Scholarly article on topic 'Influence of Information and Communication Technology on Behavior Problems of Nigerian Youths'

Influence of Information and Communication Technology on Behavior Problems of Nigerian Youths Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Happiness Ihuoma Igbo, Enechojo Grace Egbe-Okpenge, Ronke Grace Awopetu

Abstract The study investigates the influence of Information and Communication Technology on behavior problems of Nigerian youths. A self administered survey was conducted with 550 convenience samples of university undergraduates in three universities in Benue State, Nigeria. Four research questions and four hypotheses guided the study. Descriptive statistics, mean, standard deviation and multiple regression statistics were used to analyze the data. The empirical results indicate tha t there is a joint significant influence of ICT, school, sex and age on cybercrime, aggressive behavior, truancy and sex crimes among youths. However while ICT remained constant and significant, none of the other variables contributed significantly independently. The study recommends that guidance counselors and clinical psychologists at both post primary and tertiary institutions should use appropriate skills and techniques to assist in curbing the identified behavior problems.

Academic research paper on topic "Influence of Information and Communication Technology on Behavior Problems of Nigerian Youths"

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Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 84 (2013) 97 - 106 —

3rd World Conference on Psychology, Counselling and Guidance (WCPCG-2012)

Influence Of Information And Communication Technology On Behavior Problems Of Nigerian Youths

IGBO, Happiness Ihuoma a, EGBE-OKPENGE, Enechojo Grace b, AWOPETU, Ronke Gracec

aFaculty of Education, Benue State University, Makurdi-Nigeria bCollege of Agricultural and Science Education, University of Agriculture, Makurdi-Nigeria cDepartment of Psychology, Benue State University, Makurdi-Nigeria

Abstract

The study investigates the influence of Information and Communication Technology on behavior problems of Nigerian youths. A self administered survey was conducted with 550 convenience samples of university undergraduates in three universities in Benue State, Nigeria. Four research questions and four hypotheses guided the study. Descriptive statistics, mean, standard deviation and multiple regression statistics were used to analyze the data. The empirical results indicate that there is a joint significant influence of ICT, school, sex and age on cybercrime, aggressive behavior, truancy and sex crimes among youths. However while ICT remained constant and significant, none of the other variables contributed significantly independently. The study recommends that guidance counselors and clinical psychologists at both post primary and tertiary institutions should use appropriate skills and techniques to assist in curbing the identified behavior problems.

© 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Huseyin Uzunboylu & Dr. Mukaddes Demirok, Near East University, Cyprus Keywords: Information and Communication Technology; Behaviour Problems; Cybercrimes; Aggressiveness; Sex crimes; Truancy.

Introduction

The developmental stage of the youths covers the scope of the adolescence and the young adults hence they experience most adolescent characteristics. The period is associated with vigor. Since they are very energetic and active, they tend to engage in explorative actions which sometimes yield both positive and negative actions affecting their behavior.

Behavior has been defined as the way in which an individual behaves acts or conducts his or herself. It also includes the way an individual acts towards others and the society generally. Every society has acceptable norms peculiar to it in which the citizens are expected to conform. Deviation from such set of norms may be seen as problematic. Behavior problem has been defined severally by scholars. Anagbogu (1995) sees it as when an individual's action differs considerably from the standard behavior of a given society. Davison and Neale (1982) define it as those conducts that are deemed noxious or unacceptable to other individuals while Ladipo (2000) defines behavior problems as those conducts that deviate from age appropriate behavior which significantly interferes with

Corresponding author name:*/gbo Happiness Ihuoma, Tel: +234-806-571-6172 E-mail address: hapigbo@yahoo.com

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Huseyin Uzunboylu & Dr. Mukaddes Demirok, Near East University, Cyprus doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.06.517

the individuals growth and development and the lives of others. Behavior problem therefore is any unusual or odd behavior which markedly differs from the norms and expected behavior of a given age group or society and significantly interferes with the child's growth and development, prevents the child from building and maintaining satisfying interpersonal relationship with peers.

