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International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences, 3(1) January 2014, Pages: 11-17

TI Journals

International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences



Adolescence, Young Adulthood and Internet Use in Nigeria:

a Review of What is Known and Unknown
Michael O. N. Kunnuji *
Department of Sociology, University of Lagos, Nigeria.



The aim of this article is to show the state of knowledge on the use of the internet among
adolescents and young adults in Nigeria. The article begins with a brief review of the origin and
nature of the internet and its centrality to human interactions today. It also addresses the challenges
of adopting the universal definition of adolescence. The paper draws from research findings from
across the globe and data from a survey of 1120 adolescents and young adults in Lagos metropolis
in providing answers to the questions on the prevalence of internet use across developmental stages
in adolescence and young adulthood. It also provides answers to the question on what adolescents
do on the internet, the relationship between online and offline activities as well as the implications
of the use of the internet by adolescents and young adults. The paper concludes by bringing to the
fore, the gaps in knowledge in this area of study.

defining adolescence,
online-offline activity cyclone,
young adult,
Nigerian youths,
internet use

2014 Int. j. econ. manag. soc. sci. All rights reserved for TI Journals.

The internet is a by-product of the cold war. The technology evolved from research efforts of the Advanced Research Projects Agency
(ARPA) of the US Department of Defense in January 1983. Its precursor the ARPANET named after the agency, was created in 1969
primarily for the military reason of making impossible the destruction of data considered to be of great importance to the military and the
nation at large. After the invention of ARPANET, several other computer networks were invented but there was the difficulty of functional
compatibility. Between 1973 and 1983, ARPANET faced and overcame this challenge of functional compatibility and the different
networks could be connected or networked. Researchers such as Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn were instrumental to the solution. Sometime
in 1989-90, Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web [1], taking a major step in making the internet, which had earlier been limited in use to
university researchers, usable by lay users. Further developments led to the evolution of a graphical browser and in 1993, the Web took off
and became a mass medium [1]. This brought millions of new users to the internet.
Today, there has emerged a two-tier system in which a minority of privileged machines (servers) provide internet services through a
countless quantum of low status personal computers (PCs) and dispense internet services to hundreds of millions of users globally.
Although each PC connected to the net has an Internet Protocol (IP) address, the individuals using the PCs remain anonymous [1]. The
internet has become a unique mass medium with the ability to give members of society access to published data/information. It also lowers
barriers to publication, increases access to what in the past would have remained secrets and makes communication more rapid and farther
reaching than any other medium had done before its invention [1]. Another major issue often raised in discourses relating to the internet is
that of control and the absence of gate-keeping the monitoring of disseminated information.
In an atmosphere where information made available to the public are not censored, it may be argued that room may be created for some
sort of state of anarchy in which the established ways of doing things are challenged and human behaviours begin to go beyond the reach of
conventional control structures [1]. Apart from the need for control and possibility of abuse of such controls and their use for oppressive
aims, several other issues such as the protection of intellectual property rights, the prospects and implications of e-commerce and the issues
of security and vulnerability are noteworthy. Since the internet is open to uses other than those intended by the inventors and uses that may
be dysfunctional, the implications these issues have for society are grave. But, we are quickly reminded that If we accept the good
products of technology, we must realise that we cannot run away from certain other vices which accompany technology [2].
The internet facilitates the reorganization of social relations and is therefore involved in cultural transmission [3]. It is also giving rise to
new forms of human association and increasing the mediazation of culture. It is against this background that it becomes expedient to treat
the internet as a modality of cultural transmission. Treating the internet as a means of cultural transmission draws attention not only to the
goings on on the internet, but also to the socially structured contexts and processes of production, transmission and reception of information
and symbolic content as well as the information and symbolic contents themselves.
The internet has a number of attributes that combine to place it in a class of its own as a means of communication between two, from one to
many or from many to many. Cooper [4] identified three of such attributes Accessibility, Affordability and Anonymity (the Tripple As).
Of particular interest here is the attribute of anonymity which means that the producer of symbolic contents and/or the one who transmits
the content may have an identity that is unknown to the people receiving the symbolic contents. Another attribute of this means of cultural
* Corresponding author.
Email address: michaelkunnuji@gmail.com

