Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Media Violence and Violent Behaviour of Nigerian Youths: Intervention Strategies

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Media Violence and Violent Behaviour of Nigerian Youths: Intervention Strategies

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper reviews the result of researches on the effects of media violence on youths and tries to relate these to the increased exhibition violence among Nigerian youths. These research results reveal unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of the incidence of aggressive and violent behavior on both immediate and long term contexts. Longitudinal studies have provided converging evidence linking frequent exposure to violent media in child hood with aggressive later in life. Characteristics of viewers, social environments and media content, were identified as factors that influence the degree to which media violence affects aggression. Research findings further suggest that no one is wholly immune to the effects of media violence. Interactive media, such as video games and the internet, have been shown to be more potent in affecting individuals. Studies on the effects of violent video games have shown that they cause increases in aggressive thoughts, effect and behavior in physiological arousal. The paper concludes that youth violent behaviours seem to be increasing in form, as the violent content of media increases in form and diversity. The world has become a global village, so there is a need to monitor the media forms allowed into our nation, and to monitor what youths are exposed to. A lot of violent acts are in already taking place in our society, especially in institutions of higher learning, and youths are involved in most causes. It is time to take a serious look at youth violence and the enormous violent content and form of the Nigerian media. The paper recommends, among other things, that the mass media should be censored more seriously. Age limits should be clearly indicated on media programmes sold in the market. Parents, teachers and care givers and even youths should be educated on the harm done by consuming large doses of violent media content Research should be done to investigate the relationship between media violence and the violent behaviour of Nigerian youths.

Introduction

In our social environments the radio, television, movies, videos, videos games, computer network and the internet have assumed central roles in our daily lives.

Children have access to and consume a variety of these different media forms, many of which have high levels of violent content. Most homes have television sets and next to sleeping, watching the television (TV) is the most frequent activity for children. Lomonaco, Kim, and Ottaviano (2010) assert that the average child in the United States spends four hours a day watching the television. The situation in Nigeria is not veiy different most children, between 5 and 20 years of age, spend over 6 hours a day using entertainment media (television, commercial and self recorded videos, movies, video games, print, radio, recorded music, computers and the internet (Roberts, Foctir and Rideout, 2005). In recent times, watching Nigerian movies, (African Magic) most of which have a high violent content, has become a popular pastime of many youths. The implication of this is that by the time the average child is 18 years old, he or she would have witnessed many acts of violence, including murders. Beresin (2009) found that up to 20 acts of violence per hour occur in children's programmes.

The high levels of violent content of the media forms correlate with youth violence. Internet websites, showing violence, (killing, shooting, fighting, etc) correlate with about 50% increase in reports of seriously violent behaviour (Lomonaco et al, 2010). The result of a recent study showed a psychological connection between watching violence media programmes and desensitization to violent video games (Caragey, Cray and Bushman, 2007).

TV sets are commonly present in bedrooms. The effect of having a TV set in a child's bedroom is that it increases their TV viewing time. It may also imply that parents will be less likely to monitor the content of what is watched, and might not be able to set consistent rules for media use. …

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