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This study investigated the influence of televised aggression and pornography on adolescents in secondary schools in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State. A sample of 120 students randomly selected from 4 senior secondary school children in public schools were used. They were made up of 60 boys and 60 girls. A well constructed instrument, a questionnaire was used to elicit responses from the subjects. Four hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance using one-way ANOVA, two-way ANOVA and independent t-test. Based on the analysis of the data, the following findings were made: There is a significant influence of violent television programmes on students’ social adjustment. Thus null hypothesis one was rejected. There is no significant effect of violent television programmes on aggressive behaviour of students, thus null hypothesis two was accepted. There is gender difference in the aggressive behaviour of student’ due to violent television programmes, thus null hypothesis three was rejected. There is significant influence of pornographic film viewing on the social adjustment of students in schools and so, null hypothesis four was rejected. From these findings, the onus is on all stakeholders especially parents and the educational sectors to give proper and adequate guidance and counselling to school children so they can invest their time on worthwhile pastimes rather than viewing programmes that could derail and frustrate their existence.




Background to the Problem

The introduction of the mass media into the everyday lives of children and the increase of televised violence have brought about rapid changes on their social orientation both in school and at home. It is not surprising that speculations about violent behaviour have been prevalent in the society since motion pictures showing violent acts were first distributed with the advent of the television in the early 1950s. Violence surrounds us not only in real life but also in our entertainment as films and movies. With improved technology, television, both in its news reports and entertainment provides a steady show of violence e.g. riots, wars, terrorism, raids, rapes, etc, which has affected all parts of our daily lives especially adolescents in our school system.

Stein and Fredrick (1999) described television as a dominating, powerful drug on the minds of children, as a conveyor of cultural values, attitudes and beliefs as it serves as an agent of socialization along side with the family, school and peer groups. Yet, television has not received much attention in terms of research as other agents of socialization especially in the developing countries such as Nigeria, hence the reason for this study.

The research on the influence of televised violence on the social orientation of adolescents in secondary schools has been a great concern in the minds of educationists since the television is a powerful tool that is capable of affecting the behaviour of the youths. The effects of television violent programme on the lives of our youths and even the adults cannot be over-emphasized. More often than not, it has a negative impact on the behaviour of the adolescents due to weird and violent programmes that are shown on television. For example, when one tunes on the television, what one sees are violent programmes like wrestling, violent movies, rituals in terms of home videos or films and other extremely vicious and horrible acts which affect the minds and behaviours of the viewers especially the youths, even the adult members of the society. These violent programmes have affected the social orientation of the adolescents so much that they have emulated what they view on television and this has caused them to be maladjusted in their general behaviour.

Many youths today have become bullies, aggressive fellows, fighters, armed robbers, heady, obstinate, corrupt and vicious as a result of what they have viewed on violent television programmes, films, internet etc. Many children have formed the habit of opening to corrupt or pornographic sites on the internet and glue themselves to these immoral pictures, taking in every inch of what they see and arousing otherwise dormant sexual instincts. This has caused many of our youths to turn to promiscuous and harlotic lives. Rapes and sexual harassment, seductive display of body parts, indecent dressing abound every where in our nation and these have affected the good norms of our society.

The nation’s television stations are not helping matters because they are in the habit of showing programmes in which people are shot, stabbed, beaten up, poisoned, rapped, robbed, harassed etc. They also show cartoons in which animals or animated characters inflict injuries on one another in many ways. Television has been criticized for showing foreign films which propagate the culture of immorality, thus brutalizing the highly impressionable minds of our children. It has been argued that local films do not have anything to offer other than showing violence, ritual killings, notorious acts and murder as rightly reported by Amata (Guardian, Saturday, December 16, 2000).

Some of the evils in our society these days are perpetrated by the adolescents who have watched one bad film or violent television programme or the other. Today, youths engage in immoral, wicked, and aggressive acts because they are constantly exposed to television programmes that affect the behaviour of the individual negatively. Children in the urban cities are the most affected because of the diverse social problems in the cities and their exposure to television viewing, internet browsing where they unhibitedly watch all kinds of pornographic films, listen to the radio and have access to different junk newspapers and obscene magazines and other aspects of the media that sway the mind and influence the psyche of the budding individual child negatively. In the rural areas, though the world is said to be a global village, these things are not readily available and rampart. No wonder, there are aggressive children these days mostly in the urban cities than in the rural areas and in the olden days when television aggressive programmes were not rampant as they are today.