Behavior problems have been alleged to have been caused by several factors including parental and home background, teachers' personality, method of instruction, corrupt society, the state of the child's health, peer group interest, absence of religious and moral instructions and mass media which recently encompass information and communication technology (ICT). Behavior problem among youths manifest in various forms. These include: stealing, truancy, lying, fighting, cheating, lateness, rudeness, sex offenses and harassment, alcohol drinking and smoking (UNESCO 2000). In Nigeria, several scholars have identified the following as forms of behavior problems among children and youths - aggression, truancy, drug addiction, sex crimes, disrespect for elders, examination malpractice, bullying, disobedience and noise making (Anagbogu, 2001 & Nnachi, 2003). Recently, it has been observed that several youths now engage in cyber related crimes. Such as e-mail scam, cyber bullying and intimidations, lying, internet pornography, online child and drug trafficking, examination fraud and sabotaging internet network providers (Longe, Ngwa, Wada & Mbarika 2009)

The recent trend of behavior problems among Nigerian youths is making one wonder if current exposure and involvement of this group of individuals to the modern information and communication technology gadgets has any influence on them. Information and Communication Technology has been defined by the World Bank (2002) as any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form. It consists of hardware, software, networks and media for collection, storage, processing, transmission and presentation of information (voice, data, texts and images). William and Sawyer (2001) see it as the technology that emerge from computing with high speed communication links, carrying data, sound and videos. They are mainly characterized by their intangibility (possibility of scanning), immediate and multimedia applications. The emergence of ICT has revolutionized the existence and activities of the contemporary man especially in the milieu of globalization. Indeed no sphere of human endeavour is isolated from the impact of these new technologies.

Information and Communication Technologies come in different forms and types ranging from the conventional mass media (radio, television, video, tape recorder) to more recent ones like computers, cell phones, e-mails, World Wide Web (www), interactive multimedia system and digital telecommunications. It is a common scenario now to see most Nigerian youths have access and make use of one or more of the ICT gadgets. In Nigeria today, practically every youth lives in a home equipped with the basic tools of the information age including radio, television, telephone, DVD, video cassette recorders and cell phones. The cell phone and the computer are central appliances of the media culture that will in time converge with digital television. Personal observations have shown that cell phones have gradually become part of everyday life of youths in the society. Some undergraduate students have either desktop or laptop computers in their homes. Accessibility to the computer has been made much easier by the introduction and establishment of cyber cafes in most streets in the urban areas. This gives youths' adequate opportunities to access the internet with little money. Most of these cyber cafes operate on a 24 hour basis allowing some youths to spend the night with them. This behavior might lead to internet addiction and lateness to lectures for such students.

Youths now spend most of their time playing games on their cell phones or computers. Others use them for browsing the internet for all forms of information, social networking and films including pornographic ones. Research shows that in Nigeria, over 40% of internet usage is related to browsing of sex sites. The remaining 60% is distributed among searches for information on academics, entertainment, migration and sports amongst others (Longe, 2004). When the internet began with the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the intention was to make information exchange faster, portable and accessible (Sackson, 1996). The Internet in serving this purpose today comprised of over 6 million networked computers all over the world. As with every good innovation with all comers entrant, certain unpalatable advantages are being taken of the internet by those who see it

as a means not only to gratify fleshy ends, but also a means to legalize that which is morally unacceptable. The invasion of pornographic and other sex sites on the internet is an issue of serious concern for the world at large (Longe & Longe 2003). The most recently introduced credit cards, the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which is being used to withdraw money from banks has also exposed Nigerians to new form of ICT technology. Observations have shown that some individuals have lost huge sums of money through fraudulent acts of some persons using ATM cards. Some universities are losing revenue due to students defrauding them by logging in to say that they have paid school fees which they never did. This has therefore introduced a new form of behavior problem among the youths.

Social Psychologist, Bandura (1973) believes that human beings are generally influenced by mass media through observation, imitation and adopting certain behaviors of their models. Media influence on children, adolescents and youths seem to be steadily on the increase as new and more sophisticated ICTs are being introduced and made accessible to these groups of individuals. Hence, this study investigates the influence of Information and Communication Technology on behavior problems of Nigerian youths', namely-cyber crimes, aggression, truancy in schools and sex crimes.

Statement of the Problem

Long before the emergence of Information and Communication Technologies, communication scholars have argued that there is a strong link between mass media and behavior problems of adolescents and youths. Currently the use of ICTs by youths is a matter of concern, debate and reflection for many scholars, both nationally and internationally. This is because of the perceived relationship between youths and ICT that has the possibility of enhancing addictive behaviors that can corrupt personal and social development of the youths. It is a common scenario to see youths fondle with cell phones all through the day carrying out various activities ranging from text messaging to playing games, browsing, chatting and watching films. Such constant use of the cell phone and internet facilities often lead to internet addiction. This unrestricted access to the internet might have been exposing the youths to some behaviors unacceptable to the societal norms. It is not uncommon to see youths play violent games with their cell phones, view pornographic and violence-oriented films/chat with all types of people across the globe, engage in premarital sex, rape, pornographic related behaviors, truancy and lots of cyber crimes . There is also remarked increase of aggressive and violence related behaviour among youths. The most recent being the Niger Delta youth militancy and the Boko Haram surge in Northern Nigeria. One therefore wonders how the coordinated acts and communications are made easier if not through ICT gadgets. The study is based on the assumption that since most of these behaviors are against societal norms and values, they might be influenced by the constant use of ICT gadgets. The study, therefore, seeks to determine the influence of Information and Communication Technology on the behavior problem of Nigerian youths.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to determine the influence of ICT on behavior problems of Nigerian youths.

