The major focus of this study is to assess the influence of television violence on socio-emotional and adjustment of student of federal tertiary institution in Anambra state comprising Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Federal Polytechnic Oko and College of Education, Umunze. The study assessed what kinds of program me’s/films contain violence and how it affects the respondent and influence their lifestyle and behaviour particularly undergraduates. The respond that formed the sample size were 300 in numbers randomly selected from the three Federal tertiary institution understudy. The questionnaire was designed to measure the rate of influence of television violence as well as socio-emotional and academic adjustment of student understudy. This was done in order to determine the nature and the extent of the effect of TV violence on undergraduates. In the findings of this study, it was found that youths initiate violence they observed on TV and the effect of TV violence on them is profound.
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). Students 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 children. 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.
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 students) to act violently, after viewing violence has become an increasingly disturbing issue among many concerned groups.
The combination of sound and vision has made television exert tremendous influence in shaping the lives of students in tertiary institutions. It is informing, educating, entertaining and persuasive. As a result of this, it is a powerful force in determining the socio-emotional and academic adjustments of students. Despite the importance of television, its harmful effects cannot be overemphasized as it shapes the students’ socio-economic and academic aspects of life. Students watch violent movies/films on television screen without considering if its advantages out weight the harmful effects on their lives and the society at large (Bushman & Cantor, 2003).
Different television stations show violent and horror movies that students often like to copy and form attitude about life without weighing the hazardous effects of such violent movies on one’s behaviour. In this case, television is easily manipulated by movie makers to show movies that dominate the realm of students’ reasoning thus consciously or unconsciously impacting on their socio-emotion and academic adjustments. With its adaptability to modern technology, television is a veritable tool for integration by providing the viewers’ access to a variety of information which helps them to know and understand each other but when wrongly manipulated it influences the socio-emotional and academic adjustment of students.
The issue of learners’ adjustment at school has long been a concern of educationalists and psychologists. From the psychological point of view, adjustment is important because it plays a role in the optimal development of children. The educationists view adjustment of learners at school as determining the children’s school performance as well as their likelihood of continuing at school rather than dropping out. Reynolds, Weissberg and Kasprow (1992) write that early school adjustment determines later school adjustment and social competence in children. This implies that adjustment has a significant influence on children’s attitudes towards school and school progress. This further implies that the academic adjustment of children could lead to poor performances in school work, poor attendance to lectures and other class activities, mention but a few. This is a situation where the adjustment is a negative one.
Today students copy role models from television screens in the form of clothing, hairstyle, language and attitudes. The aftermath is that greater number of students in federal tertiary institutions in Anambra State, Federal College of Education Umunze and Federal Polytechnic Oko tend to reflect these attitudes in the form of social vices such as gansterism, cultism and examination malpractices. The content of television programmes has unlimited violence which includes robbery, shoot-outs, murder, and use of dangerous weapons.
The proliferation of violent movies, in the market tends to increase the rate of violence being carried out by students in tertiary institutions. Considering the ever increasing cases of cult clashes resulting in bloodletting and death of students countless records of rape and armed robberies by students leads to the fact that heavy exposure to televised violence influences the viewer’s social behaviour.
In recent times, researchers have repeatedly been pointing to the fact that the increase in violence especially among students in tertiary institutions is attributable to viewing televised violence. Anaekwe, (2002) argues that poor academic performance experienced among students can be attributable to over indulgence by students who spend long hours watching violence programmes on television, which at the end tilt them negatively in terms of emotional disposition.
Television is emotionally and psychologically harmful to children and youths. Television seem to be most significant in leisure activity. The National Television violence study (NTSV) conducted from 1994 to 1997, reported that watching so much violence on television causes children and young adults to think that the world is a mean and dangerous place (American Psychological Association, 2006).
Televised violence programmes influence children. Therefore, television influences teenage violence. Freedman (1983) says that when a child is confronted, he or she goes back to what they have learned from watching television. In some cases, children using what they learned from the television can be very violent, but due to the fact that we learn from doing something over and over, it is the same for watching violent situations over and over. Children learn them and react in a violent manner.