Michael O. N. Kunnuji


Int ernational Journal of Economy, Mana ge ment and Soci al Sci ences , 3(1) January 2014

transmission is fixation. Its capacity to store information makes it a power container or generator of power. Unlike other electronic media,
symbolic contents on the internet can be stored in a manner that makes it available for a longer period of time. The extension of availability
of symbolic contents is not limited to time. It also has a space dimension which makes it information on the internet accessible globally.
It is also important to note with Slevin [3] that the degree of reproduction is almost limitless on the internet. This makes it possible for
stored information to be disseminated at no extra cost. Another important attribute of this technical medium of transmission is the degree of
participation it allows and requires from those who use it. While the mass media give very little capacity to users to be heard, the internet
allows a relatively high degree of participation, the only major limitations being access, computeracy and additional skills of internet use.
The internet also has the attribute of portability and very small devices can be used to gain access. While other media give room for
parental guidance, this may not be achievable with the internet. It is also possible that when people receive information through the
television or radio, the contents are discussed and the final messages absorbed by some may be influenced by the comments and
interpretations given by others present. With the attribute of portability, such comments and interpretations may not be available except
when they are asked for.
With the internet there is another attribute multitasking. This means of cultural transmission makes it possible for users to do several
things online at the same time. While an individual cannot watch or be tuned to two TV channels or radio stations at the same time, an
internet user can chat with two or more people and download a music or text file simultaneously. The internet also incorporates all the
media and means of communication. It blurs the lines of differentiation between the different means of communication such as the
telephone and mails. It also integrates the print media and electronic media. Newspapers, magazines, books, television stations, radio
stations, are all available on the internet.
A global culture is emerging. This aspect of globalization involves the way in which we produce, store and circulate information and
symbolic materials. Slevin [3] argues that the internet offers individuals many new ways of re-imposing new forms of control that are
more appropriate to our global age. In other words, the internet occupies a central position in transforming complex relationships between
local activities and interaction across distance. The result is that nothing is distant in the real sense as distant actions have local impact and
vice versa. The consumption of cultural goods from the West through the internet implies that the shaping of values in this part of the world
is influenced largely by the nature of information to which users have access in this part of the world. In this paper, conceptual issues in
adolescent internet studies shall be interrogated. In addition, the paper looks at internet use and the relationship between online and offline
activities among adolescents in general and Nigerian adolescents in particular.

Primarily, the study is a review of studies conducted on the subject matter of interest. It uses secondary data in the form of research findings
and documentations of events through the media. It draws largely from relevant survey findings on internet use in general, and internet use
among young people in Nigeria in particular. Reports of activities in newspapers were also subjected to content analysis.

