BROADCAST MEDIA AND SOCIALIZATION OF YOUTHS IN ISOKO NORTH, DELTA STATE (MASS COMMUNICATION PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS)
1.1 Background of the study
The mass media especially the visual media (television, films, and now the new media) are widely believed to be uniquely effective because of their visual advantage which enables the retention of attention among audiences, as well as „pre-occupying‟ especially for children and adolescents, even among some adults. One cannot talk of socialization without mentioning children because primary socialization occurs in children.
Socialization is responsible for the transformation of a helpless infant, described as „a biological being‟ into a thinking, acting and talking normal human being, described as “a social being”. Childhood on the other hand is a period of information seeking when the child‟s central concern lies in defining a coherent picture of the world. “For the 20th century child, the picture is apt to be broad and complex. The mass media especially the pictorial media to which they have access very easily expose them to the world far and beyond the limits of his immediate environment”. But unlike our own society where presently, the trend has been to screen primary and secondary school children in traditional dancing costumes. However, children are actually portrayed as entertainers to television viewers. “It is worrisome that if new strategies are not adopted whereby children would be exposed to a more expanded use of the media, they might grow into tradition directed, dance-oriented and violent adults”.
Living in a media-saturated world, the media has become an integral part of everyday life and children are spending between 35-55 hours per week on the different forms of media. The mass media, most especially television have gradually become part of our daily lives and form the major sources of information, education and entertainment for the youths. Lasswell (1948) as cited in Folarin (2005:74) assigns three functions to the media: i. Surveillance of the Environment (the news function). ii. Correlation of the different parts of the Environment (the editorial function). iii. Transmission of the cultural heritage from one generation to the other (the cultural transmission function). The focus of this paper is not only on the entertainment function of the media, but the role the entertainment media especially television, plays in shaping social behaviour among teenagers in the society. Stephenson (1967) a British psychologist, as cited in Folarin (2005, p.170), divides man’s activities into work and play.
The former involving reality and production, while the latter deals with entertainment, relaxation or self-satisfaction. He further says that people use mass communication more as play than as work, more for pleasure and entertainment than for information and serious work.