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The study investigated the influence of televised violence on undergraduate youths in Alimosho L. G. A. youths, Uturu, Abia State Nigeria. To facilitate this study, 392 undergraduates were randomly selected and three specific objectives and three null hypotheses were postulated. The objectives were to investigate whether heavy television viewers are more influenced by televised violence than moderate or light viewers; to find out if age and gender influence the extent of the effect that televised violence has on the youths; and to determine the influence of televised violence on Alimosho L. G. A. youths youths. Data were collected using televised violence scale (TVS) and analyzed using descriptive statistics, while the Chi-square analysis was used to test the hypotheses postulated for the study. This study revealed that there is a preference of youths in Alimosho LGA towards violent television programmes; there is a significant influence of violent television programmes on the behavior of youths in Alimosho LGA; there is no influence between the effect of violent television on the emotions of youths in Alimosho local government and there is a significant relationship between violent television programmes and moral decadence among youths in Alimosho LGA.. It was recommended among others that regular enlightenment programmes and seminars should be organized by the school authority to educate and enlighten the youths on the dangers of exposure to televised violence. Also, television producers should be more creative in showing the perpetrators of violent acts being punished rather than justifying violent acts. Lastly, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) should ensure that they thoroughly monitor television content and reduce violent portrayals.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The overwhelming influence of television on the lives of people since its invention has over the years become not only un-debatable, but equally stunning. Television according to Onwuegbu, (2001) is an electronic cum audio-visual device through which viewers watch recorded and live programmes on air. The influence of television on the lives of people stems not only from the three roles it plays – as a medium of information, education and entertainment. Also many groups have taken solace in television and its programmes as means of relaxation, recreation, withdrawal, goal setting and socialization. Teaching and learning in schools have strong social, emotional, and academic components (Zins, Weissberg, Wang, & Walberg, 2004). Youths typically do not learn alone but rather in collaboration with their teachers, in the company of their peers, and with the encouragement of their families using several gadgets and television in particular. Sometimes, violent programmes are shown on the television.
Violence on society has been widely studied and vigorously debated. Based on the cumulative evidence of studies conducted over several decades, the scientific and public health communities overwhelmingly conclude that viewing violence poses a harmful risk to youths. Critics of the research challenge this conclusion and dispute claims that exposure to TV violence leads to real-life aggression. As we move into the digital era with enhanced images and sound, media violence will undoubtedly continue to be a focus of public concern and scientific research.
Media is entrenched in the lives of the generality of people that no day will pass without one accessing or interacting with one form of media or another. Media is not only for entertainment, but it used for information, education and enlightenment. Despite the numerous advantages that media has the depiction of violence has become a thing of serious concern to all and sundry. Media violence has become a contemporary and global issue which constitutes serious hardzard not only to the adolescents but to the entire populace. Over the years there has been growing concern over the effect of increase violence in the media (Paik &Comstock, 1994; Anderson &Bushman 2001; Huesmann; Eron&Dubow,2003). There are different media medium, like the radio, television, videos, movies, video game, Computer network and so on. These are having tremendous impact on the lives, beliefs, values and general outlook of human beings. Exposure to media violence could have far reaching effect not only on the youths but also the adolescents, they are affected psychologically and physiologically. Adolescents that are prone to watching violent media programmes are often desensitized to violence thus they see it as a way of resolving conflict. According to Hogan (2005), continuous exposure to media violence can result in an increase acceptance of violence as an appropriate means of solving problems and achieving one’s goal. While television movies and music videos normalize carrying and using of weapons, it also glamorizes them as sources of personal power (Federman, 1998). Media seems to have greater medium of shaping young people’s attitudes and actions than do parents’ or teachers’ replacing them as educators, role models and primary sources of information about the world and how one behaves in it (Strasburger, 2006). Popular actors and actresses in current soap operas are often models and mentors for the adolescents. They tend to copy their hairdo, clothing styles, swaggers and even the way they speak and conduct themselves. Some even go to the extreme of copying their negative and contrary behaviour like sagging of the trousers and taking of hard drugs.
