TELEVISION AND CHILDREN SOCIALIZATION: A STUDY OF PUPILS OF SELECT PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN EKET URBAN
1.1 Background to the Study
Communication has all through the ages been an inescapable part of the existence of human beings as social animals. In fact, so indispensable is communication to human existence that it is no exaggeration to say that the latter cannot exist without the former.
However, groups, institutions, organization and nations exist by virtue of communication and cease to exist once communication is totally interfered with. Communication is the “livewire” of any society and the world at large. It stipulates the paramount factor of unification due to the fact that a society that lacks communication is a dead one.
Indeed, communication is like a support of social intercourse and the mirror through which society sees itself. Cooley in Daramola (2003, p.1), observes that, communication is the mechanism through which human relationship exists and develops. It is through effective communication that every part of society is accessed and social and institutional changes is affected. Furthermore, the mass media of communication, over the years, have been crucial in the sharing of veritable information to members of the public, whether young or old at the same time. Little wonder why Omego and Nwachukwu (2012, p. 81), note that, the mass media have been considered veritable channels through which information is disseminated to a large, heterogeneous, varied and scattered audiences at the same time, using technological devices.
The media, no doubt, collectively act to influence the day-to-day activities of members of the public. The media do not just provide us with explanations of events that occur in the environment, they do not simply and naturally provide information but also actively provide information that influence our day-to-day doings and activities or things that are happening, about to happen or that have already happened. The mass media performs the watchdog function in society.
Television, being a stratum of the mass media, has been one of the instrumental media of information dissemination. Unlike other forms of mass media, television has become one of the most powerful media of mass communication (Hasan 2010, p. 112).
With a modest beginning in the 1930s, television has grown into a massive network of mass information and mass entertainment in today’s world. The attraction of the ‘visualizes’ of the medium makes people remain glued to the television set for hours. Television captures our imagination and is the most incomplete and dramatic of all mass media. In addition to providing news and events, television, according to Hasan (2010, p. 112), also “packages, fiction, drama, culture, economy and many other things”.
Throughout history, familiar characters have appealed to children from an early age. The expansion of children’s media in recent years through sources such as cable TV and video games has greatly increased the number and variety of such characters and their related animation.
According to Idika (2009, p. 1),“television is designed to expand children’s knowledge of society and the larger world, develop creativity, encourage problem solving role playing, socialization and improve literacy and vocabulary”.
According to Wimmer and Dominick (2003 p. 394), the mass development of the social impact of the mass media was evident as far back as the 1920s when many critics charged the motion pictures has a negative influence on children. After examination of film content, information again, attitude change and influence on behavior, it was concluded that the movies were potent sources of information, attitudes and behavior for children (Idika, 2009).
In the early 1950s, another medium, the comic book was chastised for its alleged harmful effects. John Klapper (1960) cited in Wimmer and Dominick (2003, p. 394) summarized what was known about the social impact of mass communication. In contrast to many researches, Klapper down played television. He concluded that television most often reinforces on individual’s existing attitudes and prepositions.
In the late 1950s and early 1960’s according to Idika (2009, p.2), concerns over the antisocial impact of the media shifted to television. Experiments on college campuses conducted by Bandura and Berrowitz in Comstock and Paik (1991, p. 97) showed that aggressive behaviour could be learned by viewing violent media content and that a stimulation effect was more probable that a cathartic effect subcommittee examined possible links between viewing violence on television and juvenile delinquency. However, in 1965, one subcommittee concluded that televised crime and violence were related to antisocial behaviours among juvenile viewers.
The early 1970’s saw extensive research on the social effects of the mass media. Three years later, the publication of the Eisenhower Commission Report came the release of a multivolume report sponsored by the Surgeon General’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behaviour. The committee summarized its research evidence that:
There is a convergence of fairly substantial evidence on short run causation of aggression among children by viewing violence and the much less certain evidence from field studies that violence viewing precedes some long-run manifestation of aggressive behavior.
The committee tempered this conclusion by noting that any sequence by which viewing television violence causes aggressive behavior is most likely applicable only to some children who are predisposed in that direction.
However, in today’s society, young children are widely exposed to a variety of screen media especially television. The television is increasingly part of children’s environment as television programmes are being made for infants, toddlers and teenagers.