Conceptual issues in adolescent internet studies

The definition of adolescents as persons within the age bracket of 10 and 19 years [5] is widespread. However, the adoption of this
definition often obliterates other dimensions to the concept. It is essentially a period of development between childhood and adulthood. The
development experienced during adolescence takes different dimensions. During the period children undergo physical, psychological and
social maturity during and at the end of the period, they manifest adult features. Typically the period between the age of 10 and 19 years
coincides with physical, psychological and social development that confers the status of adulthood on people in the West. The first exercise
embarked upon in this essay is to examine the universal applicability of the popular definition of adolescence. The common challenges of
adolescence substance abuse, risky sexual behaviour, antisocial behaviours often come with dire implications which attract the interest of
researchers. Yet, many young adults are faced with similar challenges in this part of the world. The concept of adolescence shall be
explored briefly in order to bring to the fore the need for a multi-dimensional approach in its conceptualization.
Entry into puberty marks the onset of adolescence. Growth spurts are noticed and the sexual reproductive organs develop. The timing of
these changes vary due to genetic/biological influences, socio-economic status, nutrition, and health [6]. The period of adolescence is a
period of development cognitive, physical, social and emotional development [6]. The word adolescent derives from the Latin verb
adolescere which means to grow up or develop. It is a period during which children develop into adulthood [7]. During this period, they are
neither children nor adults. They are in a transitional phase. The chronological definition of adolescence is restricted to age. Adults are fully
grown persons who are legally responsible for their actions. By implication, adults are independent members of society and their
independence manifest in a number of ways such as voting rights, economic independence, right to consent et cetera. It is common
knowledge that in Nigeria, many people continue to live with their parents far into adulthood. Therefore, they often do not enjoy the
independence that comes with adulthood. Although they manifest all the physical attributes of fully grown adults, they lack the economic
independence and social status that are associated with adulthood. In other words, the taking up of adult roles such as the role of the father
or mother, teacher, doctor etc is delayed. Similarly, economic independence as a result of entry into the labour force is delayed for many
people in the country. Therefore, there could exist a large number of Nigerian adults who have more in common with adolescents in other
climes and their challenges may be more similar with those of adolescents. The needs of this class of people may also not be met when
adult needs are being considered. This explains why it may be necessary to carry young adults who are yet to get married along in all
studies targeted at adolescents in this part of the world.

Adolescence, Young Adulthood and Internet Use in Nigeria: a Review of What is Known and Unknown


Internat ional Jour nal of Economy, Mana ge ment and Social Sciences , 3(1) January 2014

For instance, researchers may consider the category of all persons who have begun to manifest or fully manifest the physical features of
adulthood but are yet to attain economic independence and/or are yet to enter into adult roles in the society. Put differently, there are
children (below the age of ten years) and young adults above the age of 19 years with physical features and social/emotional demands of
adolescents. Some scholars have explored the social construction of adolescence. Zabin and Kiragu [8] state that The stage of life we
define today as adolescence has not always existed, even though many of the developmental stages we associate with the years during and
after puberty appear to be universal. As argued above, the physical dimension to the conceptualization of adolescence is just one of several
dimensions although growth spurts tend to signal its advent. In agreement, Caldwell et al [9] also show that the period of adolescence as we
see in contemporary times has only recently emerged as a result of social change. They argue that traditionally in many parts of present day
Southwest Nigeria, transition was from childhood to adulthood as women were married off into polygynous homes at or shortly after
puberty. This leaves no room for adolescence, particularly for girls. The scholars further argue that Christianity and western education are
the factors that made this practice cease as it became necessary for girls to remain in schools long after puberty. Thus, adolescence has
come into being in the developing world because of massive economic, institutional, and social changes brought about by Western colonial
and economic expansion and by the move toward a global economy and society [9].
Strict adherence to the chronological notion of adolescence also ignores gender differentials in the timing and experience of adolescence.
Males and females do not experience adolescence at exactly the same age or in the same manner due to physical differences and differences
resulting from variations in societal expectations. Females experience adolescence earlier, and are more likely to spend shorter times as
adolescents or young adults than males. In summary, it can be concluded from the foregoing that in many African cultures the period of
adolescence is a recent experience. It never existed as people simply moved from childhood into adulthood. That is, for many there never
was a time when they looked like adults but were not found in adult roles. The concept of adolescence is therefore, somewhat not universal.
It is socially constructed. Due to the similarities in the life challenges of adolescents and many young adults, researchers often study the
two groups together. Older children with the challenges of adolescence are often ignored, however.
Another major concept in this discourse is the internet. The internet is an international computer network of networks on which electronic
mails are sent and received, and information accessed. Rice and Dolgin (2005) aver that the internet is a way to meet people; find
adventure; share ideas and experiences; look for a job, a date, or a mate; ask questions; or give advice. Things done on the internet are said
to be done online. The internet is the infrastructure on which the world wide web, electronic mails, e-commerce, online chats, face book,
twitter, LinkedIn etc run. The internet has become integrated largely into all human activities. It also incorporates other media of mass
communication such as the radio, television and the print media. Today, we would rather ask about what we cannot do online than what we
can do online?

