THE EFFECT OF MEDIA ON THE MORALITY OF THE KENYAN YOUTH

THE EFFECT OF MEDIA ON THE MORALITY OF THE KENYAN YOUTH

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ABSTRACT.

Almost everyone watches or listens to various forms of media every day, whether this comes in the form of television, radio, print, or movies. Not only is mostly everyone exposed to media, but also the typical Kenyan spends at least several hours a day in exposure to some kind of media. All this time Kenyans spend watching or listening to media raises the question: “If someone spends hours each day watching television or watching some other sort of media, is this going to have some sort of effect? Is it going to influence his decision making or change his opinion”

The media plays an integral part in influencing peoples behavior. Celebrities and media personalities tend to influence how their fans dress, walk, eat and talk.

This study aims at establishing how media has affected the morals of the Kenyan populace. It has put different age groups into consideration and gender.

INTRODUCTION.

The fabric that holds a community together is the morality of its people. However this has been threatened by the advent of media forms in all parts of the country.

In this advanced technology era, social media is fast becoming a prominent part of everyone's life especially young adults. Many of these individuals spend vast amounts of time on various platforms which exposes them to various vices. And


although social media also has some positive impacts, studies have found that exposure to social sites is largely responsible for moral decay among these individuals. This decay primarily emerges from influences from western culture that the young people absorb via the different social media platforms. As a result, many of them are now involved in diverse immoral activities blindly aped from the various sites. It is important that we forge ways of bringing back moral values in our life. Young generations ought to be taught to reinforce good morals in their lives and seek ways to keep away from being influenced by what is portrayed on some social media sites. (https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/lifestyle/article/2000194280/social-media-and-moral-decay).

The connection between media and morality is almost taken for granted: Plato, for example, banished all storytellers from his imaginary Republic except those whose tales were “in accordance with the patterns we laid down when we first undertook the education of our soldiers” because listeners or viewers would, he thought, admire and imitate characters’ bad behavior. Later thinkers like Rodger Silverstone, have, for the most part, agreed with Plato, as the moral panics that have greeted new media over the centuries, from novels to comic books to video games, can attest; as well as ongoing concern about the possible negative moral effects of media, there’s also a long tradition of works created specifically to teach the morals we consider to be desirable. But while there’s been a lot of research done on how media exposure affects specific behaviors, relatively little has focused on how it influences our judgment of right and wrong. And that’s what this study will focus on.


BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY.

In Africa, morals are highly regarded as the background of every society. During the old times, anything out of the ordinary expectations was frowned upon and the offenders punished through either banishment, public stoning, etc. Among the Kikuyus, thieves were burned alive and rolled down hills. Adulterers were punished through heavy fines and banished. This practice was through all communities in Kenya though. However, the advent of the 19th century changed all that through the introduction of the various forms of media. E.g. Television, Radio, News papers, Internet. This was because it exposed the African community to the western world where morals were not as highly regarded. The youth started copying what the saw and what they thought was civilization. They started going to clubs, ladies started wearing clothes that barely covered their bodies, different drugs were introduced, and sexual immorality was on the rise. This trend has been going on since then with total abdication of our morals where even the practices we used to hold dear no longer are as important as the used to be. Eg. marriage and dowry payment. On the positive side, the media has shaped the society in the direction the world is headed to. The public can now make their decisions base on what information that is availed to them through the various forms of media. People now know what to expect from the government and can old the government accountable. Also, some traditional practices like early marriages have now almost come to an end. Women are now held in high regard as men contrary to the old times where they were only good in bed and in


kitchen.

PROBLEM STATEMENT.

Its public knowledge that morality has changed in ways that we cant imagine. Nowadays, the morals of a certain generation are always lesser than the morals of its previous generation. What our parents considered as morals are no longer in our list of moral values. In the 1950s, in a check list of expected moral values, fame was not even close to top ten but nowadays, it is a top moral. This is whereby, our most important thing is our social media presence. Amongst teens and young adults, the number of follower in social media and the likes on gets in a post is equal to their self esteem and feeling of self importance(Allison Graham, TedX SMU speaker)

When we talk about effect of media on morality, we cant miss to talk about social media as a leading cause of change. According to Jackson Katz, Tough Guise filmmaker and educator, people learn more from social media than any other source of information nowadays. Therefore, if you want to understand whats going on, you have to establish a social media presence.

Texting while driving is a leading cause of accidents among young people nowadays. Higher accident rates than drunk driving. Our vocabularies have changed. Words like OMG, WTF, LOL are in popular use in popular media and this has led to loss of formal vocabularies(Allison Graham, Ted X SMU speaker). This has led to a change in communication styles since the young don’t know how to address adults since to them, everybody is equal.


Consumption of social media is a leading cause of gender perceptions. Traditionally, women were held in high regard but nowadays, they are seen as objects. Almost every other form of media has objectified women whereby the way they look determines their worth and value, not the way they think or their brain capacity. Boys have also grown to view women as such(Jean Kilbourne, Author and Scholar, Wellesley Center for Women).

Our socialization skills are determined by how many followers and friends we have online. When a friend misses an event about our lives and we confront them, wow unto them if they say they never knew about it and we posted it on face book. Its as if posting it on face book guarantees that everybody will see it.

There has been so many studies on the effect of media on morals but none has exclusively exploited the negative effects of media on the morals of a society. Thats where this research comes in to fill that gap.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY.

Media is one aspect of our lives which we cant ignore its influence. The advent of media has affected the Kenyan lives in so many ways. Politically(mwiguithania newspaper during post colonial times), economically(the business daily newspaper), and morally. The purpose of this study is to fully exploit the effects of popular media on the moral values of the Kenyan youth. Morality is simply defined as the distinction between right and wrong. By the end of this study, the topic of effects of


media on the morality of the Kenyan youth will be fully understood and remedies discussed.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS.

Creswell (2009) explained that research questions are interrogative statements or

questions that the investigator seeks to answer. They are a means of guiding and

directing the researcher’s thinking (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010). The research questions

for this study were as follows:

Research Questions.

Gender __________

Age bracket  15-20                    20-25                     25-30

What media do you prefer?  RADIO        TV           MUSIC      MOVIES                                                                                                  INTERNET

does the media you use affect your personal life?(dress code, relationship, walking


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