1.1 Background of the Study
The various broadcast media, particularly the television has steadily become a part of our everyday lives, and a source of information. Television combines pictures with sound and can communicate messages which are impossible to convey as effectively by radio and or via the print media. In the television system of communication, an image of the scene is transmitted, without the viewer having any problem in recording the information. It is the transmission of information accompanied with sound. Television is seen globally as a medium of information, entertainment and education (Miles, 2000). Television is widely acknowledged as “a powerful medium of our age” its visual immediacy gives its audience a feeling of participation more than any other medium (Miles, 2000). According to Wikipedia, in 2009, 78 percent of the world’s households owned at least one television set, an increase of 5 percent in 2003. In Nigeria, television started in Ibadan in 1959, it was called Western Nigerian Television (WNTV) now Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Ibadan, the Benue Plateau Television now NTA Jos in 1974 was the first television station to transmit coloured pictures to the homes of Nigerians (NBC, 2006). In 1993, licenses were issued for the transmission of cable signals to many homes in Nigeria (NBC, 2006). Today, almost every state capital has at least one television station. In Niger State, NTA Minna was the first station to commence transmission of signals. Over the years, other stations e.g. Niger State Television (NSTV), and most recently cable networks– Multichoice Nigeria (DSTV), Star Times Digital TV, amongst others. These cable networks transmit for 24 hours in a day. The advent of cable and satellite television has boosted TV viewing in recent years (JohnssonSamaragdi, 1994).
Irrespective of the age, sex, social status, culture and background, people have different and specific motives and use for the television. Côté and Allahar (1996) argue that the manner in which the mass media is used, especially television could affect how people view the outside world and also actively prevent young people from developing a critical consciousness that will allow them prioritize larger issues of personal and social responsibility. Television could serve as a means of communication by sending information to the overall public as well as receiving comments from viewers. It could also be for education, sport and entertainment. The usage of television depends on individuals, however, adults rely on the television as a source of information and getting familiar with various things happening in the society they belong and even beyond while the adolescents are more interested in the entertainment and other fun part of television. It is widely assumed that young adolescents are affected more directly and negatively by the media than any other age group (Miles, 2000). Television entertainment programmes contain a variety of elements that are of interest to people. Such programmes include movies, music videos and reality television shows both of foreign and local origin. These entertainment programs have become such a daily fixture of people’s lives.
Although it can also be educative, entertainment television can have an enormous influence on adolescents, many critics opine that by the age of 18 an average adolescent will have spent more time watching television than any other activity besides sleep (Miles & Anderson, 1999) and this is especially true when they have unrestricted access to the television. It is found out that adolescents who spend a lot of time in front of television tend to build an identity based on the content they consume; George-Okoro (2008, p.11) opines that: One of the most important features of childhood and adolescence is the development of an identity. As children shape their behaviour and values, they may look to heroes and role models for guidance. They may identify the role models they may wish to emulate based on possession of certain skills or attributes. While the child may not want to be exactly like the person, he/she may see possibilities in that person. Consequently, though the audience might consume entertainment programmes for diverse reasons, no one is certain of their outcome in terms of their influence on the morality of secondary school adolescents. Young school adolescents’ possess a youthful exuberance and enthusiasm. The secondary school adolescents of Minna are not an exception. Their exposure to television entertainment programmes has been recently enhanced by the advent of Star Times Digital TV which transmits local and foreign channels. Some of these channels include NTA entertainment channels, MTV Base, E! and many others.
These television channels turn out programmes which are diverse in content, for the entertainment of their audience (to which the adolescents of Minna, Niger state belongs). Some of these programmes include “Keeping up with the Kardashians” on E! “Movies” on African Magic and “Super Story” on NTA. Not much attention has been paid to the actual influence of these and many other entertainment programmes that are aired on our television stations on the morality of Nigerian Adolescents especially those of Minna. The influence of such entertainment programmes forms the background of this study. Therefore, this study attempts to investigate the influence of television entertainment programmes on morality of secondary school adolescents in Minna. 1.2 Statement of the Problem With the emergence and alliance of dierent television stations and service providers presenting diverse television programmes, it cannot be overstated that the television has taken a center stage in our everyday activities. Television has seemingly become a very vital part of the society. Most of the programmes adolescents watch on the television are entertainment related. For example, music videos, movies, reality shows and so on.
The consumption of television entertainment programmes could have positive or negative influence depending on manner of use. The more secondary school adolescents in Minna get exposed to television entertainment programmes, the greater their chances of developing a world view and perception of reality similar to what the watch over time on the television. Morality is a paramount issue in most African contemporary societies including Minna, Niger state. With most adolescent students consuming more television entertainment programmes, and various research including George-Okoro (2008) suggesting its influence on development of an identity, behaviour and values on adolescents, are adolescent students of Minna morally influenced (in terms of lifestyle, attitudes, behaviour etc.) by these television programmes? In other words, this study investigates the question: To what extent can it be argued that television entertainment programmes influence the morality of secondary school adolescents in Minna?