What proportion of adolescents use the internet?

In Nigeria, just about 3.6 percent of the people have access to the internet [10]. The national survey does not show access by age
categories, however. Therefore, access to the internet across age categories remains unknown. Yet an earlier work suggests that young
people account for a large proportion of internet users in Nigeria [11]. Three major reasons account for this. First, the Nigerian population
is a young (bottom heavy) population. Second, young people are more at home with the new technologies. Finally, children below the age
of ten are less likely to have the needed level of computeracy for internet use. Therefore, the greater proportion of internet users in Nigeria
are young people. Access to the internet is higher in Lagos state than any other of the states of the federation [10]. Nationally representative
data on the proportion of adolescents and young adults who access the internet are not available. A survey in Lagos suggests, however, that
about 58 percent of adolescents use the internet. It should be noted that this is growing at a rather fast rate.
Internet use is significantly associated with developmental stage and sex. The survey shows that internet use rises with age and is higher
among male adolescents and young adults than among female adolescents and young adults. For male younger adolescents, older
adolescents and young adults, the proportions who access the internet are 24, 55 and 71 percents. Generally, 63 percent of the male
participants use the internet. Among female younger adolescents, older adolescents and young adults on the other hand, the proportions of
those who use the internet are 22, 25 and 67 percents. About 53 percent of the female participants in the study use the internet.

Use of the internet

Younger adolescents
(10 14 years)

Older adolescents
(15 19 years)

Young adults
(20 24 years)




7 (24.1)

11 (22.0)

117 (54.7)

109 (44.9)

244 (70.9)

160 (66.7)

368 (62.7)

280 (52.5)


22 (75.9)
29 (100)

39 (78.0)
50 (100)

97 (45.3)
214 (100)

134 (55.1)
243 (100)

100 (29.1)
344 (100)

80 (33.3)
240 (100)

219 (37.3)
587 (100)

253 (47.5)
533 (100)

Where and with what devices do adolescents access the internet?

In the recent past, access to the internet was limited to specific places such as the home, school, work place, library, caf etc. This was so
because of the device that was used in accessing the internet which was typically the personal computer in the form of a desktop. The
implication of this is that people could access the internet only if they could sit by a desktop connected to the internet. Today, however,

Michael O. N. Kunnuji


Int ernational Journal of Economy, Mana ge ment and Soci al Sci ences , 3(1) January 2014

access to the internet is no longer limited to specific places. This is because a wide range of devices can be employed in accessing the
internet. These include the personal computer (i.e laptop, desktop or notebooks), cell phones (blackberry and android phones especially),
electronic pads, pods and tablets. While some devices give room for easy mobility, others confine users to specific spaces. As explained
earlier, the desktop limits access to specific places such as the home, library, school, and cafs. With cell phones, pads and tablets on the
other hand, place of access can be just anywhere where the network signal is good enough to make access to the internet possible. In fact,
people can access the internet while in transit (on the move) today.
Places of internet access among adolescents and young adults

Place of access
Friends place
Other places of access

Younger adolescents
(10 14 years)

Older adolescents
(15 19 years)

