Mass Media Influence On Urban Youths; With Focus On Ughelli South Local Government

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

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

1.1 Background to the Study

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 mediadominated 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.

The mass media explosion that began in the 1950s has dramatically changed the environment in which young people are raised. Electronic media provide the young ones with a variety of new learning opportunities and broaden the range of events the young people experience. Young people are nowadays easily influenced by their environment. Whether it is television, friends, family members, or just plain strangers, everyone and everything has an impact on teenagers (Anderson, Gentile, Warburton, Saleem, Groves, and Brown, 2015).

Mass media refers to those media that are designed to be consumed by large audiences through the agencies of technology. These technologies include the Internet, television, newspapers, film and radio, which are used for mass communication. Mass media also include the organizations which control these technologies.

According to Opubor in Fred and Godwin (2008, p.14), “the mass media are social institutions generating standardized messages to a large, dispersed and heterogeneous audience which are not necessarily known to the source”.Ekeanyanwu, in Fred and Godwin (2008, p.145) refers to the mass media as various channels of mass communication to include books, newsletters, internet journals etc.

Macbride et al, as quoted by Nwanne (2012, p.62) describe what the mass media do in these words….. the advent of mass media and their presence in our daily life has been one of the major features of our contemporary world”. Following the same approach, Imhonopi and Urim (2004, p.22) explain the role of the mass media. According to them “…. the mass media in any society play a major role in the promotion and sustenance of the norms and values of that society”.

One of the functions of the mass media as identified by Laswell (1948) in Sambe (1994) is preservation of cultural heritage from one generation to another. Based on that role, the mass media can be described as a preservative institution for all aspects of culture, whether material or non-material.

There are reasons to expect that environmental context affects television watching of children independent of other individual demographic characteristics. Rural localities, for example, do not offer as great an array of cultural and leisure time activities for children as larger towns and suburbs (Schneller, 1988). Thus, the relative absence of alternative leisure activities in rural areas is likely to lead rural students to devote more time to television watching than their larger town and suburban counterparts. By the same token, other environmental factors, such as differences in subculture norms, also can dramatically influence the pattern of television viewing.

The mass media influence on people’s lives is deeper with diverse consequences. The full-range of unfiltered information is now available to most of us by using a parabola and satellite transmission. One can buy many kinds of video freely; access them easily at a low cost and everywhere. With the internet one can have access to numerous and multiple sources of information. Ralph, E. Hanson (1995:24) Quoting Joshua, 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 numerable ways. One of its effects is that it has encouraged violence among youth 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 blame on any other cause. Some people believe that the mass media are efficient in influencing the lifestyle of 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 evaluate the influence of the mass media on the lifestyle of youths, using 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 main objective of this study is to examine the Mass Media Influence On Urban Youths; With Focus On Ughelli South Local Government.

The objectives of this study are as follows;

  1. To ascertain whether youths have access to the mass media
  2. To evaluate the influence of the mass media on the lifestyle of youths in Ughelli South Local Government Delta State.
  3. To find out the impact of the mass media on the educational standard of youths in Ughelli South Local Government.
  4. To ascertain whether there’s a relationship between mass media and increase in social vices in the lifestyle of youths.

1.4 Research Questions

This study will be guided by the following research questions

  1. Do youths in Ughelli South Local Government have access to the mass media?
  2. Does the mass media have any influence in the lifestyle of youths in Ughelli South Local Government Delta?
  3. What is the impact of the mass media on the educational standard of youths in Ughelli South Local Government.?
  4. Is there any relationship between mass media and increase in social vices in the lifestyle of youths?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is aimed to be helpful in the following ways

It is expected to help the government, religious leaders, educationist and also policy maker to know the extent at which the mass media can bring about drastic change in the lifestyle of urban youths and how the media can serve as a tool for cultural importation.

The conduct 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 urban youth violent behavior.

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.

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


1.6 Scope of the Study

The study would be directed at the general public of Ughelli South Local Government metropolis, who can be classified as a consumer of any advertised product on television.


1.7 Limitations of the Study

According to Picard (2001: 66), the primary reason for the absence of research in this area (media influence on life style of youths) is the lack of adequate data.

This study was again limited by insufficient material gathered in relation to this topic, insufficient time to properly prosecute this topic – the researcher has to share his time to do other academic activities while carrying out this research, and finally finance was not readily available to do all the necessary things as it pertain to this research work.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Mass Media:

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

Youths:

The period of your life when you are young, or the state of being young 18 – 31 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.

Lifestyle:

A lifestyle typically reflects an individual’s attitudes, way of life, values, or world view. Therefore, a lifestyle is a means of forging a sense of self and to create cultural symbols that resonate with personal identity.

Influence:

The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.


1.9 Organizations of the study

The chapter one consist of the introductory part of the study which includes the study background, the statement of the research problem, the study objective and scope of the study.

The second chapter is a critical review of other literatures relevant to the study and its objectives including the theoretical framework for the study. While the third chapter is methods of data collection, sampling and data analysis used in conducting the study. The fourth chapter centres around the research findings including an analysis of how it relates to previous findings. The fifth chapter consists of the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations base on the study objectives.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The main of the study is to examine the mass media influence on urban youths; with focus on ughelli south local government in Delta State as case study. The study ascertained whether youths have access to the mass media. It evaluated the mass media influence on urban youths; with focus on ughelli south local government Delta State. It find out the impact of the mass media on the educational standard of youths in Ughelli South Local Government. It ascertained whether there’s a relationship between mass media and increase in social vices in the lifestyle of youths.

Survey research design was employed for the study and with the convenience sampling the method, 80 participant was enrolled for the study of which 77 was validated for the study. The project employed the use of questionnaire to sources of data which is administered to the youth in Ughelli South Local Government metropolis as well as personnel interview and observation while the collected data was analyzed using frequencies and tables.


5.2 Conclusion

Mass media network in today’s life is one of the platforms of information dissemination and communication convenience to shape, reinforce and maintain social ties from the whole world. However, mass media is also able to contribute negative impacts to some Youth especially for high school students through attitude and behavior changes. Transformation in the 21st century education system is holistic that emphasizes the mastery of computer usage, and the internet is very encouraging. However, these facilities are being misused by some Youth to accessing websites that are not suited to the scope of learning and teaching. Mass media should be a source of reference to the society, especially the adolescents. In fact, unknowingly, the influence of mass media entertainment is enjoyed by the community as opposed to the scope of learning and education available. Some of the available displays show that are contrary to eastern and Islamic values. Sexually element are also easily found through the mass media and pornographic materials on the website. Because of the influence, it creates an unethical and destructive Youth.
Findings from the study hence revealed that mass media have had a significant influence on the life style of youth in Ughelli South Local Government metropolis in Delta State.


5.3 Recommendation

From the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made:

  1. That the 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 decadence in the society if not properly managed and the educators, parents, community leaders, elites should also by this means help the youths confront the undignified and distorted images so prevalent in today media.
  2. Media managers and practitioners should also act as gate-keepers whom should develop media content/messages based on our culture and locally accepted norms.
  3. Government should regulate the age at which certain young people are allowed to use the social media. This suggestion stems from the point that the youths admitted that they use the social media platforms to date. Sequel to this, government has to liaise with social media network providers to create an age barrier restricting Nigerian minors from using the social media until they attain a ripe age of reasoning as provided by the constitution of the country and her other relevant laws. This shall be instrumental toward forestalling pregnancy out of wedlock which is capable of truncating many a youth’s education and future in a country like Nigeria.

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