INFLUENCE OF VIOLENT FILMS ON ADOLESCENT SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
1.1 Background of the study
Film is a story recorded as a set of moving pictures to be shown on the television or at the cinema. It is also a roll on shut of flexible plastic that is sensitive to light for the use of in photography. Film also known as movie or motion pictures is series of still moving image. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects. It is considered to be important for a source of popular entertainment, a power method for educating or indoctrinating people especially children.
According to Cook (2007) Films are mad up of sources of individual images called frames. When these images are show rapidly in succession, a viewer has the illusion. Film as medium of mass communication has its major role to play in the society which to educate, entertain and inform the audience.
According to Chamber Dictionary of twentieth century “film is a thin skin of mainframe coated with a very sensitive substances for taking photographs of a ribbon of celluloid prepared with such a coating for instantaneous photographs for protection by cinematography a motion pictures series.
According to Balogun (1987)”Film can be classified in Europe film, American, Chinese film, Nigerian film length feature films.
All these classification can produce violent films, comic films, entertainment film etc.
By “Violence” we mean any form of aggressiveness or use of physical force such as boxing, fighting, rape, killing, stealing, shooting and wrestling to mention but a few which are displayed on our television screen or recorded by our film industries on video tape recorder.
According to Concise Oxford Dictionary of current English, violence can be defined as unlawful exercise of physical force, intimidation. It adds that violence has to do with conduct or treatment, outrage, injury. Children are young boys or girls, sons and daughters, babies or infants who are under the influence of their parent or guardians, children can be influenced by other factors such as films or peer groups.
According to the American Academy of paediatrics (APA)  “Children are influenced by media, they learn by observing, imitating and making behaviours on their own.
It is quite depression to note that since inception of violent films, there has been increased incident of violent behaviours in children. For instance, a child after watching violent film is seen as imitating the models by using his fellow play mate for demonstration. This has led to a child injuring another in the process of imitating his ideal hero. Few movies found to be capable of injecting violence acts into children includes: House of wax, Scarface commando, pretty woman etc. these movies all displayed horrible series, rape and illicit taking hard drugs. Children learn from what they see, even if it is on big screen. Children spend a substantial amount of time in watching the television, he or she catch a glimpse of violent act which goes contrary to the ethics of the society.
In Nigeria, there are audience member of home video films who are influenced in one way or another by the subjects treated in Nigerian films which involves subjects that are detrimental to the well being Nigerian society. They portray cases of virtual killings, armed robbery, prostitution, rapes, disease, and other immoral behaviours and it is shown in such a way that viewers are confused abut whether they are right norms or not that is why Frank Aig Imoukhuede in Opubor (1995) confirms that “many Nigerians have complained of the poisonous content of films shown on the screen in Nigeria. A great number of people have criticised the nation’s television for featuring materials which contradicts r erode the quality of life and undermine the peoples value and norms, saying that what is needed as films for self projection which present the facts and figures of life in Nigeria.
Historical background of films in Nigerian experience
The first motion picture was screened in Nigeria on Monday August 12, 1903. It was shown to an exciting Nigeria audience at Glover Merumorial Halliri Lagos. As Lagos standard announced “The cinematographs exhibition which is made at the Glove Memorial Hall from Monday night and is to continue for the nights is the talk of the town”.
The film was shown by Messri’s Balboa of Barcelona, Spain under management of the Nigerian Herbert Macaulay. Although ticket buyers considered the gate fee of three shillings high, it was discovered after the first night at the film was worth the price.
The standard later suggested lowering the price so that everybody in Lagos may see for herself, by middle of September 1903, Mrs Balboa closed her exhibition in Lagos and left to continue showing in other west African countries. On her departure, an enterprising European merchant, Stanley Jones, began to show films in the same Glover Memorial Hall, Lagos. He showed his first film in November 1903. One of the most thrilling films Stanley showed was about Alake of Abeokuta, a famous Nigerian ruler.
After the independence, the film unit became a division of federal ministry of information with the main objectives of producing and exhibiting documentaries. The Nigerian rural film unit experiment was carried by the Colonial film unit propaganda section in 1952. Therefore, it is emphatically clear that the type of media content (video film) that are exposed to the adolescent will also affect their sense of reasoning and action. The film being audio visual in nature have immense role to play in moulding the behaviours of the adolescent.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Over the years, people have been joining the film making business, either because of money or they want to gain popularity. Films are veritable tools of mass communication which cut across national and cultural boundaries with wide and fast distributing network internationally.
There are two important factors that must be included in the discussion of influence of violent films on adolescent. One factor is media literacy which was addressed by Renn Hobbs. It contended that “Just because our children can use media and technology doesn’t mean they are effective at actually analysing and evaluating the message they receive.
Children need a set of skills to ask important question about what they watch, see, listen to and read about.
The second factor that can affect how children are influenced by violent film is the amount of parental involvement in suspending media exposure of children. Studies show that increasing guidance from parents at least as important as reducing media violence. Video films are the mirror through which the society is viewed as it is the most popular medium of entertainment in Nigeria which is suitable to a large audience. With the production of lot of interesting Nigerian films in both vernacular and English language, there is a great constancy with which the audience always sticks to the front of the screen. Therefore, the central problem to be investigated in this study is To what extent have violent films influenced the adolescent social behaviour? This is the question this study is out to address.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1 To find out the level of exposure of adolescent in Osisatech Boys’ Secondary School to violent films
1 To find out what type of violent films adolescent in Osisatech Boys’ Secondary School prefer.
2 To find out the influence of their preferred violent films on their social behaviour
1.4 Research Questions
2 What is the level of exposure of adolescent in Osisatech Boys’ Secondary School to violent film?
3 What type of violent films do adolescent in Osisatech Boys’ Secondary School prefer?
4 How have their preferred violent films influenced their social behaviour?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
H1 Violent films influence the character formation of the adolescent
H0 Violent films do not influence the character formation of the adolescent
1.6 Scope of the study
This study is limited to adolescents of Osisatech Boys’ Secondary School Enugu but since the characteristics of adolescents are generally similar in many ways, the findings of the study therefore would be generalised to include all youths.
1.7 Significance of the study
Home video films offer children a great deal of what they want to see and hear, their appeal to curiosity and their convincing realism is very powerful.
Therefore the importance of the study is as follows:
1. The study will help instruct parents or guidance to be mindful of the type of films their children watch.
2. The study will be very useful in identifying the extent to which films flooding the market despoil the fabrics of Nigerian culture.
3. The study will also keep government alert to the need to censor the different types of films that are produced.
4. It will help instruct producers to be conscious of the negative influences on younger generations and offer solution to better ways of presentation of the cultural content of Nigerian film.
5. It would become a reference material to students and other researchers who would intend to carry out studies, related to the present study.
1.8 Operational definition of terms
Influence: This is the character a person portrays as a result of what he or she watches from violent films.
Violence: It is the action of adolescent as a reason of exposure to violent films, which causes damage to their life.
Films: It is played and viewed by people with the aid of a television set which is connected to video machines such films include documentary films, horror films etc.
Adolescent: They are the audience member used or the study who receive the message transmitted.
Social behaviour: It is the behaviour directed towards adolescents of Osisatech Boys Secondary School Enugu.
Attitude: The reactions, habit and practice of the adolescent to violent films.