There have been global concerns among scholars on the impact of violent television programmes particularly on youths, who mostly entertain themselves with all sort audio-visual clips that frequently contain violent activities. Also, the viewing of violent programmes by youths in University of Lagos and University of Ibadan has been associated with negative characteristics among youth like aggressiveness, violence, cultism, getting poorer grades, reading less books, placing higher value in play than being more creative.
The general objective of this study is to examine the impact of violent television programs on the youths in West Africa. This project was founded on social learning theory and magic bullet theory as the theoretical background. Descriptive technique using quantitative analysis method was adopted and 100 undergraduate students were selected as respondents.
Findings revealed the social and psychological effects of violent television programs on the youths in West Africa as been serious. It further shows the cognitive effects of violent television programs on the youths in West Africa to be poor academic performance, cultism and exhibition of aggressive behaviour are the major consequences. And finally, wrestling, boxing, action films, and other violent cartoons are some of the contents of violent television programs aired in West Africa.
The study however concluded that violent television programmes has only impacted negatively on the youths in West Africa. It therefore recommends that movie contents should be adequately regulated with a view of curbing and discouraging violence among youths and undergraduates.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Youths are simply young people, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity) (Slaby, 2015). Youth also portray as the appearance of freshness, vigor, spirit, etc., characteristic of one who is young. Its description of a specific age range varies, as youth is not defined chronologically as a stage that can be tied to specific age ranges; nor can its end point be linked to specific activities, such as taking unpaid work, violence or having sexual relations without consent. Being the most vibrant age group, youths constitutes the largest percentage of the population that make use of modern technological devices including computers, television, internet etc. however, some of the activities being presented in these media has greatly influenced the behaviour of youths (Slaby, 2015).
Technology is the force of today‘s ever-evolving world, and television is at the heart of it. While experiencing its own evolution and advancement, TV has maintained a constant presence. Postman (2015) wrote that television is our culture‘s principal model of knowing about itself. Therefore, he continues, how television stages the world becomes the model for how the world is properly to be staged. This becomes a problem when the picture does not accurately reflect reality (Postman, 2015). Some level of fictional violence is displayed on the televisions most times and youths might not be able to separate it from reality. This makes them especially vulnerable to potentially harmful effects from viewing violent television programs (Postman, 2015).
Violence is one of many messages disseminated through the sensation of television, which plays an active role in entertaining and impacting the lives of today‘s youth. Because of its prevalence, violent television programs has grown to be a controversial issue on which several studies have been conducted since the 1950s. Based on his research, Gerbner (2016) asserted that growing up in a mediated violence-laden culture breeds aggressiveness in some and desensitization, insecurity, mistrust, and anger in most. The impact, degree and severity of effects from violent television program viewing such as these are continually debated. Scholars do agree, however, on the simple possibility that television does contribute to antisocial effects, although it may not be the only contributing variable. While debate ensues over potential long and shortterm effects of violent television program viewing, youths are often at the forefront as a special group that needs protection from the risks of any negative media effects (Potter, 2010).
Television is an electronic device which transmits picture and sound. It is used for entertainment, information and commercials. With the advent of satellite and digital technologies, there are unlimited programmes on television. For instance, there are programmes on news, education, culture, weather forecast, sports, music and a plethora of both good quality and inappropriate contents (Santrock, 2015). Television combines the appealing features of the movies and radio and it is one of the most popular amusement devices during the youthful years. It may lure youths away from other forms of play such as violence. Ordinarily, television is supposed to inform, educate, enlighten the public, but on the contrary some of the contents can definitely influence the behaviour of youths
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The effect of violent television viewing on youths has been a subject of controversy. The viewing of violent programmes by youths has been associated with negative characteristics in youths like aggressiveness, violence, getting poorer grades, reading less books, placing higher value in play than being more creative. In another study, Anene (2016) found that heavy viewing of violent television programs hinder reading, retard problem solving, expressive language and listening skills, blunt imagination and contribute to laziness. Generally in Nigeria, some parents believes that violent television activities cannot influence their child/ward negatively, hence, does not feel that there is need to restrict them from watching it.
Considering the inconsistent opinions, views and result of findings on the influence of violent television program viewing on the youths, there is the need to carry out further study on the influence of violent television programs on youths across the west African countries. Also West Africa subregion is comprised of different nations and ethnic groups. These different groups may have diverging opinions on the viewing of violent television program due partly to their different cultural, religious inclinations and family background. Hence, this study is coming at the appropriate time.
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The main objective of this study is to investigate the effect of violent television programs on selected undergraduates of universities in West Africa while the following are the specific objectives:
- To examine the social and psychological effects of violent television programs on youth in West Africa.
- To examine the cognitive effects of violent television programs on youth in West Africa.
- To examine the contents of violent television programs aired in west Africa.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the social and psychological effects of violent television programs on youth in West Africa?
- What are the cognitive effects of violent television programs on youth in West Africa?
- What are the contents of violent television programs aired in west Africa?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The findings from this study will educate the media regulators and the general public on the influence of violent television programs on youth, it will also enlighten the public on the right types of media that can improve youth development.
This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of violent television programs on the youth, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
Methodology is part of the research that shows the ways and approaches of collecting the data (Oliver, 2004). This research is primarily qualitative as it is based on the effect of violent television programs on the youth in West Africa. The reason for choosing the qualitative analysis strategy is the exploratory and the qualitative nature of study. According to Robson (1993), flexibility is always the main strength of the case study strategy in terms of interpretation and getting access to the specified places. The research is a based on secondary data. We used document analysis/content analysis as main method of data collection. Document analysis/content analysis also called “textual analysis” (Travers, 2001) in the study will include all kinds of academic articles, textual and multi-media products, ranging from television programmes to web sites on the internet
SOURCES OF DATA
In the course of research for this work relevant data and information were obtained from the main sources. These were primary and secondary source.
1. Primary Sources:
Primary sources which were utilized in the course of the research for this work from archival research. Material was consulted at the National Library, Benin City, Edo State. They include report on the effect of violent television programs on the youth and other documents relating to this works.
2. Secondary Source:
Secondary source which consulted in some university and public libraries across the country include textbooks, journals and periodicals information obtained from primary sources. These sourced helped to provide data and information relating to the effect of violent television programs on the youth.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
It will cover all the violent television content across west African countries. It will also cover the university students within the sub-region. It will also be limited to the effect of violent television programs on the youth using University of Lagos UNILAG and University of Ibadan (UI) as a study.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Youth: is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity). It is also defined as "the appearance, freshness, vigor, spirit, etc
Violence: acts involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
Television Programme: is any audio-visual content produced for broadcast via over-the-air, satellite, cable, or internet and typically viewed on a television set, excluding breaking news, advertisements, or trailers.