Children And Mass Media; The Role Of Mass Media In Childhood Socialization
The study deals on children and mass media use: A study of the vote of mass media use in childhood socialization.
It throws light on one of the most remarkable features in human development. This feature is the transformation of the child from a low, helpless and defenseless infant to a self fending adult, by the process of socialization.
The study has five chapters which combined to explain better the ideas and evens of socialization of children.
The first chapter laid foundation for other chapters that appeared in this study and gives a general overview of the study in a capsule form.
Chapter two deals on view some textbooks which served as empirical support the various issues raised in the study.
Chapter three deals on the research methodology population size, sample size research design, research instrument and method of data analysis.
In the study the sample size fo100 children from University primary school and Abegg primary school, both n Enugu state were chosen.
Sample random sampling system was used as the selection procedure. However, the research instrument was questionnaire, structured in easy and simples words and short sentences aid understanding.
Chapter four deals on the statistical test of all the five hypothesis for their statistical significance while chapter five only based on conclusion and possible suggestions for further research.
1.1 Background of Study
In spite of the fact that the invention of the printing press and the introduction of the television did not come as parallel discoveries they have become a potent force in revalorizing men’s ideas and actions.
As the world require new vistas, it becomes more intricate. There is more being done and a consciousness of more to be done, more information needed and more information to be communicated. Modern industrial technology has made possible the reproduction of information on a massive scale. Therotary press the motion picture cameras and he television, all provide a basis for reaching vast audience.
In a more complex world of specialization takes and lessening distances, the ties between a man and his next door neighbour may be less important than those which bind in to fellows of his own profession, hobby or taste.
As the social bonds of traditional community, living have weakened the mass media have created a new set of common interests and loyalties. The broadcast and the print media collectively called the mass media had offered a new kind of shared experience in which millions can laugh at, feel the men thrill s and anxieties and respond to the same heaves.
Mass media operations are possible only where the produced symbols are meaningful.
In a world of standardized goods, it is to be expected that entertainment should be dispensed through impersonal commercial and play that prevail in more simple communities.
With no other form of impersonal communication has sharing f experience been possible on universal scale and to be so intense in degree as with the mass media concern about the possible effect or influence of mass communication upon the opinions and attitudes of men have been prevalent for several decades and has existed in less intense way as have mass media.
The statement that the penis mightier than the sword has been modernized by social observes who have claimed that the mass media are powerful than atomic bomb.
The mass media have particular importance in human history. they are the greatest multipliers of information just as the machines of the industrial revolution were able to multiply human power with others kind of energy.
The significance of the development of printing in the 15th century was that, it did not only saint the balance from long centuries of spoken first hand communication towards the sharing of information on a grad scale but more importantly it extended learning beyond privileged .
Wilbur Schramm noted that “ shortly after the development of printing the print media became tools of political and social change.
He argued that the revolution in Europe would have been most impossible without the print media and the development of public school would have equally been impossible.
In contemporary times man’s life and existence have come to depend largely on the media to tell him what is happening in his society ad in the large world, to educate and entertain him. Therefore there is an inexorable march towards a world entirely predicental on mass media communication. The mass media have this become the most powerful communication force created by man.
The relent introduction of satellite communication has further reduced the world to we global village. What role them the mass media play during the process of childhood socialization? Phrased differentially what are the interlocking relationship between the child the media and the cultural acquisition of his society?
1.2 Statement of Problem
The problem behind this study is to investigate the pattern of media usage among children of varying socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, as part of a broader study on the role of the media during the process of childhood socialization.
Apart from deviating from the dominant effect in studies of he mass media this aspect by underlying has been motivated by underlying assumptions.
1.3 Research Objectives
This study has been motivated because of the important role played by the mass media in the socialization process of a childhood.
The mass media contribute to the socialization process of the child by the information they make available to him, the values they express and illustrate to him, the experience the child draws from the media, the thrills and the horns they offer him. The mass media also reinforce the efforts of the other agencies of socialization such as the peer group the family the church, he school etc.
