Social media and the moral development of adolescent pupils: soulmates or antagonists?
Taringa, Nisbert T.
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Since the turn of the new millennium Zimbabwe has experienced extensive expansion of Internet access through desktop computers, laptops and cell phones. These gadgets have led to the phenomenal rise in the use of social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Skype as e-learning resources. Undergirded by situational analysis, Kohlberg's theory of moral development and unhu/ubuntu moral philosophy, this article interrogates the impact of this rapid growth of social media networks, as e-learning resources, on the moral development of adolescent pupils in Harare (Zimbabwe). Data were gathered through document analysis, interviews and focus group discussions with adolescent pupils, students, teachers and parents. The study established that pupils' interaction with social media platforms is largely detrimental to their moral development. Given that the abuse of Internet by adolescents and other social groups who interact with them is a serious matter that inhibits moral development of pupils, this article calls for unhu/ubuntu based cyber interactions, as well as, the enactment of cyber smart legal frameworks which protect adolescents. The article also advocates a curriculum that balances technology with moral education.