The Influence of Television Educational and Entertainment Programmes on Viewers

The Influence of Television Educational and Entertainment Programmes on Viewers in Selected Secondary Schools in Uyo Metropolis

Television is an audio-visual medium that is, it has the ability to combine sight, sound and motion, it is one of the youngest medium of communication though television is most counted for its potentials and competence in educating learners.

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As a medium with strong impact for change, television can be very useful in stimulating learning and entertainment. Children learn faster from television and when compared with other media, television is received so effortlessly. Children acquire their basic values and shape their lives from what they see and imbibe from television programmes. Being a very valuable entertaining and teaching tools therefore, television programmes to a greater extent have affected and played significant role in the learners.

2.1    RESPONSIBILITIES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE NIGERIAN TELEVISION   

“According to Mboho (1986:102), Television in Nigeria is expected to aim at presenting the types of programmes that create awareness, especially in Children and promote expression and mastery of information and skills”.

He went further to say that, “Television can effectively be used to stimulate indigenous culture in the form of drama, music, songs, folk tales and dance. It can also be used as instrument for education and public enlightenment.

Television in Nigeria has a variety programmes categories like musical, drama, light entertainment, quizzes and games, pep show, educational programmes like ward 45, your Health, talking point, spotlight, careers, integrated science, mathematics, learning English etc. Each of the programmes type has its own specific objectives which helps to sum up the objective of television – to inform, to educate and to entertain. The purpose of programmes objectives is dual, firstly, it facilitate the monitoring of programmes on the basic of a recognized from of reference. Secondly, it serve to focus the producers mind on the purpose of programme he is making. Children get their basic values and languages from seeing and hearing what adults do and say to them and around them. They acquired competence and self confidence from them, not only with interest people but also with concrete materials such as toys, paper, blocks and natural objects in their environment. Television therefore plays an important role in the lives of children, they spend much time with the television and so learn much from the medium. That sums up the reason for the Federal Government and the director of the Nigerian television stations why they took pains of spelling out reasonable, educating programmes for children. One of such programmes is the educational-TV programmes and the aim is to do the following as stated in Nigerian television handbook (1981) – to help inform and enlighten the citizens. To help discover and encourage building of talents. To stimulate people imagination and curiosity for the acquisition of knowledge. To broaden the children’s outlook on life, to create awareness in craft and teach how to make them. To develop the spirit discipline, perseverance and selfs/service. To inculcate religious and moral values. To encourage good citizenship by making people aware of their rights and duties. And to mirror the society.

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To complement and supplement classroom education

To broaden and deeper knowledge

To promote arts and science and technology

To encourage intellectual development and

To provide tutorials on curricular subjects.

 

2.2    REVIEW OF LITERATURE

          Television presents the child with attitudes and values which may run counter to those of his family and peers. It also presents him with doses of information in very great quantities. Due to this, vast studies to mediated messages have dominated mass communication research.

How much influence has the media on the child?

Ner Littner (1969:42) says, the media can reinforce the efforts of the family and school or weaken and dilute them in the socialization process. He adds that, children can learn directly from the media, which also communicate to parents and pears standards of behaviours they can transmit.

Siberman in Ibe-Bassey et al (1988) also support Schramm by saying that student probably learn more about certain subjects from television than their schools.

Akpan (1987:125) sees “Television as a very powerful visual aid in teaching/learning process. With television according to him, the learner can see demonstrations at close quarters”. Children absorb fast and practice what they see on the screen. Television, thus, offer certain visual and illustrative advantage. Its screen has the capacity to control, direct and pass on knowledge; thus the occurrence of learning. It is observed that many children spend most of their time watching television. They get so attached to it that they do not seem to recognize any other media.  This is because, television programmes helped in their development and growth or may be they just get attracted to these programmes because of their visual impact.

Becker (1964) says, the screen can become miraculous blackboard to the isolated, it opens a window on the world; to the new nation seeking identity, it becomes a mirror of its new reality.

According to George Comstock (1974:11) observation of a behaviour can alter the viewer’s inclination to behave in the same way. He claims that television teaches that the world is a little different from the viewer’s thought and provides a model which the viewers can emulate. He gives an example of this which was based on the research work of Ponlos and Davidson (1971).

The subjects were children between the ages of four and eight whose parents reported that they were afraid of the dentist. They were divided into two groups. One group sees a film about an eight year old boy, this group includes the four year old girl and a dentist’s chair. The boy climbs without fear into the chair while the girl who is visibly frightened watches. As the film progresses, the girl loses her fear. At the end of the film, the girl climbs voluntarily into the chair. The group that saw the film increased in its willingness to visit the dentist, while the group that saw no film did not.