Secondary, since the mass media are message multipliers which increase the number and speed of message sent, and the size of the audience in very little time, it is reasoned that given the tremendous powers of the mass media they should transcend all the other agents in the socialization process, especially in situations where the mass media have been adopted as an integral part of the learning process.
A third reason behind the study is that during childhood which is a period of information seeking when the Childs central concern lies in defining a coherent picture of the world may learning which occurs (and some learning inevitably occurs) influence the future behaviour of the individual throughout life. This kind of learning includes orientation towards political horrors, Institution, the values and the belief system of the society within which the child finds himself. Bowman and Byton describes this as “ anticipating socialization.
Fourthly, the socialization or the acquisition of the culture of one’s society is vital not only for the normal behaviour of the individual being but also because of its impact on how one relates to other member of the society. And it the culture of any society must be persevered and perpetual, and then the contents must be continuously transmittal or communicate from one generation to another.
Therefore, if the child internalizes the society’s necessary habits, belief and values, the appropriate becomes important for the harmonies. Functioning of a civilized society.
But contrary to popular assumptions some social science scholars analyzing the roles the various agents viz. The family as more important than the mass media in socialization process.
1.4 Communication Problem
This study is particularly interested in the role of the mass media in the socialization process of the child. Eh central problems is therefore how much influence the media has on the individual during childhood socialization.
The main thrust of the problem therefore borders on the communication behaviours of children. In other words what do children do with the mass media? What are the effects of mediated cultural messages on children? Which effects and among which children? What is socialization? Chining defined the term socialization.
As the term learning process by which the child acquires the culture (norms, blues and skills) o his society, thereby becoming an accepted member of his society.
He referred to norms or normative patterns of any society as “The values which defies what are felt to be proper, legitimate or expected or of social relationship.
Chinoy contends that the contents of the culture of any society are communicated or transmitted to the child through the agents of socialization viz. the family the school, the peer group and the mass media.
1.5 Mass Communication and Socialization.
One of the most remarkable features in human development is the retransformation of he child, from a raw , helpless and defendless infant to a self fending adult, by the process of socialization.
Socialization is the process by which the individual acquires the culture of his group and internalizes this leading the process to take into account the expectations of others.
It is important to emphasize that socialization is never total and It is a continuous process extending from childhood through old age.
Some matters involve continuous instructions throughout life. Responsibility for socialization is ordinarily located in specific handed or institution depend on the normative are involved. Early toilet training is directed on the job by other members of the occupation or by a specialists.
A great deal of socialization is deliberate but is also occurs inadvertently when the individual picks up ones about social norms without special instructions about them.
Wright explained that in more developed societies, a greater part in complex process of socialization is taken over by the mass media. He individual, it various times in life, leaves some social norms from he media.
The media can reinforce the efforts of the family and school or weaken dilute and them in the socialization process.
Children can learn directly from the media which also communicate to parents and peers. Standards of behaviour they then transmit.
The media may be directly utilized for education and in doctrinarian as in educational television or in the exploitation of all forms of mass communication and authoritarian socialites where the regimes systematically try to spread and sustain the values thy approve.
In most heterogeneous societies lacking official values and with on central direction and control, the influence of the media is usually unplanned and uncertain, potentially dysfunctional in relation to prevailing standards of some groups or to those of he whole society. This may result in a gap between what was intended and the result achieved, with unanticipated and unwanted consequences flowing from both the content and technique of the media.
Even the other socialization agents are dependent on the mass media for information on charges that takes place in world around them. for instance modern science communication through the mass media has influenced the ways in which parents look after their children, take care of their needs and respond to their behaviours.
1.6 The Nigerian Case
Nigeria, basically a heterogeneous society, comprising or more than 200 ethnic group with different normative patterns customers, beliefs and even languages, has always had the problem of longing some material ideas and objectives that would not turn country to the norms and pictures of some of her people.
But if Nigeria should remain a strong, united and vints nation, then certain national values must be pout across to the majority other people Albert these inherent problems via the mass media.
Also the government realizing the harm of foreign media contents have done and have been doing interns of acculturating Nigeria youths and children: has been making some attempts in deliberately utilizing the mass media to re-social the children on their own values and ways of life.