Specifically, the study seeks to:

1. Establish if ICT, school, age and sex have significant joint and independent influence on cyber crime.

2. Determine if ICT, school, age and sex have significant joint and independent influence on aggressive behavior.

3. Establish if ICT, school, age and sex have significant joint and independent influence on sex crimes.

4. Determine if ICT, school, age and sex have significant joint and independent influence on truancy.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

1. What is the influence of ICT on cyber crime?

2. Does ICT have any influence on aggressive behavior?

3. What is the influence of ICT on sex crime?

4. Does ICT have any influence on truancy?

Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses test the study:

1. ICT, school, age and sex have no significant joint and independent influence on cyber crime.

2. ICT, school, age and sex have no significant joint and independent influence on aggressive behavior.

3. ICT, school, age and sex have no significant joint and independent influence on sex crimes.

4. ICT, school, age and sex have no significant joint and independent influence on truancy.

Methodology

The study used a survey design while the study area was the Benue State of Nigeria. The three Universities in Benue State were used, namely: Benue State University, Makurdi (State Government owned University); University of Agriculture, Makurdi (Federal Government owned) and University of Mkar, Mkar (Mission owned). The three universities are assumed to be good representatives from the University of Agriculture is mandated by law to admit students from all the States of the Federation.

Population and Sample: The population consisted of all the undergraduate students in the three Universities. Five hundred and fifty undergraduate students served as the participants. Stratified random sampling was used to select the sample based on the Universities and Faculties.

Instrument: The study made use of a self-constructed instrument named -Influence of ICT on Behavior Problems Inventory (ICTBPI). The instrument consisted of three sections. Section A had three items that focused on bio-data of the respondents. Section B was a checklist to identify the types of ICT facilities being used, while Section C had twenty items that focused on the influence of ICT on behavior problems. Eight items were on cybercrime, four on aggressive behavior, sex crimes and truancy respectively. Section C adopted a 4-point modified Likert type scale. The items were scored with Strongly Agree = 4points; Agree =3points Disagree= 2points and Strongly Disagree =1point. An item is considered relevant if it has a mean score of 2.5 and above. ICTBPI was face validated by two experts in counselling psychology at the University of Agriculture and Benue State University, Makurdi. The various suggestions made were used to modify the instrument. The instrument was pilot tested on twenty students who were not part of the respondents. Split half method was used and Cronbach alpha yielded a .86 which is considered adequate for social science research.

Method of Data Collection/Analysis: Three undergraduate students in collaboration with the researchers administered the instrument by hand. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviation for bio-data and research questions. The hypotheses were analyzed using multiple regression statistics. All the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.

Presentation and Analysis of Demographic Data of Respondents.

School: Benue State University 300 (54.50%); University of Agriculture Makurdi, 142 (25.80%) and University of Mkar, 108 (19.60%).

Age Range: 15-20 years, 248 (45.10%); 21-25 years, 257 (70%); 25-30 years, 45 (8.10%)

Sex: Males 325 (58.50%); Females 225 (41.50%)

Types of ICT Used:

Automated Teller Machine/ Credit Card (ATM) 492 (89.45%)

GSM Phones 550 (100%);

Internet 550 (100%);

GSM and Internet only 5 (0.90%);

ATM and Internet only 5 (0.90);

GSM and ATM only 9 (1.64%);

ATM, GSM and Internet 540 (98.18%)

Results

Research Questions:

Table1: Mean Scores of Influence of ICT oBehaviorur Problems

SN ITEMS N MEAN SD REMARK

Influence of ICT on Behavior Problems

1. Sends scam mails to peer through e-mails and cell phones.

2. Tell lies using cell phones

3. Cheats people through online interactions

4. Addicted to the internet

5. Engages in child online trafficking

547 550

548 550

2.66 3.11

2.63 547 1.52

1.10 .80

.89 1.02

Accepted Accepted

NA Accepted

6. Cheats people through ATM credit cards 550 1.89

7. Sabotages network providers and

services by making free browsing. 547 2.64

8. Hides identity when making phone calls in order not to be identified

Influence of ICT on Aggressive Behaviours

9. Learnt aggressive behavior through

violent video games

10. Makes conference calls with peers and plans bullying victims

11. Cyber intimidation of peers

12. Abuses people through cell phones,

1.03 NA 1.20 Accepted

548 3.08 .94 Accepted

face book, e-mail etc

Influence of ICT on Truancy

13. Drug and alcohol taking

14. Initiation into secret societies

15. Uses cell phone to perpetrate of exam misconduct

16. Browsing most nights and coming late to lectures

550 2.63 550 2.66 545 2.75

548 1.90

1.02 Accepted 1.66 Accepted 1.07 Accepted

.80 NA

541 1.59 .81 NA 548 1.45 .79 NA

549 2.59 1.38 Accepted

549 2.75 1.07 Accepted

Influence of ICT on Sex Crimes

17. Gets involved in internet pornography.

18. Learnt raping on the internet and sometimes Engages in it

548 1.59 .81 NA

550 1.45 .79 NA

.19. Engages in unsafe sex 20. Sexually harasses the opposite sex through e-mails, to go and Facebook.

550 2.63 1.02 Accepted

547 2.50 1.37 Accepted

NA = Not Accepted

Table one shows that items 3, 5, 6, 11, 13, 14, 17 and 18 indicated that ICT did not have influence on those behaviors while the rest of the items were accepted as having an influence.

Hypothesis 1: ICT, school, age, sex has no significant joint and independent influence on cybercrime.

Table 2: Multiple Regression Showing the Joint and Independent Influence of ICT, School, Age and Sex on

Cybercrime

Variable R R2 F ß t P Remark

ICT(Constant) .028 .036 4.644 15.544 <.001 Reject

School .056 1.116 ns

Age -.144 -2.912 ns

Sex .049 .973 ns

F (4, 505) = 4.664; P< .001; R= .028 and R2= .036

Table 2 shows that all the variables jointly accounted for cybercrime. Observation of Beta Weight indicated that none contributed more significantly than the others to the joint influence. Since P< .001 is less than P <.05, the null hypothesis is rejected while the alternative is accepted. This shows that there is a joint significant influence of ICT, school, age and sex on cybercrime.

Hypothesis 2: ICT, school, age and sex have no significant joint and independent influence on aggressive behavior.

Table 3: Multiple Regression Showing Joint and Independent Influence of ICT, School, Age and Sex on

Aggressive Behavior

Variable R R2 F P t p Remark

ICT (Constant) .040 ^32 57208 1 12.640 <.001 Reject

School .074 1.464 ns

Age -.139 -2.812 ns

Sex .090 1.808 ns

F (4, 505) = 5.208; P< .001; R= .040 and R2= .032

Table 3 shows that all the variables jointly accounted for aggressive behavior. Observation of the Beta Weight indicated that none contributed more significantly than the others to the joint influence. Since P< .001 is less than P

<. 05, the null hypothesis is rejected while the alternative is accepted. This shows that there is a joint significant influence of ICT, school, age and sex on aggressive behavior.

Hypothesis 3: ICT, school, age and sex have no significant joint and independent influence on sex crime

Table 4: Multiple Regression Showing the Independent and Joint Influence of ICT, School, Age, and Sex on

Sex Crime

Variable_R_R_F__t_P Remark

IC ((Constant) .041 .048 6.392 7.827 . .001 Reject

School .162 3.222 ns

Age .043 .881 ns

Sex .084 1.690 ns

F (4, 505) = 6.392; P< .001; R= .041 and R2= .048

Table 4 shows that all the variables jointly accounted for sex crimes. Observation of the Beta Weight indicated that none of the variables contributed more significantly independently than the others to the joint influence. Since P< .001 is less than P <. 05 the null hypothesis is rejected while the alternative is accepted. This shows that there is a joint significant influence of ICT, school, an age and sex on sex crimes

Hypothesis 4: ICT, school, age and sex have no significant joint and independent influence on truancy.

Table 5: Multiple Regression Analysis Showing the Joint and Independent Influence of ICT, School, Age and Sex on Truancy

Variable R R2 F ß t P Remark

IC ((Constant) .122 .129 18.680 7.931 . .001 Reject

School .021 .494 ns

Age -.139 2.963 ns

Sex .003 .059 ns

F (4, 505) = 18.680; P< .001; R= .122 and R2= .129

Table 5 shows that all the variables jointly accounted for truancy. Observation of the Beta Weight however indicated that none contributed more significantly than the others to the joint influence. Since P< .001 is less than P <. 05 the null hypothesis was rejected while the alternative is accepted. This shows that there is a joint significant influence of ICT, school, and age on truancy.

