MASS MEDIA INFLUENCE ON URBAN YOUTHS; WITH FOCUS ON UGHELLI SOUTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Abstract

 

Media violence has led to increased rates of youth violence. Exposure to violence in the movies, video games and music videos increases the likelihood of physical and verbal aggressive and violent behaviour, thoughts and emotions in youth. Theories drive practice, hence the need to articulate a theoretical framework for this presentation. The study adopted the magic bullet theory. The study used survey research. Ughelli north according to 2011 population census has an estimated population of 376,330. This study cover 150 respondents out of the estimated 300,000 population have been chosen as the sampling size. The respondents were randomly picked. The study concluded that regular exposure to the media influences the lifestyle of urban youths negatively and this is the reason for most negative behaviour among youths in our urban centre which is attributed to the media,  media though could be a useful tool for disseminations of useful information and a useful tool for societal development, could also bring about social and moral decency in the society if not properly manage and educators, parents, community leaders, elites should also by this means help the youths confront the undignified and distorted images so prevalent in today media. The study therefore recommended that the government should check the activities of the media industries to ensure the messages they pass out meet moral societal taste, also the government should try as much as possible to enlighten the people on the use of parental control menu so as to guide the children on what they watch, the media managers and practitioners should also act as gate-keepers whom should develop media content/messages based on our culture and locally accepted norms.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

In the last 50 years, media influence has grown rapidly with an advance in technology. First there was the radio, then the newspapers, magazines, television and now the internet. Today, we all live in a media-dominated world. Media is a way for the members of the society to keep themselves informed about what is happening around them. It is also the major source of entertainment. By creating an image appealing to the youth, media controls the variety of material youth incorporate in their daily lives. Their images, which mostly consist of sexuality, violence, coarse language and revealing clothing, have a negative impact on the youth. Media should be forbidden from advertising and telecasting shows pertaining to violence, sex and unhealthy living because it plays an important role in shaping the opinions of the younger generation.

 

Media violence has lead to increased rates of youth violence. Exposure to violence in the movies, video games and music videos increases the likelihood of physical and verbal aggressive and violent behaviour, thoughts and emotions in youth.   Researchers have examined various communities before and after the introduction of television, to find a link between violence and real-life aggression. They found that after the television had been introduced, the incidents of fists fights and black eyes among the youth had increased significantly. Several days after an episode of Happy Days (a television show during 1970s) was aired, in which one character joined a gang called the Red Demons, children in the community created rival gangs, called the Red Demons and the Green Demons and the conflict between the two seriously disrupted the local school. Media violence desensitizes people to real violence. A number of studies show that youths/youngsters who are constantly exposed to media violence tend to be less disturbed when they witness real world violence.

1.1       Background to the Study

Today people wonder why youths/teenagers behave the way they do. Behaviour in youths is caused by a number of factors. Some researchers concluded that culture and the media are some of the factors that today affect the way teenagers dress, talk, walk or even influence the type of music or the food they want (Mangwere,  Wadesango, and Kurebwa, 23).

Since youths are the backbone of any society in terms of them being the future generation,  researchers are prompted to investigate the influence of the media on their behavior, particularly youths in the urban centres.

The media today play a crucial role in the life of the society. It is very important to note that the media have four primary function; Surveillance of the environment, Correlation of different elements of society, Transmission of culture, from one generation to the next Charlesb Wright added the function of entertainment to functions of the mass media. According to Ralph Hansen (2005), socialization is the process of integrating people into the society through the transmission of values, social norms and knowledge to new members of the group takes place. We actually learn the values of our society through the media, friends, clubs, school, church, etc the media their aim to put a particular coherent worldview or ideology and to influence behavior or the way people act.

The media are believed to cause intended change, unintended change, minor change, facilitate change, reinforce what already exist or prevent change (McQuail, 1994). Already from the above statement it is clear that the media have influence on what people do. Citing  Heap et al. (1995) Mangwere, A., et al (2013) states that, the rate of social change is increasing as a result of the Information Technology (IT) whose vehicle is the media. The social changes  referred to here are some of the effects of the media. This social change is apparent in many aspects of the society such home, work, shops, schools, banks etc.

