.

Notwithstanding it's numerous advantages, social media is doing more harm than good to the Ghanaian society.

Interestingly,it has become the first and last thing that people do after they woke up or before they sleep. A Ghanaian will wake up from bed and the first thing that will come to mind is to pick up his or her phone, check out the number of messages, likes and comments they have on their social media platforms.

One would downplay how the above action is inimical to the Ghanaian uniqueness. To justify it further, its time consuming factors and other related issues are on the rise as discussed below.

To begin with, social media as all have embraced is a contributing factor for the poor performance of most students in the country.

Despite its role as a platform of acquiring more knowledge, it can be tugged for the poor performance of students as many spend their time on social media more than on their books.

Majority also use their phones throughout the day without leaving it an inch to rest.

Although pupils especially from the junior high to senior high across the country are not permitted to send phones to school per regulations, some disregard these rules and sneak their phones to school where they spend much time on it watching movies, playing games and sharing photos rather than concentrating on their books which adversely affect their performance academically.

For the recent increase malpractice among West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) candidates, Social media's role can be attributed for the rampant Act.

One can boldly say without a shadow of doubt that several WASSCE candidates are always in possession of phones .You may ask Why? But this is simple, with the hope that someone will feed them with questions prior to exams or during exams period.

Although the examination body - WAEC and Ghana education service (GES) pledged to block these loopholes for exams malpractice, the act continues and is on the rise. A lot of people however argued that some officials of WAEC and GES are to be blamed for the Act.

In addition to the above, Before the revolution of the new media, letter writing with good English and nice grammars were appreciated by all. sometimes it gets fascinated seeing a well written letter with good grammar. But that was then, now Social media's influence on the writing and speaking of good English by the Ghanaian youth is gradually galloping.

Today in Ghana, you will hardly see most of the youth speaking correct English or writing impeccably. This is because majority are now addicted to social media language known as shortcuts or shorthand. Some would like to use 'é' instead of the, 'b/n' instead of between, 'r/p' instead of relationship, 'cos' instead of because, 'dey' instead of they and many others.

What of terminologies and jargons? Some would also result to the use of jargons and pidgins when chatting. This at the end, has become the usual act which either formally or not is used in both their conversations and write ups.

It would be advisable to write formally even when chatting with peers but one would say it is not convenience, fast and speed however, while we consider speed let us not downgrade its repercussion.

Furthermore, decline in productivity at the both public and the private sector can be said, is as a result of social media. Responding to messages, checking of likes and posting of more content online is time consuming and it takes work time from individuals who are expected to perform a specific task.

Sometimes others work haphazardly in a hurry manner just to get back online or just to be free for snap chatting.

It has now gotten to a time where nurses at the various hospitals across board engage in whatsapping, face booking, tweeting,snap chatting etc as patients wait for them in pain.

For nudity and pornographic images, both the young and the old have found it interesting sharing such images across. One can narrate how an alleged ''kitchen stool'' sex video gone viral, what about Rashida Black beauty's sex video?

For heinous crime like the murder of the late Major captain Maxwell Mahama, for accident like the late songstress Ebony reigns among others were seen viral on the social media projecting the country to the out world as not safe.

The social media further exposes the Ghanaian youth to certain bad practices such as making new love and breaking up of marriages online. For the recent change in dressing among the youth, it's disgusting. Due to it's free operation without restrictions, one would choose to wear or put on whatever clothes they find convenient online or to get posted online for more likes and comments.

The intention of invention of Social media is mainly to help bring people globally under one umbrella. It would therefore be recommended if Ghanaians can use the social media in a beneficial way.