Statistics tell the same story. Social media has technically become an important aspect of life for all age groups. However, it’s most especially the young people today who engage in it without stopping to think of the effects, be it positive or negative that it holds. The mode of communication is swiftly changing from a face to face communication channel to a society that talks through Facebook postings or even WhatsApp groups. In the long-run, certain effects are credited to the use of social media. Many positive aspects have been associated with the use, however, in equal measures, many potential dangers also tag along with the usage of sites such as gaming sites, blogs, Tumblr, Google plus and so on. The past has technically witnessed a growing interest among various stakeholders in exploring the connection between media usage and the attitudes of youth in the country. Subsequently, this research, in particular, will take the direction of exploring media use patterns among the youth and their active leisure participation since few researchers have analyzed this relationship. Recent reviews on the same point out that the use of social media amongst the youth is directly related to how the very same youths allocate time to active leisure. In relation, this research will in an in-depth analysis examine the influence of social media on the youth leisure in California State University, Bakersfield.
Is the term “a global village,” thought provocative? Well, it should be because today’s generation of youths technically lives in it. Subsequently, this is because all over the world, it is close to impossible to find a youth who does not spend his or her leisure time in front of a computer screen, a mobile or television. As this trend increases, it causes a wide scale realignment of what is considered their leisure behavior. Also, particular attention has been directed towards how the youths use the social media sites because they are considered as the digital generation at the upper hand regarding new skills and technology. On the other hand, despite this position, they are also considered the clique that is most venerable to at the risk of the negative influences of social media. Positive attributes credited to the use of social media have been found to include: entertainment purposes, informing, persuading among others (Velasquez & LaRose, 2015). However, this leaves out negative aspects such as cyberbullying and denying themselves the set-aside time for active leisure (Valenzuela, Arriagada & Scherman, 2012). Take for example basketball pitches, like nowadays, most youths prefer to lock themselves in a room to play a video game or similar activities rather than engaging in an active match competition (Valenzuela, 2014). Consequently, the basketball pitches that used to be on church grounds and random places in the estates are technically going extinct. Simply put, social media is a term used to refer to a group of internet based applications that builds on scientific foundations used in the course of transforming communication into a more effective and interactive activity even between diverse societies and individuals (Hasinoff, 2013). In relation, the internet has proved to be an innovative force that has a profound effect on the youth. To understand its place in the lives of the youths, there is the need to have an in-depth understanding of its influences and avoid a purely deterministic attitude. With the advanced stage of social media use in the United States, the usage directly impacts how young people allocate time to various media sites and how it is used to fulfill their leisure time (Patton et al., 2014).
Statement of the problem
Social media in itself has tagged a wide range of opportunities for the youth. These opportunities are filled with both positive as well as negative influences with wide ramification for the time that they set aside for active leisure (Boulianne, 2015). The research will therefore actively investigate the role social media plays on the youth leisure time with a specific view of examining how the mass media mediates or conveys messages among the youth in the light of changing communication patterns.
v Which social media sites are more popular amongst the youth at California State University, Bakersfield?
v How do the youth at the campus use social media to influence their leisure activities?
Objectives of the research
The research will be guided by two comprehensive objectives:
Ø To investigate which social media sites are accessed by the youths at the campus
Ø To examine how the youths at the campus use social media platforms to influence their leisure activities.
The study adopted the descriptive research design. In relation, a descriptive research design entails a self-reporting study that brings out quantifiable information form a selected sample. The research design was favorable in this case because it allowed for the use of extensive data collection on a large population. Also, the design effectively allowed for the researcher to use the independent and dependent variable technique to determine the extent to which the youths are influenced by social media at California State University, Bakersfield. The study used a total of 200 youths at the university, and this population constituted of youths between 18-35 years. Out of the 200 youths, 100 were females leaving out the 100 who were males. The sample youths were randomly selected and hence came from different departments. They were also engaged in active sporting like basketball, hockey, handball, and football. Regarding instruments for data collection, the study adopted questionnaires as well as interviews.
The interviews were semi-structured and were conducted to validate the information obtained from the questionnaires. Consequently, the questionnaires had two parts: part one exclusively focused on the media platforms accessed by the youths at the campus and the second section examined the contexts of the social media usage (Grace et al., 2014). The research employed both the primary and secondary data. The questionnaires and interviews were considered the primary data while the secondary data comprised of the library resources such as books, journals, etc. that were relevant to the study. The study gave the impression that almost all respondents agreed that social media has a profound effect on their perspective towards leisure activities. Simply put, the finding, in this case, backed up the thesis statement that indeed, social media influence the trend of leisure activities among the youth.
The media platforms accessed by the youths at California State University, Bakersfield.
According to the research findings, 100% of the respondents agreed to accessing platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Skype among other social media sites. They also agreed to frequently use these sites as compared to doing any other leisure activity. The findings were credited to the fact that the youth feel more comfortable accessing these site without any supervision. The rate at which technology has virally spread makes it easier for anyone to access it.
The results in this section point out that the youths used more of Facebook and Twitter to kill boredom and satisfy their leisure activities. Almost all the respondents agreed to rarely engage in activities such as hiking, swimming, and other physical activities. This fact is credited to the fact that most of the youths today give more audience to social media niches as compared to the audience they give to active leisure (Boyd, 2014). Stimulation theory can be used to back up the claim that the youths who gave more time to social media platforms, in turn, gave less time to active leisure. Stimulation theory accepts that people have the constant need for mental or physical activities aroused.
In conclusion, the data gathered from the sample respondents reveal that the youth accessed several platforms that exposed them to social media (Loader, Vromen & Xenos, 2014). The research also pointed out that social media had a great influence on the leisure time of the youths since most of them prefer to use it as an entertainment platform (Seargeant & Tagg, 2014). In the light of the research findings and conclusions, some of the recommendations that can effectively work to help youths to engage in both passive and active leisure include: youths should look for legislations with the primary aim of governing the use of social media so as to protect themselves from unsafe content. It is also important to allocate time for both active and passive leisure activities (O’Keeffe & Clarke-Pearson, 2011). Lastly, it is important to filter social media applications so as to retain the most relevant applications. In summary, the paper provides a competent impetus for future studies to be conducted on the same filed.