 

Concisely, the term mass media simply translates to the modern means of giving news, opinion, education, entertainment and agenda-setting to large numbers of people, especially through radio, television, newspapers, magazines and films. According to Joseph Dominick (2009:36), a medium is the channel through which a message travels from the source to the receiver (medium” as singular, media” is plural). When we talk about mass communication, we also need channels to carry the message. Therefore, mass media are the channels used for mass communication. The definition of mass media will not only include the mechanical devices that transmit and sometimes store the message (television cameras, radio microphones, printing presses) but also the institutions that use these machines to transmit messages. “A Media Vehicle is a single component of the mass media, such as a newspaper, radio station, television network, or magazine.

 

There are basically eight different types of mass media: radio, television, film, books, sound recordings, newspapers, magazines and the internet. Of course, these eight are not the only mass media that exist. Others are billboards, comic books, posters, direct mail, matchbooks and buttons. These eight media listed above have the largest audiences, employ the most people and have the greatest impact. People are also most familiar with these media.

 

The media consciously attempt to inculcate values and behaviour in the audience. The radio and television usually portray in social responsibility adverts or announcements the dangers of alcohol and over speeding. Recently, advertisements on cigarettes remind smokers that they were liable to die.

Mass media can also transmit values by enforcing, social norms. People who make unguarded or tribalistic comments over the radio are usually sanctioned, suspended or even sacked. Joseph Dominick (2009:36) opined that “of all the mass media, television probably has the greatest potential for socialisation. By the time an individual is 18 years he or she will have spent more time watching television than any single activity except sleep.”

The need for information is more important than ever before. Our values and ways of life in this information age are strongly influenced by the mass media like newspaper, radio, television, video, and in recent times the Internet and mobile phones.

The mass media (television) television has become an increasingly inseparable part of children's everyday life due to its audio and visual impact, researchers have intensified their investigation of the possible impact of extensive television watching on America's youngsters. During the past few decades, considerable research has focused on such popular topics as the influences of television viewing on students' cognitive and academic development (e.g., Comstock & Paik, 1987; Johnson, 1986; Singer & Singer, 1983) and television's influence on children's social behavior (e.g., Honig, 1983).

Some researchers also have focused on the social distribution of television watching among American young viewers.

Although most of such studies have linked television viewing with students' demographic characteristics such as race (e.g., Bogart, 1972; Bower, 1973; Greenberg &Dervin, 1970; Haertel & Wiley, 1979), socioeconomic status (Abel, 1976; Himmelweit & Swift, 1976; McCarthy, Langner, Gersten, Eisenberg, & Orzeck, 1975), and gender (Levin, 1978; McLeod, Atkin, & Chaffee, 1972), few have gone beyond the direct effects of these characteristics to analyze mass media message from an environmental or a contextual perspective. In particular, little research has been conducted to investigate the differences in reception of mass media message between rural and urban dwellers.

The mass media which have been regarded as the fourth estate of the realm that serve as catalyst of social institution have been viewed as a tool for the transmission of culture and of learning new behavior.   Different ways in which information travel through the mass media seem to be sending the country into a kind of nervous breakdown (Alison and Jarice 1997:10-11).

Hanson (1995:24) argued that the existing development of mass media can lead to radical change in the society. The mass media which have been described as the mirror of the world have influenced our culture in innumerable ways. One of its effects is that it has encouraged violence among youths in our society.

In New York Times (1995), Alison and Jarice wrote that television is one of the primary causes of teenage violence than it can be blamed on any other cause.

Some people believe that the mass media are efficient in influencing the lifestyle of urban youths, while others argue otherwise.

Merton and Lazerfield wrote that the media are everywhere; they might be able to control and manipulate people’s lives. Neil Postman (1985) argues that television promotes triviality by speaking one voice, the voice of entertainment.

He further argued that television as a mass medium is transforming our culture, (Alison and Jarice 1992:2)

This study is therefore set to ascertain the influence of the mass media on the lifestyle of urban youths, with Ughelli in Delta State as the focus of the study.