A lot of foreign culture has been impartial on Nigeria children via the television, the film, comics etc. this is evident in their ,ode of dressing behavioural patterns and even the way they relates to their elders.
A lot of foreign culture has been impartial on Nigeria children via the television, the film comics etc. This is evident in their mode of dressing behavioural patterns and even he way they relate to their elders.
The policy makers seem to have realized what roles the mass media especially the children who spend about 60% of their leisure hours on the television.
Perhaps this is why must media contents especially the few programmes meant for children have been undergoing some changes .for example, most/television programmes meant for children are consciously being blended with cultural messages.
Sea same Street” a popular educational programmes shot in the USA and screnal for Nigeria kids, has given way fro locally male slots.
In NTA Benin, former Miss Stella – Maris Onyeama, who host junior television progammes, makes sure that children appearing on the screens are more often than not in traditional ears, and their plays and folk- lore are usually reminiscent of “those moonlight play.” The same applies to another Network programmes “tales b moonlight.
In NTA Enugu, a children’s programme junior opinion” encourages viewing children to ask questions about their cultural heritage and ways of life.
The radio is not left out in the conscious attempts to resocialize Nigeria children from this borrowed values and acquaints than with their own traditional orientation some radio programmes like “ your heritage music from other states. our cultural music are subtle attempts towards the realization of this goal.
Perhaps, the policy makers are working on the assumption that those concerned are children in their formative ages. it is assumed that if children identify with their peers in the media they may emphasis with them, thus unconsciously internalizing the values and norms required. Kelman need that attitude change through “identification occurs when an individual adopts behaviour derived from another person or group because the behaviour is associated with satisfying self defining relationship to his person or group.
It is therefore assumed that it attitudes of children are in congruency to those emphasized by the media, then the problem is near its solution.
But given Nigeria’s scoi-political nature, characterize by ethnic diversity and linguistic differences it will surely be an onerous task fashioning Nigerian youth with similar outlook to life.
There are obvious problems of he languages values and norms to be selected among the very many that abound in Nigeria especially in the are of media contents.
1.7 Significance of Study
The mass media especially he visual media television and film are widely believed to be uniquely effective simply for their visual advantages over the others. They have been found to command more complete attention form their audience and are times completely pre-occupying especially for children.
But it is the view of this researcher that children have been exposed to only a narrow use of the mass media especially the electronic media in this country. Millions if them have every limited access to the mass media.
All we find in most programmes designed for children in the mass media are songs, dances story’s telling and plays. The trend now is to screen primary and secondary school children in traditional dancing, to one from of traditional music or the other.
In short they are brought as entertainers to television viewers. I feel that if new strategies are not adopted where children would be exposed to a more expanded use of media, they might grow into tradition – direction, dance –oriented and talk less adults.
If we intend to make these efforts a fruitful permanent one then the massive re-ordering currently taking place in the country must give particular attention to new strategies aimed at inculcating in Nigerian children and youths those sparkling qualities of ethnic tolerance and co-existence discipline and patriotism.
This is because most of he country’s human problems stem from ethnicity the problem of setting monopoly fears, ethnic rivaling and suspicion.
These problems have been accentuated by the stro-type and dogmas which even the years have been usual to describe particular life styles of some ethnic groups in Nigeria,
Any strategy must therefore involve the complete re-orientation if not re-socialization of acquired attitudes and sterio-types, for which the generally of Nigeria except the kinder queens are replete wit.
For example the law man who sees the wav mans. Way of life as inferior to his, fails to realize the culture is relative and diversified from one culture is superior to the other.
It might be superior attempt to make most adults realize that these stro-types are misconceptions which have no basis in reality.
This study therefore is timely in that the findings and results might give some dues to new strategies aimed at improving the communication behaviour of children as one way of using the mass media in mobilizing the youth and children in general in the side to build a nation where through tribes and tongues may f\differ in brother hood we sand, this is because the youths and children make up more than 40 million of Nigeria’s population.
1.8 Researcher Questions
The following research questions will at as guide to the issues to be treated in this study.
- Does media usage among the children vary with family soci-economic backgrounds or study?