Young adults
(20 24 years)
Male Female



A large proportion (42.9 and 36.4 percents of male and female) younger adolescents access the internet at home, often using parents (or
older siblings/relatives) desktops, laptops, notebooks, pads and tablets and cell phones. The place of access mentioned by the majority of
internet users is the cyber caf. Internet access at the caf increases with age as expected. This is followed by home access. With recent
information communication technologies that tend toward the production of more handy devices and devices that offer greater freedom in
terms of mobility, it should be expected that home access will rise and overtake caf access in years to come. School regulations prohibiting
the use of cell phones and similar devices at the secondary level may be a major reason for the low level of access at school among
adolescents. A major problem with documenting places of access to the internet is the mobility of several devices such as cell phones, pads
and tabs which can be used anywhere.
Notwithstanding, the place of access to the internet may have implications for time of possible access. Access to the internet in a library,
school or cafe that opens during the day only may imply that users cannot be online at certain times of the day. Home use may also imply
greater adult supervision which often precludes use at certain periods of the day. Other devices such as ipad, notebooks, cell phones and
electronic tabs give greater freedom to the user in terms of the time and place of access. On the whole, these factors time (period of the
day and duration), place of use, degree of supervision/freedom during use define the social context of internet use. The social context of
internet use has implications for the nature of use to which the internet is put [3, 12]. In other words, the social context of internet use has a
measure of influence on what the users do online. Findings from studies across the globe further buttress this assertion.
A survey on adolescent internet use in Lagos metropolis shows that all-night internet use is associated with age and gender. All-night
internet use increases with age especially among male youths. Male adolescents and young adults were also found to be more likely to use
the internet all-night than their female counterparts.
A study [13] shows that a particular type activity on the internet (online pornography) is associated with the place of access, with
adolescents who use the internet at friends homes being more likely to willingly seek pornography online. Another study of internet use
among young persons in Nigeria shows that social context factors such as the intensity of internet use and involvement in all-night internet
use are predictors of exposure to and involvement in online sexual activities [14]. Earlier studies have not shown what devices are preferred
by adolescents for accessing the internet. While studies suggest that the context of internet use has influence on the nature of use to which
the internet is put, there is little empirical evidence on differentials in the impact of specific devices on the nature of use. This is to say that
studies are yet to show whether using a particular type of device to access the internet will have specific implications for the way the
internet is used by young people.

What do adolescents do online?

As with adults, the activities of young people online cut across a very wide range. Many adolescents and young adults use the internet for
examination related matters such as processing of examination forms, chatting with friends, initiating and maintaining romantic
relationships, doing business, doing research (i.e finding answers to questions), cybercrime, online sexual activities, shopping etc.

Online activities
To send/receive e-mails
Search for information

Younger adolescents
(10 14 years)

Older adolescents
(15 19 years)

Young adults
(20 24 years)
Male Female



Adolescence, Young Adulthood and Internet Use in Nigeria: a Review of What is Known and Unknown


Internat ional Jour nal of Economy, Mana ge ment and Social Sciences , 3(1) January 2014

