There have been global concerns among scholars on the impact of violent television programmes particularly on undergraduate students, who mostly entertain themselves with all sort audio-visual clips that frequently contain violent activities. Also, the viewing of violent programmes by undergraduate students in University of Lagos and University of Ibadan has been associated with negative characteristics among undergraduates 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 undergraduate students in Nigerian university. 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 undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI as been serious. It further shows the cognitive effects of violent television programs on undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI 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 UNILAG and UI.
The study however concluded that violent television programmes has only impacted negatively on the undergraduates in UNILAG and UI. It therefore recommends that movie contents should be adequately regulated with a view of curbing and discouraging violence among undergraduates.
1.1 Background to the Study
Undergraduatesare simply youngpeople, that are in the process of achieving their first degree (Slaby, 2015).Undergraduates 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 undergraduates 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 engaging in campus social activities,learning, violence or having sexual relations without consent. Being the most vibrant age group, undergraduates constitutes a huge 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 undergraduates (Slaby, 2015).
Technology is the force of today‘s ever-evolving world, and television is at theheart of it. While experiencing its own evolution and advancement, TV has maintained aconstant presence. Postman (2015) wrote that television is our culture‘s principal model of knowing about itself. Therefore, he continues, how television stages the worldbecomes the model for how the world is properly to be staged. This becomes aproblem when the picture does not accurately reflect reality (Postman, 2015). Some level of fictional violence is displayed on the televisions most times and undergraduates might not be able to separate it from reality. This makes them especially vulnerable topotentially harmful effects from viewing violent television programs (Postman, 2015).
Violence is one of many messages disseminated through the sensation oftelevision, which plays an active role in entertaining and impacting the lives of today‘sundergraduate. Because of its prevalence, violent television programs has grown to be a controversial issueon 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 breedsaggressiveness in some and desensitization, insecurity, mistrust, and anger in most. The impact, degree and severity of effects from violenttelevision program viewing such as these are continually debated. Scholars do agree, however, onthe simple possibility that television does contribute to antisocial effects, although it maynot be the only contributing variable. While debate ensues over potential long and shorttermeffects of violent television program viewing, undergraduates are often at the forefront as a special groupthat needs protection from the risks of any negative media effects (Potter, 2010).
Television is an electronic device which transmits picture and sound. It isused for entertainment, information and commercials. With the advent of satelliteand digital technologies, there are unlimited programmes on television. Forinstance, 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 andradio and it is one of the most popular amusement devices during the youthful years. It may lure undergraduates 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 undergraduates
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The impact of violent television viewing on undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI has been a subject of controversy. The viewing of violent programmes by undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI has been associated with negative characteristics inundergraduates like aggressiveness, violence, getting poorer grades, reading less books, placing higher value in playthan being more creative. In another study, Anene (2016) found thatheavy viewing of violent television programs hinder reading, retard problem solving, expressivelanguage 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 theinfluence of violent television program viewing on undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI, there isthe need to carry out further study on the influence of violent television programs onundergraduate students in UNILAG and UI. Also Nigeria is definitely in need of future leaders who will drive the system, these are the undergraduates from differentethnic groups. These different groups may have diverging opinions on the viewingof violent television program due partly to their different cultural, religious inclinations and familybackground. Hence, this study is coming at the appropriate time.
1.3 Research Objectives
The main objective of this study is to investigate the impact of violent television programs on selected undergraduates of universities in Nigeria while the following are the specific objectives:
- To examine the social and psychological effects of violent television programs on undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI.
- To examine the cognitive effects of violent television programs on undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI.
- To examine the contents of violent television programs aired in UNILAG and UI.
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the social and psychological effects of violent television programs on undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI?
- What are the cognitive effects of violent television programs on undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI?
- What are the contents of violent television programs aired in UNILAG and UI?
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 undergraduate students in Nigerian universities, it will also enlighten the public on the right types of media that can improve advance the better course of undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI.
This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the impact of violent television programs on undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.6 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 impact of violent television programs on undergraduate students in UNILAG and UI.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Undergraduates: is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time when one is in the process of achieving the first degree
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.