Interestingly, there are evidence that thoughtfully designed TV programmes used at the appropriate developmental stage can be educational (Idika, 2009, p. 12). At the same time, television can contribute to aggressive behaviour anxiety and obesity in children. Television, most importantly, plays vital roles in socialization through learning which it does by providing important sources of information. It also plays an important role in the transmission of attitudes, perception and beliefs. Television like other media of communication, educates. Comstock (1978) describes television as a source of vicarious socializing agents in providing role models and information that affect children’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours.
However, television possible influence on children, especially pupils in primary schools is linked to the note that television performs some socialization functions. Television programs and characters may exert an influence on children’s behavior, attitudes, values and beliefs.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The mass media are considered to be very powerful and indispensable in every society, because of their abilities to reach out to a large, scattered, heterogeneous and impersonal audience. The mass media, most especially television is believed to play prominent roles in the shaping of our focus, perceptions and opinions and help socially by giving wider coverage to issues that are vital and important to the society through its strength of combining both audio and visual.
To so many people, television as a medium of communication has become a life wire of their daily lives, and they cannot exist without it. This is attributed to the fact that it has helped in inculcating acceptable behaviours, values, norms, beliefs into individuals in the society.
However, arguments still abound about the role of television in the socialization of individuals in society considering the large, impersonal, heterogeneous and scattered nature of its audience. This raises the problem of to what extent has television contributed to the socialization of people most especially pupils of select primary schools in Eket Urban. This question forms the crux or the central idea why the study “Television and Children Socialization: A Study of Pupils of select primary schools in Eket Urban” became pertinent.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study were to;
- determine the extent to which pupils in select primary schools in Eket watch television;
- investigate the extent to which television influences socialization among pupils in select primary schools in Eket;
- assess the other factors(s) that influences(s)socialization among pupils in select primary schools in Eket;
- Find out whether TV teaches pupils of select schools more of their own culture or more of foreign culture.
1.4 Research Question
The following research question were enhanced to ascertain the objectives of the study;
- to what extent do pupils in select schools in Eket watch television?
- to what extent does television influences socialization among pupils in Eket?
- what other factors influences socialization among pupils in select primary schools in Eket?
- does TV teach them more of their local culture or more of foreign culture?
1.5 Justification of the Study
At the completion of this study, it findings are expected to provide agreeable information on whether television has been a major agent in the socialization process of children, especially those in primary schools.
Findings of the study will help television programmers know better ways to organize their programmes to enhance socialization among children. Similarly, findings of the study will help other socialization agents improve on their socialization skills. Also, findings of the study will serve as a source of dependable reference materials to future researchers as well as add to the existing body of academic knowledge.
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
The research work was aimed at examine “Television and Children’s Socialization: A Study of Pupils of Select Primary Schools in Eket Urban. The study chose to focus only on television and did not make any attempt at investigating any other mass media of communication. The study also focused on children’s socialization and did not intend to study any other age group of socialization. And its scope was delimited four primary schools in Eket Urban namely:
- Q. I. C Primary School, Usung Inyang, Eket
- Government Primary School, Afaha Eket, Eket
- St. Gregory Primary School, Ikot Ebok, Eket and
- Sunshine International School, 4 Ufere Avenue off Afaha Atai Road, Eket
However, the researcher hopes that such delimitations will enhance accuracy of findings as well as give the study direction and focus.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
In the course of conducting this study, the researcher encountered certain constraints which constituted the limitations of this study. To start with, the researcher was faced with some respondents who were not willing to respond favourably to filling the copies of the questionnaire distributed to them and some who collected the questionnaire could not correctly fill them out appropriately. These limitations notwithstanding, the findings of the study are still relevant and valid as the researcher was able to put the situation under control.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following terms were defined operationally for clarity purpose.
- Television: This is the electronic media of sound and sight that influences socialization among pupils in select primary schools in Eket urban.
- Socialization: It is the kind of attitude and mannerism pupils in select primary schools in Eket urban exhibit. It is their behavoural pattern.
- Primary Schools: These are select schools in Eket who teach elementary subjects.
- Pupils: These are children between 1-12 who school in the select primary schools in Eket urban.
- Children: These are individuals who are not more than 17years of age. They are pupils in select primary schools in Eket urban.
- Eket Urban: This is the geographical area where the pupils of the select primary schools reside. It is the universe of the study.