Exploring the potential influences of social media on career education and planning among grade 11 learners

Black (néé Botha), Melany (2017-03)

Thesis (MEdPsych) --Stellenbosch University, 2017

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Adolescents have an increasing need to know how the world of work is organised and want to develop their own career competencies. Unfortunately, many young South Africans not only have limited exposure to the world of work, but also have inadequate access to career education services and social contacts. This dilemma, however, has presented a unique opportunity to research how alternative systems, such as social network sites, are able to bridge these gaps and enable adolescents to investigate, explore and discover various career options online. By exploring adolescents' online experiences and the ability that Social Network Sites have provided to explore, question and understand career-related information, this research may shed some light on how Social Network Sites could be used to provide more accessible career information. Although various research studies have focussed on career education and social media individually, it seems that there is limited research available on the potential link between the two phenomena, as well as how Social Network Sites could be used as resource tools for career education and planning. This research could thus contribute significantly to the development of modern-day career guidance practices and facilitate accessible career education for many South African adolescents. Against this background, the primary objective of the study was to engage with Grade 11 learners to investigate how online social systems affect their choices and behaviour pertaining to career education and planning. Furthermore, the potential influence and value of Social Network Sites on these youth's career development were also explored. The study was qualitative in nature, and based on an eco-systemic and systems theory framework, as the study concerns itself with the interdependence and relationships between different organisms and their physical environment. The systems theory also provided the ideal framework for the current study, as it elaborates on how various systems shape and influence individuals' experiences, choices and decisions. Participants for this study were purposively selected and data were collected through written essays, interviews as well as a focus group. The data and interactions were analysed using a thematic analysis. The research findings indicate that Social Network Sites play a multifaceted role in the lives of adolescents, their views and decisions. For many adolescents, Social Network Sites are merely a way of keeping in contact and staying connected to peers. However, after some probing, it appeared that adolescents knowingly (and some unknowingly) have been influenced by Social Network Sites with regard to their career aspirations and further studies. It emerged that online information and networks ultimately expose adolescents to new ideas and world views, thereby influencing their understanding of themselves and their world of work. Key words: adolescents; career competencies; career education; career planning; social network sites; systems theory framework

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Adolessente het toenemend 'n behoefte om te weet hoe die werksomgewing georganiseer is en hulle wil graag hulle beroepsbevoegdhede ontwikkel. Ongelukkig het baie jong Suid-Afrikaners nie slegs beperkte blootstelling aan die werkswêreld nie, maar ook aan beroepsopvoedingsdienste en sosiale kontakte. Hierdie dilemma het 'n unieke geleentheid vir navorsing gebied om te bepaal hoe alternatiewe sisteme, soos sosiale netwerke, hierdie gapings kan oorbrug en adolessente kan bemagtig om verskeie beroepsgeleenthede aanlyn te ontdek, te bevraagteken en te verstaan. Hierdie navorsing mag lig werp op hoe sosiale netwerk platvorms gebruik kan word tot meer toeganklike beroepsinligting. Hoewel verskeie navorsingstudies op beroepsopvoeding en sosiale media afsonderlik fokus, blyk daar beperkte navorsing te wees oor die verband tussen die twee, asook hoe sosiale netwerk platvorms as navorsingsgereedskap in beroepsopvoeding en –beplanning gebruik kan word. Hierdie navorsing kan dus 'n noemenswaardige bydrae lewer tot die ontwikkeling van moderne beroepsbeplanningspraktyke, en daardeur bereikbare beroepsopvoeding aan baie Suid-Afrikaanse adolessente bied. Die primêre doel van hierdie studie was om te bepaal in watter mate aanlyn sosiale sisteme graad 11-leerders in hulle keuses en gedrag ten opsige van beroepsopvoeding en loopbaanbeplanning beïnvloed. Daar is verder ondersoek ingestel na die invloed en waarde van sosiale netwerke op hierdie jongmense se beroepsontwikkeling. Die studie was kwalitatief van aard en gebaseer op 'n eko-sistemiese en sisteemteoretiese raamwerk, aangesien die studie betrekking het op interafhanklikheid en verhoudings tussen verskillende organismes en hul fisiese omgewing. Verder verskaf die sisteemteorie die ideale raamwerk vir die huidige studie, aangesien dit motiveer hoe verskeie stelsels en sisteme individue se ervarings, keuses en besluite vorm en beïnvloed. Deelnemers aan hierdie studie is doelgerig geselekteer en data is ingesamel deur middel van geskrewe opstelle, onderhoude, asook 'n fokusgroep. Die data en bevindinge is ontleed met behulp van 'n tematiese analise. Die navorsingsresultate toon aan dat sosiale netwerke 'n veeldoelige rol in die lewens van adolessente speel, aangesien dit hul menings en besluite beïnvloed. Vir baie adolessente is sosiale netwerke 'n wyse om in kontak te bly en verhoudings te versterk. Tog blyk dit dat adolessente se loopbaandrome en motivering vir verdere studie wetend (en soms onwetend) deur sosiale netwerke beïnvloed word. Deur die verkenning van aanlyn ervarings is adolessente aan 'n groter en meer diverse netwerk van invloede blootgestel. Die blootstelling aan nuwe idees en wêreldbeskouings het dus die vermoë om hul denke te beïnvloed en om hulleself en hul werkswêreld beter te verstaan.

Thesis

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101254
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