The Internet is a network
of hundreds of thousands of computers all over the world, connected in a way
that lets other computers access information from them. So if a computer is
connected to the Internet, in principle, it can be connected to any other
computer on the network. Today, the Internet comprises more than 45,000
regional, national and international networks, which connect more than 30
million people in over 200 countries. The networks include organizations,
schools, universities, companies, governments, groups and individuals (Gray,
1999).The Internet began in 1969 as ARPANet (Advanced Research Project Agency
Network) by the United States Department of Defense to share military
intelligence and research with university sources. The Internet has since the
1990s become a widely-used civilian tool for communication, research,
entertainment, education and advertisement (Hinson and Amidu, 2006).
history of the Internet has long been linked to university education. This is
because the adoption of the Internet in university system has intensified
access to information and communication by providing un-reserved access to
e-mail messages, web boards, online services and e-publications.In practice,
much of the recent focus of technological development in Nigerian Universities
has been concerned with promoting the use of the Internet as a teaching and
learning tool. Internet is appealing to Universities for a number of reasons:
it reduces the time lag between the production and utilization of knowledge; it
promotes international cooperation and exchange of opinions; it furthers the
sharing of information; and promotes multidisciplinary research.
the Internet’s infancy, higher education institutions have pioneered many
innovations (Cookson, 2000). According to Bates (1996:47), “information
technologies integral to the Internet have allowed higher education to (1)
expand access to education and training, (2) raise quality, (3) lower costs,
and (4) increase cost-effectiveness”. Internet-related technologies have also
enabled higher education institutions to: (5) expand the number of courses and
programs, (6) generate higher levels of tuition-based revenues, (7) develop
specialized programs of study that would not otherwise be possible, and (8) use
the process of technological innovation as a vehicle for revitalization of
other aspects of their operations (Daniel, 1996).It can therefore be said that
the Internet is one of the new technologies that support and promote the
technological revolution that has taken place in education.
in Nigerian universities and tertiary institutions, there have been concerns on
the possible effects of daytime and sometimes all-night Internet browsing on
reading time among students. Some studies, for example, Oji (2007) cited in
Margaret and Eric (2010:16) has highlighted the growing incidences of students
using the Internet not necessarily for academic purposes, but for anti-social
activities such as racketeering, blackmail, fraud and pornography. This
probably explains why cybercafes patronised by students in many Nigerian cities
and towns are often raided by law enforcement officials. Ojedokun (2006:46)
pointed out that,“many students use the Internet mostly or only to search and
retrieve information on entertainment, sports and news, and attributes this
trend to lack of necessary searching skills for effective usage”.
(2002:16), in a research carried out on the Internet and African life, found
that “university undergraduates use the Internet more to communicate socially
than they do for academic work’fThus, whereas, the Internet offers information
and systems of instruction that complement the traditional ways that students
study and learn, some students seem to be preoccupied with it essentially for
activities that entertain rather than educate.
Another contending issue
related to the use of the Internet and the behaviour of the users towards it,
is the issue of gender disparity in the Internet and the purpose of using
it.For instance, Brunner and Bennett (1998:24) observed that, “male and female
students differ significantly in terms of their attitude towards the
Internet’fOn a similar study, a review of the literature concerning the
Internet usage among the Americans revealed that the once stark gap between the
male and the female is closing rapidly, but disparities remain in the purposes
for which males and females use the Internet (Odell, Korgen, Schumacher,
andDelucchi,2001 cited in Ozoemelem, 2010:18).
therefore means, with the rapid increase in the Internet access in Nigerian
universities and tertiary institutions where the male and female students surf
the internet through cyber cafes, wireless hotspot, modems and mobile phones,
there is the need to study the behaviour of the students towards the Internet
as well as the purpose for which they use the Internet.
The use of the internet for research
and studies in the university is now a thing of necessity world-wide, and
having access and a positive attitude toward the use of the Internet is a
necessary condition for its effective use (Sylvester, 2011). Similarly, it is
to establish the students’ attitudetowards any new technology because it will
to know if
they are meeting the needs of students effectively (OECD, 2005).
Findings of previous studies carried out in some
universities and tertiary institutions revealed a widespread assumption that
female students use the internet for communication purposes, for fashion and shopping reasons and that they are less
intense users of the internet. Also, there is a controversy in the findings of studies related to the female students’ attitudes and behaviour
towards the internet. Some asserts that female students exhibit less favourable
or negative attitudes towards the internet while others posit that female
students possessed positive attitudes towards the internet. Meanwhile, the
female students, as mothers or would-be mothers, depending on their attitude
andpurpose of using the Internet, have the potential of changing the future of
the technological level of the society as
they are directly involved in the training of next generation of people and thereby have the opportunity
to implement the utilization of the Internet into the Nigerian society, particularly amongst
children who are the future of the society. If they have a good behaviour
towards the uses of the
Internet then the level and skills of Internet adaptation in our society
will be brighter and if otherwise, then there is the urgent need to reorient
and redirect their thinking.