It has been observed that prolong exposure to media violence can have serious health implication such as anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, nightmares, social isolation and post-traumatic stress. (Anderson, Berkowitz, Donnerstein, Huesmann, Johnson, Linz, Malamuth & Wartella (2003) have associated exposure to media violence with a variety of physical and mental health problems for both youths and adolescents. These problems includes aggressive, violent behaviour, bullying, desensitization to violence, fear depression, nightmares and sleep disturbance Huesmann, Moise-Titus, Pudolski and Eron (2003) also found that there is consistent and significant association between media exposure and increase in aggression and violence among Americans, and other cross cultural studies, field experiments, laboratory experiments, cross-sectional studies and longitudinal studies among youths, adolescents and young adults. There is an increase concern on the negative effect of media violence among adolescents. It is believe that exposure to violence on television and in video games may increase the risk of violent behavior on the viewers’ part just like some that grow up in an environment filled with real violence increase the risk of violent behaviour. Huesmann, Eron and Dubow (2003) were of the opinion that a significant proportion of aggressive youths are likely to grow to be aggressive adult. They also argued that seriously violent adolescents and adult were often highly aggressive and even violent as youths. Huesmann at.al (2003) further noted that the best single predictor of violent behaviour in older adolescents, young adults and even middle aged adults is the occurrence of aggressive behaviour in childhood. Therefore, it is noted that exposure to media violence which could promote aggressive behaviour in young youths may contribute to increasing aggressive and eventual violent behaviour many years later. Therefore, this study focuses on violent television programmes and its effect on Nigerian youths, a case study of Alimosho local government.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Different television stations show violent and horror movies that youths often like to copy and form attitude about life without weighing the hazardous effects of such violent movies on one’s behavior.
In recent times, it appears the rate at which violence is aired on television is increasing. Osuji (2009) defined violence as an act accompanied by attack or force inflicting injury or pains on another person. Enyi (2003) has also defined violence as the act of showing in motion pictures and movies the acts accompanied with attacks and injuries. Moreso, violence on the streets as well as the tendency of youths (including youths) to act violently, after viewing violence has become an increasingly disturbing issue among many concerned groups.
Violence in television unlike other agents are usually presented in an interesting and entertaining manner such that it is easier to imitate and copy by youths and youths. That is why Huesmann Rowell (2008:15) in his contribution emphasized that not every child who watches a lot of violence on television or play a lot of violent games will grow up to be violent. But just as every cigarette increases the chance that someday a smoker will get lung cancer, every exposure to violence increases the chance that someday a child will behave more violently than he otherwise would. Earlier in 1959, the New York Department of Mental Health Hygiene researchers evaluated both television violence viewing and aggressive behaviour of 184 third grade boys. In a follow up study of the same group ten years later, they discovered an astonishing long term effect. Dr. Monroe Lefkowitz, the senior researcher of the team, concluded that regardless of whether the individual’s behaviour at age eight was combative or aggressive, if he watched high levels of television violence, he was likely to rank high in aggression ten years later. These problems make it glaring that there is a need to carry out a study on violent television programmes and its effect on Nigerian youths, a case study of Alimosho local government.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine violent television programmes and its effect on Nigerian youths, a case study of Alimosho local government. The specific objectives of the study are:
1. To find out the preference of youths in Alimosho LGA towards violent television programmes.
2. To ascertain the influence of violent television programmes on the behavior of youths in Alimosho LGA.
3. To examine the impact of violent television programmes on the perception of youth on criminal acts.
4. To investigate the effect of violent television on the emotions of youths in Alimosho local government.
5. To know if there is a relationship between violent television programmes and moral decadence among youths in Alimosho LGA.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
1. Youths: It will help youths to be cautious about the amount of violent contents they watch regularly.
2. Youths: It will help to give youths a stepping stone to do further research on the subject matter thus, serving as an addition to existing literature on the subject matter.
3. Broadcasters: It will also help broadcasters to make conscious efforts at reducing violence portrayal on television programmes and be cautious of the context in which violence is depicted on screen.
4. Society: It will help the society to take measures on addressing the increasing rate of violence in youths.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The relevant research questions related to the study include the following:
1. What is the preference of youths in Alimosho LGA towards violent television programmes?
2. What is the influence of violent television programmes on the behavior of youths in Alimosho LGA?
3. What is the impact of violent television programmes on the perception of youth on criminal acts?
4. What is the effect of violent television on the emotions of youths in Alimosho local government?
5. What is the relationship between violent television programmes and moral decadence among youths in Alimosho LGA?
1.6 HYPOTHESES OF THE STUDY
For the purpose of this study, the following null hypotheses were tested.
1. There is no preference of youths in Alimosho LGA towards violent television programmes.
2. There is no significant influence of violent television programmes on the behavior of youths in Alimosho LGA.
3. There is no influence between the effect of violent television on the emotions of youths in Alimosho local government.
4. There is no significant relationship between violent television programmes and moral decadence among youths in Alimosho LGA.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
There is no study undertaken by a researcher that is perfect. The imperfection of any research is always due to some factors negatively affecting a researcher in the course of carrying out research. Therefore, time constraint has shown no mercy to the research. The limited time has to be shared among many alternative uses, which includes reading, attending lectures and writing of this research, also distance and its attendant costs of travelling to obtain information which may enhance the writing of this study was a major limitation.
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