- Does the medium of television form the major medium of information dissemination for children? In other words do children prefer information dissemination through television than other media and or agencies of socialization
- Do children use media for reinforcement of the social norms of the society?
- What is the level of importance that children attach to the mass e\media in relation to the traditional agents of socialization like the family, the teacher, friends or peer groups during child\hood socialization? That are these media relatively more important to children or not?
- Do children refer to mass media as sources of acquiring the normative patterns of their societies?
Based on the theoretical formulation of this study the study intends to prove or is prove the following hypothesis.
The following five hypotheses will be tested.
- Hi: The higher the socio-economic status of the family the less the children attend to media.
H2: Television form the major medium of information dissemination of children.
- Ho: Television doe not form the major medium of information dissemination of children.
H3: Children refer to the mass media as sources of acquiring societal norms.
- Ho: Children does not refer to the mass media as sources of acquiring societal norms.
H4: The mass media are relatively more important than the traditional agents of socialization (such as the family, the teachers, friend or peer groups, etc) in the process of childhood socialization.
- Ho: The mass media are not relatively more important than the traditional agents of socialization (such as the family, the teachers, friend or peer groups, etc) in the process of childhood socialization
H5: Children use the media for reinforcement of societal norms (ie the children use the media for reinforcing learning habits and behaviour),
- Ho: Children do not use the media for reinforcement of societal norms
1.10 Limitation of Study
Like all human endeavours, this research work was not without some factors that tended to jeopardize the smooth completion of the study.
For one the period of time allowed for this work was short that the researcher did not have enough time to do a thorough job.
For another this researcher in the course of data collection, had to put in extra effort to interpreting their interview schedule of the respondents, some who fall within the in comprehensible age limit.
Above all, there were financial and transit constraints. All in al though, the project an expensive task has been a rewarding experience.
1.11 Definition of Terms
There is the need to define operation and ideas used in this study because they were used contextually.
1. Mass Media:
By mass media of communication, we refer to public television, radio and the large circulation press (newspapers)
In this study children include pupils from the two ample schools, who full within the age range of 7-13 years. These children were randomly selected from the University, primary secondary and Abegy primary school all in Enugu.
The period when one is a child ( 1-13 years old)
4. Media Use:
The habit of listening to radio, watching television and reading newspapers.
In this study the societies refer to various environment the children found themselves; their homes, school and Enugu town.
6. Societal Norms / Normative Patterns:
These refers to the values of the society which define what are felt to be proper, legitimate or expected modes of behaviour faction or of social relationship.
This study users socialization to refer to the learning process by which the child acquires the culture (norms, habits, values and skills) of his society, there by becoming an accepted member of his group
8. Agents of Socialization:
Those agencies that communicate the contents of culture to children such as the mass media the family, friend, school and the church.
9. Mediated Information:
This refers to that information received through the mass media of communication
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:
This chapter summarizes the findings into children and mass media: the role of mass media in children socialization using selected primary schools in Enugu State as case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.
5.2 Summary of the Study
In this study, our focus was to examine the role of mass media in children socialization using selected primary schools in Enugu State as case study.
The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 100 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are active students of the selected primary schools in Enugu state Nigeria.
Based on the finding of this study, the following conclusions were drawn from the responses uptained and the results of the statistical analysis made using Chi-square statistical tool SPSS v23. Below are the conclusions
- The higher the socio-economic status of the family the higer the children attend to media.
- Television form the major medium of information dissemination of children.
- Children refer to the mass media as sources of acquiring societal norms.
- The mass media are relatively more important than the traditional agents of socialization (such as the family, the teachers, friend or peer groups, etc) in the process of childhood socialization
- Children use the media for reinforcement of societal norms (ie the children use the media for reinforcing learning habits and behaviour).
Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:
- Parents should evaluate a means of regulating what their children/wards view on air or listen to.
- The media practitioners have the challenge of providing the children with healthier and educative programmes that will even enable them interact with fellow children in Enugu.
- Health and church workers in Enugu should also help and sensitize the general public especially the adults about the implications of exposing children to antisocial media content.
- Government’s help is also of necessity as they could sponsor some of the media literacy programmes.
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