Monday, August 24, 2009

75% Nigerians use email – Obijiofor

A Nigerian-born Senior lecturer at the School of Journalism & Communication, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, Dr. Levi Obijiofor, has said that about 75 per cent of Nigerians are mostly interested in utilizing electronic mails (Email) among other Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tools.

He spoke at the 2009 African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) in Accra, which held at the Centre for Africa Wetlands, University of Accra, Legon, on “ Perceptions and use of Internet & e-mail technologies by Nigerian university undergraduate students.”

According to him, this was the outcome of a study he recently conducted at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), stressing the fact that about 75 per cent of Nigerian undergraduates are merely interested in using the internet for electronic mail purposes, it cannot be different from the larger population usage of email in the country.

He told the panel B session on ICT and New Media presided over by Dr. Hopeton Dunn of the University of West Indies, Jamaica, that based on the uses and gratifications theory, which viewed media audiences as active consumers of media contents, who make conscious decisions about what type of media and media content to expose themselves to, the UNILAG students, actually made conscious decisions about aspects of the Internet technology that would satisfy their needs.

Though cautious on the extrapolation of the study, Obijiofor said the students use e-mail to gratify their needs which include the maintenance of regular contact and communication with friends, family, peers, teachers to mention a few.

Obijiofor also said that the Internet has enabled Nigerian students to satisfy needs related to special information, business, entertainment and the desire to keep up with the news.

“E-mail communication was the primary reason why the students used the Internet,” he said, based on the study, noting that reliance on the Internet for e-mail communication also implies on the limited use of the various applications and resources available on the Internet.

“This implied that students’ Internet use is driven by a very limited goal, thus challenging uses and gratifications theory,” he declared and pointed out that a total of 142 students took part in the research.

Although Obijiofor noted that a large number of Nigerian students have Internet access, only a very small number use the Internet more frequently.

As such, in terms of perceptions of the Internet, more than half the students perceived the Internet as the most effective medium of communication, while more than two thirds of the students expressed optimism about the usefulness of the Internet.

However, a majority of the students believed that the Internet would expose young people to morally inappropriate contents, hence, these perceptions suggested that the students recognize the “good” and “bad” aspects of the Internet.

On the adaption by gender and Internet use, he said that more female students than male students use the Internet less frequently per week.

The objectives of research, he outlined to include identification of the primary reasons why university students use Internet and e-mail technologies; understand the needs which the students seek to gratify through the use of the Internet and e-mail; understand the extent of their use of these technologies; how students perceive Internet and e-mail technologies and determine the extent to which gender influences students’ Internet use.

Obijiofor pointed out that out of 142 students who completed and returned the questionnaire, 137, which amounted to 96.5 per cent said they had access to the Internet, while five (5), which is about 3.5 per cent did not answer the question, even as male top the respondents with 77 students, that is about 54.2 per cent, whereas the female scored 65, which is 45.8 per cent.

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