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Studies have showed that the mass media power to influence rest on its ability to provide to disseminate information about sexuality, health and other aspects of well-being to a variety of audiences, including adolescents and young adults. They can improve knowledge and shape perceptions and attitudes about various subjects, and influence young people sexual and reproductive behavior as well as their general lifestyle.

Thus, this assumption that the mass media play a significant role in the lifestyle of urban youths is a matter for investigation in order to determine its validity. The problem therefore, is to ascertain to what extent the mass media influence the behavior of urban youths in Ughelli.

 

1.3       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY           

The objectives of this study are as follows;

  1.         i.            To find out the influence of the mass media on the lifestyle of urban youths.
  2.      ii.            To find out the extent to which the mass media influence the lifestyle of urban youths
  3.    iii.            To determine the role of the mass media in the change of culture among urban youths.
  4.    iv.            To examines the pervasive impact of mass media on the cultural values of Nigerian youths.

1.4       RESEARCH QUESTIONS          

This study will be guided by the following research questions

  1.         i.            What are influences of the mass media on the lifestyle of urban youths.
  2.      ii.            To what extent does the mass media influence the behaviour of urban youths
  3.    iii.            What are the roles of the mass media in the change of culture among urban youths.
  4.    iv.            What are the pervasive impacts of mass media on the cultural values of Nigerian youths.

 

 

1.5       SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study is limited to the use of the mass media to broadcast daily users information to youths in Ughelli.

The people youths of Ughelli have access to the following media stations Delta Rainbow Television, Delta State Radio, both of which belong to the state, while Jeremi FM (JFM), and Crown FM are privately owned and pointer newspaper, Warri mirror magazine as print medium. They also now have access to international stations with the advent of satellite and cable TV such as Starttimes, Gotv, Strong, Ctl, Dstv among others. Majority of the people prefer the international stations to the local station due to their rich programme content.

 1.6      SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study is aimed to be helpful in the following ways;

This study is expected to help the government, religious leaders, educationist and also policy maker to know the extent to which the mass media can bring about drastic change in the lifestyle of youths and how the media can serve as a tool for cultural importation as well as guide them to put adequate measures in place to check the movement of Western television programmes into Nigeria.

The findings of this research will enable the government to know what role the media can play in the development of a country and therefore, harness the mass media especially Tv in the democratic process and development process in general.

The study will help to educate the general public of the inter-relationship between media programme contents and youth altitudinal behaviour behavior.

Finally, the study will equally help to uphold awareness and knowledge of youths and students who will become future cybercafé, radio and television owners to know the type of programme that they should broadcast.

1.7       DEFINITION OF TERMS

Content:        This refers to the things that are contained in something. As it is used in relation to this work, it means the various TV programmes

Cultural dominance: It means the conscious and unconscious domination by Western Tv media on the media system of Nigeria. It also connote this refers to notions of neocolonialism that uses policy and practice that have effect to dominate the culture and affairs of less developed countries.

Foreign: the Cambridge advance learner dictionary defined foreign as belonging or connected to a country which is not your own.

Influence:  Cambridge Advance Leaner’s dictionary defined influence as “the power to have an effect on people or things, or a person or thing that is able to do this”.

Mass media: These are channel for moving messages across distance or time to accomplish mass communication (Defleur and Mcquail, 1989).

Programme: The services of a broadcast station, prepared and transmitted to the audience regularly within a specific scope of time, in terms of hour or minutes, that are received simultaneously by the audience at different times of the study

Social behaviour: in this study examines communication, values, dressing, social interaction, etc, among teenagers who fall within the age group of 13-19 years.

Youths: the period of your life when you are young, or the state of being young usually from the age of 18 – 35 years

Television:    A system for converting visual images (with sound) into electrical signals, transmitting them by radio or other means, and displaying them electronically on a screen. It is a device shaped like a box with a screen which receives electrical signals and changes them into moving images and sound, or the method or business of sending images and sound by electrical signals. 

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