Statement of the Problem

The introduction of the mass media and the incessant display of television violence have to a great extent brought rapid changes on their social orientation in school, home and society at large. It is therefore not surprising that aggressive behaviours are prevalent in the society since the motion pictures displaying violent acts were first introduced. Many youths today have become aggressive, bullies, fighters, armed robbers, heady, obstinate, showing unrestrained disrespect to parents, teachers and elders both at home and school. Many adolescents these days are corrupt, wicked and immoral as a result of what they watch and learn from corrupt television programmes, films, movies and on the internet.

Children these days watch more pornographic films on the internet than they study their books. This results in their becoming prostitutes, rapers, sexual abusers and harassers, deprived and perverted individuals. Some become rascals, radicals, weird in their dressing and appearances and maladjusted to the social norms of the larger society. It is as a result of these social vices in the society that prompted this research which aims at carrying out a study to examine the influence of televised aggression and pornography on the social adjustment of students.

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of televised aggression and pornography on the social adjustment of students.

The specific objectives of the study are as follow:

(1)  To find out whether there will be any significant effect of violent television programmes on social adjustment.

(2)  To find out whether there is a significant effect of violent television programmes on aggressive behaviour of adolescents in schools.

(3)  Whether there is a significant gender difference in the aggressive behaviour of students due to television viewing.

(4)  Whether there will be a significant influence of pornographic films on the social adjustment of adolescents in school.

Research Questions

The following research questions are raised to conduct this study:

1.  Will there by any significant effect of violent television programmes on the social adjustment of students?

2.  Will there be any significant effect of aggressive television programmes on students’ violent behaviour in society?

3.  Will there be any significant gender difference in the aggressive behaviour of students due to viewing violent television programmes?

4.  Will there be any significant influence of pornographic films on the social adjustments of adolescents in schools?   

Research Hypothesis

1.  There will be no significant effect of violent television programmes on students social adjustment.

2.  There will be no significant effect of violent television programmes on the aggressive behaviour of students.

3.  There will be no significant gender difference in the aggressive behaviour of students due to violent television programmes.

4.  There will be no significant influence of pornographic films viewing on the social adjustment of students in schools.

Significance of Study

It is unarguably clear that violent television programmes influence the behaviour of the child either directly or indirectly. This study will therefore enable children to be more focused on their academic works than watching more television programme. It will also help children to realize that all what they see on television are mostly film ticks, make-beliefs and embellishments and they ought not to imitate them.

The study will be significant to educators because the information gathered can help them to develop educational theories which could help or be useful in guiding adolescents in their social development. The study is significant to parents in that they will be able to control and monitor the type of programmes their children watch on television and the time to watch them through the recommendations of this study. Producers of television programmes will be encouraged to produce more informative and educative programmes which will help in the children’s academic performance and social adjustment.

Definition of Terms

The key words that would be defined here are Aggression, Pornography and Social Adjustment. They would be defined in the context of the study.

Aggression: Is a deliberate unprovoked attack by a person or group on another. It is an energetic activity of the mind or body, whether innate or a product of frustration, and either healthily expressed as proper self-assertion or in the use and perfecting of skills etc, or morbidly expressed in bullying, masochism, destructiveness etc or sublimated in play.

Televised Aggression: Is that which holds a reward, either direct or indirect (in the form of observation of models). These rewards are, the influencing factors in aggression. It relates to the effect of glamorized violent role-models such as those in the media, on computer games, in cyberspace and in music. The issue to be addressed is whether people, especially children can tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Research on human aggression has progressed to a point at which a unifying framework is needed. All violence is aggression, but no all aggression is violent. Intimidation for instance is a case of non-violent aggression.

Pornography: Is an obscene literature, photograph or painting intended to cause sexual excitement. Pornography from the Greek word “Porneia” means “Prostitution”. In general usage today, it refers to literature, films and so on, that are sexually arousing. Soft-core pornography refers to pornography that is suggestive rather than explicit. Hard-core pornography in contrast, is explicit in that it shows actual sexual acts and photographs of the genitals. Generally, it is the explicit representation of sexual behaviour verbal or pictorial which degrades or demeans humans especially women.

Social Adjustment: It is the adaptation of a person to his social environment. Adaptation may take place by adapting self to the environment or by changing the environment. Generally, it is a relationship which involves the accommodation of the individual to circumstances in his social environment for the satisfaction of his needs and motives. It is the ability of the individual to integrate successfully with others to perform his social functions accordingly.


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