Social networking MU grB/Introduction

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This article is a snapshot of the situation of Social Networking Sites usage by Mauritian Students. The findings are interesting as they revealed that some students are spending more than 5 hours per day on these sites, they logged in at least once a day and are communicating and sharing more than parents and educators can imagine.

There favorite Social Networking Site is Facebook and we discussed the main activities they get engaged in and the benefits they are gaining from these sites.

An alarming situation is the non awareness of some of the students concerning the dangers associated with Social Networking Sites.



I’m in the 7th grade. I’m 13. I’m not a cheerleader. I’m not the president of the student body. Or captain of the debate team. I’m not the prettiest girl in my class. I’m not the most popular girl in my class. I’m just a kid. I’m a little shy. And it’s really hard in this school to impress people enough to be your friend if you’re not any of those things. But I go on these really great vacations with my parents between Christmas and New Year’s every year. And I take pictures of places we go. And I write about those places. And I post this on my Xanga. Because I think if kids in school read what I have to say and how I say it, they’ll want to be my friend —Vivien, 13, to Parry Aftab during a “Teen Angels” meeting 2

Social networking is a phenomenon which has gained momentum recently with web 2.0 development. At first more young people were indulged in it but now people of all ages are using it as a means of communication and sharing ideas on many issues such as work, studies, finance, sports, businesses, etc. Social networking has crossed borders and is now an international activity as more and more people connect worldwide.

In Mauritius many forms of social networking are gradually becoming popular among our students who converse with their peers and contacts from other countries . Very often we hear of students talking about chatting on MSN, playing games online, and using Facebook and so on. They often join groups of 10 to play strategy games with great passion, and developing new skills on the way. You hear them talking of Utube which are very popular for downloads of music.

This survey tends to assess to what extent our mauritian students are involved in social networking. By using a questionnaire and informal interviews we want to gather evidence on the use of this activity. We are taking into consideration the primary, secondary and tertiary students but will lay more emphasis on secondary and tertiary students.

Both male and female students are being considered as we want to find out how equal they are in the use of computer time when participating in this new and exciting activities such as social networking. We are mentioning some popular sites and we want to find out which of these sites are most familiar to them. The time the students spend on these sites are very important as it would give us some insight of their hidden world and activities and interests which have a deep bearing on their life. Most probably many of them do have their profiles on these sites but how much do they reveal their true identity. Would they show more trust when communicating with friends on these sites rather than when face to face We want to know whether the time they devote to these sites affect them in one way or another in their studies or sporting life or family life. Very often we hear of the conflict between parents and their children over the overuse of computers. Is the gap widening between this new generation and other generations. How far this is true? We hope this survey will shed light on this.

Key Terms

The Mauritian Education System

Basically, like most of the countries of the world, The Mauritian system of education consists of four stages:

  1. pre-primary
  2. primary
  3. secondary
  4. tertiary.

After the pre-primary school(The Kindergarden Stage), children embrace primary schooling as from 5 years for six years and they learn subjects as Mathematics, English, Arts, Physical education, French, History and Geography as well as ICT.

In fact, the introduction of ICT in the primary curriculum has greatly influenced the students to make them part and parcel of the social networking phenomenon. Surprisingly enough, many students of the upper primary (STD IV - VI)are easily communicating with friends and sharing photos on facebook, skype or e-mail. According to my personal experience of having worked with standard V pupils, I find that ICT classes, a computer at home and a computer literate family background has encouraged them to further explore social networking.

However, there is still a need for parents to monitor the activities of their children as they may make a misuse of this technology.--Prema leckraz 08:56, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

At the end of the Primary level the students take a national examination, the Certificate of Primary Education, which is a pre-requisite to start their secondary schooling. Those failing the CPE enters pre-Vocational classes.

The students then spend 7 years in secondary schools. They obtain an O level Cambridge certificate after five years and A level Cambridge certificate after two more years.

Then the students either proceed to Universities either locally or abroad or even distance education.

What is Social Networking

We define social network sites as web‐based services that allow individuals to

  • construct a public or semi‐public profile within a bounded system,
  • articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and
  • view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.

"The History"

According to the definition above, the first recognizable social network site launched in 1997. allowed users to create profiles, list their Friends and, beginning in 1998, surf the Friends lists. allowed people to affiliate with their high school or college and surf the network for others who were also affiliated, but users could not create profiles or list Friends until years later.

The Korean virtual worlds site Cyworld was started in 1999 and added SNS features in 2001.

Friendster launched in 2002 as a social complement to Ryze. It was designed to compete with, a profitable online dating site (Cohen, 2003). While most dating sites focused on introducing people to strangers with similar interests, Friendster was designed to help friends‐of‐friends meet, based on the assumption that friends‐of‐friends would make better romantic partners than would strangers.


The Tools

A review of existing investigations published in the literature that had studied the use of Social Networking Sites by students revealed that survey instruments, being it online questionaire or hard copy, was the most commonly used tool for collecting data.

Divising an online questionaire would required lots of html expertise and we were limited by that. We decided to consider questionaire by hard copy, but due to the cost and the fact that students were already on holiday and we will not be meeting them, we decided to send the questionaire in WORD version by email to the students and to use hard copy if the need arise.

We also used informal interview to collect more qualitative data.

The students from the primary level had difficulty filling in the questionaire by themselves, so we explain carefully the question before asking them to fill the questionaire. As far as possible we tried to influence them and direct the answers when we explain.

The Sample

The sample were students from the primary, secondary as well as the tertiary level. Each member were required to fill in 15 questionaires, and since we were four members in the group we collected a total of 66 questionaires. The Upper Secondary students and the tertiary students filled the questionaires and sent them back by email. The Lower secondary and the primary students were given hard copies to fill.

Our sample consisted of 11 primary students 41 secondary students and 14 tertiary student.

The region from which the students live was to be considered, with half from rural region and the other half from urban region.

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Web Resources

Further reading

Boyd, Danah M., and Nicole B. Ellison. Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. N.p.: n.p., 2007. Michigan State University. CCCCD Library Online. Web. 5 Dec. 2009. <socialnetworksites_boyd-ellision_2007.pdf>