Comstock, (1974) also states that, “we are surrounded by the media from birth to death, and we encounter many messages that we do not seek”. He also believes that we sometimes respond in ways that we would not have expected and that we make unconscious responses which we would not readily trace to the exposure of the media. This, he explains, is an in separable part of modern life and he calls it involuntary modification of behaviour.

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The individual’s reaction to the media Dennis Mc Quail (1969:32) says that, “it is unplanned or unpredictable consequences of exposure to media stimulus. He explains what he noticed mainly, like an imitation of learning, especially of aggressive or deviant acts and also of pro-social ideas and behaviour. Other types to effect mentioned by him include, the displacement of other activities, the identification with heroes or stars, sexual arousal, reactions of fear and anxiety intensity of exposure to television’s portrayals of an act increases the tendency for increased level of performance. the present adoption of pop dance by Nigerian Youths is an example. Most children begun to watch television long before they come to understand the conventions which govern it and indeed, long before “good and bad” have every thing but the simplest meaning for them. Their ability to distinguish between reality and fiction takes time to develop at different rates.

The level of violence for example, permissible in some adult plays would be inadmissible in plays for children. In respect, it is important that characters which children are likely to admire should behave well and not for instance resort to violence as a means of resolving differences capable of other solutions.

 

  • TELEVISION AND VIOLENCE

Television popularity raises important questions about its social effect on children. Scholars were more concerned on the effects of television violence and aggression on social behaviour of the children. According to Ekong, (1986:21) in her study, television and youths.

These critics draw justification from the fact that the screen in an obtrusive and persuasive instrument which not only influences the inner working of men exposed to its but also provide them with models upon which they fashion their lives after.

Many criticisms have been leveled against the entertainment films shown in Africa today. Some television programmes create attitude and furnish techniques conclusive to delinquent and criminal behaviours. For instances, Skornia (1965) reports that in March 1964, Michael Lee Gambull, a nineteen year old American marine on leave, reported that after watching a horror movie on television something came over him which caused him to kill his father, mother and sister with a hatchet.

Mer littner (1969) said that, if children watch a steady fare of violent materials on television many hours a day from early childhood through adolescence, there is always the tendency of their causing violence in the society. This is because, he claimed, children learn from everything they see, parents, fellow children, schools and media. He said that it would be extra ordinary if they did not initiate and learn from what they see on television.

Littner believes that the influence of repeated exposure to excessive violence depends on at least three factors; and these are: the age of the viewer, the maturity of the viewer and the way in which the violence is presented and packaged.

A lot of television entertainment programmes that children enjoy watching are full of violence for instance, wrestling, war films, Chinese films and cowboy films and other films and drama about fighting, killing and looting. These films help increasing wild ideas in the minds of the viewers. This violence have gone a long way to affect the process of moral formation on the part of our young stars.

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2.4    THEORIES ON TELEVISION AND VIOLENCE

          Ner Littner a psychiatrist says that an appropriate display of violence tends to presents the world as it really is, therefore when it is shown, in appropriate amounts it can be of educational value. He believes violence can be of educational value. He believes violence can be of mental health value, if appropriately done for example, a boxing match. This he says helps discharge indirectly various violent feelings of viewers. This tend to keep the viewer’s violent feeling from boiling over in more dangerous ways. Therefore, in appropriate amount, it can provide a safe catharsis.

On the other hand, he gave a couple a points on the negative effects of viewing television. These include:

  1. The child who has not settled his typical behaviour pattern for functioning, if exposed to a repetitive display of violence as a television approved method for solving problems might be encouraged in that direction.
  2. The violent viewer may use the details of the television programme as a way of expressing his violence. Television does not cause juvenile delinquency, but it can contribute techniques for a child already delinquent.
  • If excessive doses of violence are presented on television, it may have it being used for catharsis.

There are other relevant theories that are needed in this study, like the reinforcement theory, catharsis, aggressive cues and observational learning theories.

The basic prediction made by catharsis theory is that exposure to violent television programmes content decreases the possibility of violent behaviour by television viewers.

Littner discusses the effect of television violence and aggression on youths in the aggressive cues theory, he notes that the heavy dosages of violence on television, although not a major determinant of anti-social behaviour, heightens the probability that some one in the audience will behave aggressively in a later situation.

The reinforcement theory by Joseph Klapper states that television violence usually does produces significant increase or decrease in the probability of audience aggression, he advances cultural norms, and values, social roles and personality characteristics as the determinants of violent behaviours.

The observational learning theory of Bandura and Wallers stipulates that people can learn aggressive behaviour by observing aggression in television programmes and certain conditions, model their behaviour after aggressive television characters.

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