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1.1 Background to the Study
Issues involving the influence of Zee-World Soap Opera on the cultural values of youths in Uyo metropolis and elsewhere in Nigeria have become a source of concern and daily discussions by many Nigerians owing to its influence on the lifestyle of many youths across the country. The popular and entertaining Soap Opera is a Radio/Television series typically broadcast in the afternoon or evening about the lives of melodramatic characters which are often filled with strong emotions, highly dramatic situations and suspense.
Obviously, the majority of female and some male folks are consumed with the urge of watching soap operas from foreign countries including Korea, India, Philippines, Brazil and so on. As a result of this, many Nigerian youths stay glued to their television sets for long periods of time watching the one hour long broadcasts. Youths, especially the unemployed ones and even housewives, are captivated by these broadcasts as many of them spend much of their day watching these programs and end up achieving nothing meaningful for the day. Some of the youths get so addicted to these operas such that it has become their way of life (John 2009).
Watching soap operas is really interesting and entertaining but it also has negative effects on the viewers. Besides, consuming precious time that the viewer or audience should have spent on more meaningful ventures, it is also capable of encouraging bad moral attitudes, especially among school children and teenagers.
For this reason, Dan (2013) argues that Zee-World Soap Operas have far more negative influence or consequences on children than advantages. Regrettably, some parents, either out of ignorance or moral permissiveness encourage their children to watch these programmes. The fact that these programmes are mainly for entertainment does not obliterate the fact that they portray violence and encourage moral depravity. Henry (2013) notes, that writers of Soap Operas develop fictional characters and through their stories and struggles, their audience learns about issues ranging from domestic abuse to personal bankruptcy.
Research on Zee-World Soap Operas in 2014 as conducted by the Association for Social Integration (ASI) in Nigeria revealed that some of the story lines of these programmes have an affront on Nigerian culture. These programmes tend to promote other cultures to the detriment of our own culture. Besides the people’s addiction to these foreign soap operas, it is killing our own movie industry, in addition to economic disadvantages on the country. Many Nigerians now have less interest and pay less attention to local movies which ordinarily have the potential of promoting African cultures and languages among Nigerian youths.
It will be recalled that before the advent of foreign soap operas, the Nigerian broadcast media use to show programmes that educate and promote local cultures. These days, however, Nigerian broadcast media have caught the bug of showing Telemundo and promoting more foreign movies than local movies.
One could argue that too much exposure to soap operas has the disadvantage of promoting drug trafficking, prostitution, murder and injustice and other vices that are associated with it. This is not good for the upbringing of the youths.
Although soap opera as a genre has an educative influence on its audience, especially in the area of home management and good understanding of relationships, its negative influence seems to outweigh its benefits. It would appear that Zee-World Soap Operas have a strategic weapon aimed to overpower the cultural values of Uyo youths and Nigerian youths in general.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Zee-World Soap Opera is one of the world entertainment channels which has been recognized across cultures and races due to its entertainment value. Thus, it has attracted numerous audiences in almost all countries of the world. The soap operas have gained momentum in recent times and have influenced the lifestyles of many Nigerians and other African youths in various ways. Its interesting programmes have become a problem as it has attracted the youths in spending an unreasonable chunk of their time in watching the programmes instead of devoting the time to more important issues. The inability of most youths in understanding the negative effect of Zee-World Soap Operas on their cultural values is another problem as most of the youths now tend to copy foreign lifestyles thus, influencing their behavioural patterns in various ways.
It is against this backdrop that this study set out to examine the influence of Zee-World Soap Operas on the cultural values of youths in Uyo metropolis, Akwa Ibom State. the study therefore process the question: What is the influence of Zee-World Soap Opera on the cultural values of youths in Uyo metropolis?
1.3 Objective of the Study
The study had the following objectives;
1. to determine the level of exposure of youths in Uyo metropolis to Zee-World Soap Opera’
2. to determine the gratifications that youths in Uyo metropolis obtain from watching Zee-World Soap Operas programmes;
3. to examine the extent to which Zee-World Soap Operas has influenced the cultural values of youths in Uyo metropolies;
4. to examine the perception of Uyo residents on the influence of Zee-World Soap Operas on the cultural values of youths in Uyo metropolis.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were posed as guide for the study:
1. What is the level of exposure of youths in Uyo metropolis to Zee-World Soap Opera?
2. What gratifications do youths in Uyo metropolis obtain from watching Zee-World Soap Opera programs?
3. To what extent have Zee-World Soap Operas influenced the cultural values of youths in Uyo metropolis?
4. What perceptions do residents of Uyo have about Zee-World Soap Operas on the cultural values of youths in Uyo metropolis?
1.5 Justification for the Study
The study should be of immense help to media researches interested in knowing how Zee-World Soap Opera has influenced the cultural values of youths in Uyo metropolis. It should also serve as research material for other researchers, scholars and students from various disciplines in knowing the influences of Zee-World Soap Operas and by extension other foreign programmes on the cultural values of youths in Uyo metropolis in particular and in Nigeria in general. This research study should useful to all the youths in Uyo metropolis as it will help them become aware of the influence which Zee-World Soap Opera has on their cultural values. It will also contribute solutions to the social challenges of youths which arise from the influence of Zee-World Soap Operas.
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
The study covered the influence of Zee-World Soap Operas on the cultural values of youths in Uyo metropolis, Akwa Ibom State, including both its positive and negative influence on Nigerian youths, its roles in the society and so on.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
This study was limited by a number of factors such as the inability of the researcher to isolate the exact extent to which the Zee-World Soap Operas independently has influenced the cultural values of youths in Uyo metropolis. The researcher is aware that youths are exposed to myriad sources of influence. It would have been splendid if all other sources of influence could be held constant but this was not possible. However, the researcher took pains to ensure that the research instrument focused carefully on Zee-World Soap Opera.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Influence: This is the capacity of Zee-World Soap Operas to have an effect on the character or behavior of someone or something or the effect itself.
Soap Opera: Is a Radio/Television series typically broadcast in the afternoon or evening about the lives of melodramatic characters which are often filled with strong emotions highly dramatic situation and suspense.
Cultural Values: These are the core principles and ideals upon which an entire community exists.
Culture: This refers to the ideas, customs and social behavior of a particular people or society.
Youths: These are human being who are at the period between childhood and adult age and who live in Uyo metropolis.
Uyo Metropolis: This is a large city in Akwa Ibom State as well as its State capital which is a significant economic, political and cultural centre of the State and an important hub for the State connections, commerce and communication.
Television: This is a system for converting visual images (with sound) into electrical signals, transmitting them and displaying them electronically on a screen.
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