The topics of primary interest to adolescents and young adults online are friendship, academic research, sports, music and general
entertainment and news. Differences were observed across gender lines, however, with more males showing interest in sports and more
females showing interest in keeping friendship ties alive through chats. Among males, the first three topics of interest are friendship, sports
and academic research in that order, while among females, the first three topics of interest are friendship, academic research and
music/general entertainment. While more than a third (34 percent) of the female participants in the survey mentioned friendship as their
number one topic of interest online, just about 26 percent of the male participants mentioned friendship as their primary topic of interest
On the internet adolescents get exposed to sexual contents and willingly take part in online sexual activities. Several studies suggest that as
adolescent internet users grow older, they begin to use the internet in a manner that exposes them to sexual contents [13, 15, 16, 17]. A
study of young internet users in Lagos metropolis shows also that exposure to sexual contents increases with age. The study shows that
about 43 percent of young people within the age bracket of 10 and 24 years had been exposed to e-mails with sexual contents; 44 percent
had had received e-mails with links that connect to websites with sexual contents; 36 percent had been asked for sexual intimacy online
while 44 percent had found themselves at websites with sexual contents without intending to do so. About a quarter of the respondents
agreed that they discuss sexuality related matters online while 46 percent said they had been involved in at least one of three sexual
activities which include willingly viewing pornography online, taking part in sexually stimulating acts such as sex chats and satisfying their
sexual urge online through cybering [18].
Among adolescents, just about 17 percent said they had been involved in online sexual activities. Nonetheless, 44 percent of adolescents
had been exposed to icons suggestive of sex online; 39 percent said they had found themselves at websites with sexual contents without
intending to do so while 38 percent had received e-mails with links to websites containing sexual contents [19]. On the whole it can be
concluded that studies have shown that adolescents and young adults are exposed to sexual contents online with or without intent to be
exposed to such information. Also, adolescents are involved in online sexual activities, sometimes because they need answers to some
unanswered questions they feel too embarrassed to ask parents or other adults. At other times they simply desire to experiment.
Apart from involvement in online sexual activities, adolescents are also involved in cybercrime. The clandestine nature of the activity has
made it difficult to document its prevalence among adolescents, however. A recent survey of prison inmates in Lagos shows that younger
people (ages 18 to 29 years are more likely to be involved in cyber crime than older inmates [20]. The study does not include adolescents
below the age of 18 years, however, as such delinquents would be remanded in special homes for juveniles. By extrapolation, however, it
can be argued that adolescents and young adults use the internet as a means of defrauding unsuspecting people. This is as a result of the
value of materialism that has evolved in our society. This quest for materialism is summed up in 50 Cents album title Get rich or die
Tryin. In addition to this quest, the internet offers the user the opportunity to conceal his identity and heightens the chances of not being
apprehended. These factors come into play in helping the potential offender decide to offend. The prevalence and correlates of this activity
among adolescents in the society remains unknown, however. A recent event paints a picture of one of the ways through which online fraud
The suspects who allegedly killed Cytnhia Osokogu, daughter of Maj.-Gen. Frank Osokogu (retd.), on July 22, 2012,
have admitted that they drugged and beat the 24-year-old girl before she died. The suspects Nwabuzo Okumo and
Odera Ezekiel described the incident as a mistake. They claimed that they only wanted to rob her and flee from the
hotel before things went awry.
Okumo, a 300-level Accounting student of the University of Lagos, said he met the deceased on BlackBerry Messenger
and established a relationship with her before inviting her to Lagos. He said, We met through a group on BlackBerry
Messenger. We had formed a kind of friendship online. When she told me that she was coming to Lagos to buy some
goods for her boutique in Abuja, I invited her to Casmillo Hotel, Amuwo Odofin, where an incident led to her death. It
was not planned that way. It was a big mistake. (Culled from Punch Newspaper, August 23, 2012,

Further investigations revealed that the duo had got several other victims in the same manner, using the internet as a platform for initiating
friendships aimed at defrauding unsuspecting people. This also shows that the activities of online fraudsters may have far-reaching
negative implications beyond what the perpetrators have in mind.
Involvement in online gaming by adolescents has also been documented in some parts of the world [21]. Video games can be played online.
The games played online can include simple puzzles, racing games, combats, and shooting games which may involve virtual killing. It can
be conjectured that this may have implications for violent behaviour among young people. In Nigeria, the prevalence of online gaming is
yet to be documented.

How do online and offline activities relate?

Several findings about the relationship between media use and behaviour in general, and online and offline activities in particular suggest
that there is a significant relationship between online and offline activities [22, 23, 24]. In addition to the general finding that associates
online and offline sexual activities, social cognitive theorists argue that exposure to portrayals suggesting that an act will lead to social
disapproval or negative consequences fosters negative attitude towards the portrayed behaviour [25]. The relationship between online and
offline activities is not all negative. Studies have shown that when appropriate information are available online, a positive behaviour can be