It is in consideration of
the enormous importance and necessity of computer and the Internet in education
for all that many Nigerian universities, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
inclusive, are out to develop and boost their Information and Communication
Technology sector. Hence, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria has established its own
university e-library (MTN University Connect) and the Internet wireless
services on its campuses mainly for educational purposes. Meanwhile, the
students have other several ways of accessing the Internet such as through the
prepaid cyber cafes, modems and mobile phones among others. For instance, the
researcher observed that in A.B.U., more female students have access to mobile
Internet gadgets such as mobile phones, iphone, ipad and other devices which
provide easier access to the Internet.
therefore means that, although providing internet facilities and or having
access to it is important, studying and analyzing the users’ behaviours towards
it as well as the purpose of using it is equally important. Hence, while
universities like A.B.U. are trying to build the Internet, a valuable teaching
and learning tool, it is necessary for them to understand their students’
behaviour towards its applications. Also, they need to find out the purposes
for which their female students in particular are using the Internet; whether
they use it for communication, for entertainment and fashion, for academic
purposes, for correspondences or for business and social purposes.
The following research questions were set out
to generate data for the study:
What is the behaviour of female undergraduates
of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria towards the uses of the Internet?
For what purpose do the female undergraduates of
Ahmadu Bello University Zaria use the Internet?
What are the Internet search engines and access
points used by the female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria?
How often do the female undergraduates of Ahmadu
Bello University Zaria surf the Internet?
What are the constraints faced by the female
undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria using the Internet?1.4
Aim/Objectives of the Study
This study aims
at determining the behaviour of female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello
University Zaria towards the Internet and the purpose which they use it for.
The specific objectives are as follows:
To find out the behaviour of female
undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria towards the Internet usage.
To identify the purpose for which the Internet is
used by female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
To identify the search engines/access points
mostly used by female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
To determine the frequency of surfing the
Internet by the respondents.
To find out the constraints faced by female
undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria using the Internet.1.5
Significance of the Study
In the existing body of
literature on the uses of the Internet reviewed by the researcher, not many and
specific studies have been conducted in relation to the behaviour and purpose
of the uses of the Internet by female undergraduates in Nigerian universities.
The few ones available such as that of Salam (2003) and Achounye & Olele
(2009) among others studied the gender differences among the male and female
students in the universities. In Ahmadu Bello University Zaria for example, the
Internet usage among female undergraduates have never been examined in any
previous studies. This therefore indicates the gap in knowledge of the study.
study is further justified in the sense that Ahmadu Bello University Zaria is
among the Nigerian Universities that encourages the use of the Internet for
academic purposes among its staff and students alike. Hence, the University has
established its own e-library, Internet wireless services among others in its
campuses. It is in line with this that the researcher carried out this study to
find out the behaviour of the female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University,
Zaria towards the uses of the Internet.
management of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria will be the primary beneficiaries
of the findings of this study considering the huge amount of money and efforts
they use in building the Internet facilities on the campus, the efforts they put
in encouraging the use of the Internet for academic purposes and their eminent
contributions towards bridging the gender gap in education and ICT usage.
beneficiaries of the study will include female empowerment campaigners, who
over the years have been in the forefront of campaigns for equity in the
education of women in the country. So also, the Internet advertisers can use
the findings of the study for their decision making for online advert
study will cover the female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
However, only a sample of their total population will be used to make
generalizations. Thus, the sample will be drawn from the twelve faculties of
rationale behind selecting female undergraduates is because it is at their
level that foundation of university education is laid and it is also at this
level that women who will work in different works of life and women activists
that help to liberate other women generations yet to come from domination are
produced. The researcher observed that in the university more female students
have access to mobile Internet gadgets such as mobile phones, iphone, ipad and
other devices which provide easier access to the Internet. The female undergraduates,
as mothers or mothers to be, depending on their attitude and purpose of using
the Internet, have the potential to change the future of the technological
level of the society as they are directly involved in the training of next
generation of people. They have the opportunity to implement the utilization of
the Internet into the Nigerian society, particularly amongst children who are
the future of the society. If they have a good behaviour towards the uses of
the Internet then the level and skills of Internet adaptation in our society
will be brighter and if otherwise, then there is the urgent need to reorient
and redirect their thinking.
questionnaire was administered during examination period therefore having the
attention of the respondents was difficult for the researcher.
1.8 Operational Definitions
Behaviour - in
the context of this study means feeling, perception or attitudinal dispositions
of a certain group towards a particular thing.
Perception/Attitude - in
this study means opinion or way of thinking and understanding of the female
undergraduates towards the internet.
Access point -
in this study means the device or way through which one surfs the Internet. For
instance, it could be through subscription modem, cyber cafes, wireless
hotspots, e-library and mobile Internet like devices like i-phone, ipad and
other devices which provide easier access to the Internet.
A.B.U -is used
several times in this study and it means Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
Search engine -
in this study it refers to the method of information searching in the internet.
Female Undergraduates -as
it is used in this study means all female students in the university from 100
level to 400 or 500 level.