Discussions

The analysis of the data collected revealed that ICT has significant influence on cybercrime, aggressive behavior, sex crimes and truancy among youths. Other variables of sex, age and school though have varying degrees of influence on the identified behavior problems, however none contributed more significantly. The findings of

hypothesis one is in line with the results of Longe, Ngwa, Wada and Mbarika (2009) which showed that while ICT had been relatively successful in Sub-Saharan Africa, there exist problems of cybercrimes especially in Nigeria where e-mail scam, cyber scam, and mobile prostitution are in existence.

The result of the second hypothesis revealed that ICT has significant influence on aggressive behavior of youths. This finding agrees with the works of Anderson and Bushman (2001) and Anderson (2004) which maintained that violent video games and films increase aggressive feelings, thoughts and behavior in adolescents. This is evidenced since most Nigerian youths engage themselves in many hours daily playing violent video games and watching violence media films either through the internet or their multimedia cell phones.

Hypothesis three was on sex crimes. The result shows that ICT significantly influences sex crime in youths. This finding tallies with the result of Subrahmanyam, Smahel and Greenfield (2006) observed that chatting allows for immediate and direct communications between participants and that many of such chat talks are geared toward sexual talk which leads to offline sexual intimidations, harassments and attractions which have led some youths to premarital sex, unsafe sex and risky behaviors with those whom they met on the internet. This finding is however contrary to that of Amato (2006) who investigated how Internet access, and the accompanying pornography it carries, correlated with rape in different states. The study noted that states with the greatest access to internet (Alaska, Colorado, New Jersey, and Washington) showed a decrease of 27% of rape. Also Huston, Wartella and Donnerstein

(1998) maintained that television and other ICTs can play important roles in educating adolescents and youth's sexuality since they are intensely interested in sexuality, romance and relationships. This difference could be explained by the fact that this present study focused only on influence on behavior problems.

Hypothesis four indicated that ICT has significant influence on truancy among youths. This is mostly seen by students browsing all night and coming to sleep in the class in the morning and at other times not coming at all thereby missing lectures. Passey, Rogers, Machell and McHugh (2004) affirmed that teachers and pupils reported that the motivational impact of ICT positively affected school attendance. However some teachers and adults associated with education believed that ICT could have some negative effect on attendance and behavior. Outside the classroom, truancy is fertile soil for activities that endanger the physical and mental health of children and youths.

Implications for Research and Practice

The implications of this study for research, counselling and clinical practice are that negative and incessant use of ICT facilities in terms of cell phones, internet, video, ATM credit cards amongst others, by youths significantly introduces them to some behavior problems. Guidance counselors and clinical psychologists should vigorously embark on massive campaigns against the negative use of ICT gadgets by youths. The study does not undermine the fact that youths especially students can gain much academic, economic and social knowledge from the internet for their overall development. However, guidance and counselling professionals and clinical psychologists should discourage the all day/night browsing that introduces truancy in schools. Youths should be encouraged to be careful in selecting websites and games they view and play. Pornographic sites, violence oriented films and sites that induce web scams and aggressive behavior should be neglected. These can be done by conducting peer group seminars, workshops and discussions. Adequate information can be disseminated by circulating leaflets, posters and handbills. The use of media houses like radios and televisions by guidance counselors, counselling associations and clinical psychologists to conduct talk shows can be of help. Efforts should also be made to re-orient youths to imbibe honesty and wholesome values. The challenge before the guidance counselors and clinical psychologists across the globe is that since the study agreed with others in developed nations that ICT facilities influence behavior problems among youths, and since every behavior is assumed to be learned, such behavior can also be unlearned. School guidance counsellors in post primary and tertiary institutions should use professional techniques, skills and therapies to modify the identified behaviour problems. Techniques like Rational Emotive Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral

Therapy could be used to modify the identified behavior problems. This is because since these are learned behaviors they can be unlearned.

Conclusion

The influx of information and communication technology gadgets across the globe and Nigeria in particular is commendable. There is no doubt that these facilities come with educational, economic and social benefits, not just to the individuals using them but to the nation at large. Care however must be taken by parents, school guidance counselors and those professionals outside the school setting to guide youths against negative uses of ICT gadgets that will lead them into behavior problems. Future work could still be done on this, either replicating or extending the findings of this study to other samples and probably using a slightly different methodology. This may leave the nation with a great deal of benefits. We are agents of change and should not allow our adolescents and young adults to mesh in behavior problems.

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