Michael O. N. Kunnuji


Int ernational Journal of Economy, Mana ge ment and Soci al Sci ences , 3(1) January 2014

initiated in adolescents and young people [26, 27]. Other studies suggest that more factors than the aforementioned account for the
relationship between exposure to media content and behaviour. A study found that the relationship between media content and behaviour is
fully understood when shifts in viewers perceptions of themselves and self efficacy, their perceptions of peers norms on the behaviour and
their beliefs about the consequences of such actions are considered [28].
As suggested earlier, the contents to which internet users are exposed vary from person to person. With the internet, people have a wide
variety of contents to select from and the user may create, distribute, receive or reject contents based on issues that are of predominant
interest to them [29]. Therefore, those whose interest is academic research are likely to seek information on their subjects of interest while
those who are obsessed with sex and are inundated with myriads of questions on sexuality may seek answers online. Thus, online activities
may reflect young peoples innermost interests. The implication of this is that although there is a correlation between online and offline
activities, it may not be the case that offline activities are always triggered by online activities. In fact, the opposite could be the case.
Nonetheless, popular methods of study in the humanities make it difficult to conduct studies that can establish causal relationships.
Following from the arguments above, an online-offline activity cyclone theory has been advanced [19]. This theory holds that while studies
have not been able to show the sequence of online and offline activities, both activities are often mutually reinforcing. Things done in real
life are often sought in the virtual world and vice versa. Online, real life interests may be met or these real life appetites can be whet further.
In the opinion of Cooper [4] online sexual compulsivity may result from involvement in online sexual activities. It is argued here, however,
that the compulsive behaviour may be observed in real life due to the online-offline activity cyclone which may require the assistance of a
On the contrary, others suggest that there is no association between online and offline activities. The theorists have argued that online
activities can be cathartic particularly in dealing with the innate energies of aggression and libido [30]. The theory holds that watching
activities in the media can provide an outlet or a safety valve for the peaceful release of mans imperfectly sublimated antisocial tendencies.
Like Sega Soft would say, it provides an outlet for the primal human urge to kill. There is yet no empirical evidence in support of this
theory in this part of the world.

Very little is known about adolescent internet use in Nigeria. From the studies that have been explored, it can be conjectured that young
people constitute a large proportion of internet users in Nigeria. Yet there is no nationally representative data on internet use among
adolescents and young people in the country. Research is therefore needed to show the proportion of adolescents who use the internet in
Nigeria. Such studies should document the devices used by adolescents in accessing the internet, time of access (period of the day and
duration of use), and place of access across lines of gender, developmental phase, location (rural/urban/semi-urban). Young peoples online
interests should also be documented. In addition, research should further explore the relationship between internet use context variables and
the nature of internet use among adolescents and young people.
While a study that seeks to show the prevalence of cybercrime may be challenging, an online fraud victimization survey should be
conducted in order to show its prevalence. Qualitative and documentary studies should also be conducted to show the level of involvement
of adolescents and young people in online fraud. Another major subject matter is online sexual activities among adolescents and young
people. It is important to note that there are no nationally representative data on the involvement of adolescents and young people in online
sexual activities in Nigeria. The Demographic Health Survey and the National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey are some
studies that may gather data on the internet as a source of information on reproductive health and involvement in online sexual activities.
It is also important to design an experimental study that will show if online interventions in the form of provision of appropriate
information about reproductive health can influence healthy sexual behaviour among adolescents. A study of this nature will make
available useful information on adolescent and youth sexuality through the internet and expose participants who belong to the experimental
group to the website while ensuring that participants who belong to the control group do not have access to the website. A post intervention
test can be conducted to show the extent to which the internet can be a useful tool for making adolescents and young people initiate and
sustain safe sexual behaviours.
Several other studies will be needed to show the involvement of adolescents and young people in online gaming, multitasking and the
association between time spent online and performance in real life activities such as school assignments, academic performance, household
chores and truancy. Complaints have been made by few parents about the use of the internet by young people and their regularity in school.
How prevalent this is and the overall effect of online compulsivity remains unknown. It is obvious that as these preliminary questions about
adolescent internet use are addressed, more research questions will be raised. The need to begin cannot be overemphasised, however.


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Cooper, A. (2002). Sex and the internet: A guidebook for clinicians. New-York: Brunner-Routledge.
World Health Organization (WHO) (2005). Child and Adolescent mental health policies and plans. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO.
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Adolescence, Young Adulthood and Internet Use in Nigeria: a Review of What is Known and Unknown


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