This study was carried out on the assessment of students response to television reality programmes using Delta State University, Abraka as case study. To achieve this 4 research questions were formulated. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of the students of Delta State University, Abaraka. In determining the sample size, the researcher randomly selected 400 respondents while 250 respondents were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables and percentage. The result of the findings reveals that; students spend much time in watching reality programmes, Big Brother Naija influences students’ perception towards social values, Big Brother Naija also influences students students sense of reasoning and Big Brother Naija influences students sending, dressing and studying pattern. Based on the findings, it is of the researcher opined that; since reality television programmes have serious influences on audience members as they desire to be like the people they watch in the programmes, audience members must observe caution while watching the programmes because not all that happens in the programme are real (devoid of acting). and since reality television programmes enable audience members to learn things about others when they watch contestants in the programmes, television regulators must ensure that reality television programmes aired on Nigerian television stations are those capable of impacting positive lifestyles on Nigerians, especially University students.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The mass media, most especially television has become a part of our daily lives, and sources of information, education and entertainment have been described as the primary functions of the media. Lasswell (1948) as cited in Folarin (2005,p.74), assigns three functions to the media:
- Surveillance of the Environment (the news function).
- Correlation of the different parts of the Environment (the editorial function).
- Transmission of the cultural heritage from one generation to the other (the cultural transmission function).
There is no doubt that the impact of television broadcasting on young people’s lives is broadly considered within what is referred to as “media effects” debate which to a great extent focuses on the potentially negative impact of television on young people’s lives: video violence, gambling, educational performance, television consumerism, etc (Miles 2000,p.87). Steele, J. R. & Brown, J. D. (2005,p.87), identifies three main reasons why television influence should be given a closer look:
- Young people spend more time with the mass media than they do in school or with their parents.
- The media are full of portrayals that glamorize risky adult behavior such as excessive drinking and sexual promiscuity.
- Parents and other socialization agents have arguably shirked their responsibilities when it comes to directing youth away from risky forms of behavior; thereby allowing the media a more fundamental influence.
In the context of this discourse, many commentators opine that by the age of 18, an individual will have spent more time watching television than any other activity besides sleep (Anderson, 2009,p.76). However, Miles (2000, p.73) is of the view that: It is widely assumed that young people are affected more directly and negatively by the media than any other age group, research actually indicates that young people between the ages of 14 and 24 actually form one of the groups who currently spend the least time watching television. This is a paradox that has often been neglected in the literature. Ironically, the mass media itself has a vested interest in exaggerating the impact it has on young people’s lives because media-hype simply makes good ‘copy.’
Regardless of the actual time young people spend in watching television and using other media, there is no doubt that television broadcasting have played an important role in structuring young people’s lives in some shape and form in a period of rapid social change (Osgerby, 2008,p.12).
The amount of television programes consumed by young people has drastically expanded in recent years, allowing them to compose their own ‘media menu’ with their own preferences and likings. The youth itself is undergoing a period of rapid change, likewise the ways in which young people use the media. The advent of cable and satellite television has boosted television viewing in recent years (Johnson, 2004). Osgerby (2008,p.20), further points out that “the post-modern age brought with it the proliferation of media and information technologies which challenged traditional conceptions of time and space, symbolized most apparently by the global cultural flows and images evident in the programming of Music Television (MTV). MTV is well known as an entertainment television that airs not only music videos, but reality TV shows and other entertainment programmes”.
Reimer (2005,p.67), posits that young people’s use of the mass media binds them together more than any social activity (and hence their relationship with social change). Young people could be said to be united through their pursuit of pleasure through the mass media. The media (or the people behind it) are skilled at knowing what will appeal to the mass teenagers and use skillful manipulation to get messages across, buy into an idea or product that communicates an idea – like the status of having the latest ipod, i-touch or cell phone. However, Allahar (2006,p.54), argue that the manner in which television portray aspects of the outside world might be said to actively prevent young people from developing a critical consciousness that will allow them prioritize larger issues of personal and social responsibility.
Since they are bombarded with tantalizing images of the ‘good life,’ it is not surprising that the young are dispirited by the reality of their poor economic prospects. What lies at the heart of all this activity, however, is the fact that televison can sell young people some element of an identity they have been taught to crave… leisure industries such as music, fashion, and cosmetics have a largely uncritical army of consumers awaiting the next craze or fad. (Allahar, 2006, p.148).
Reality television show has in recent time significantly proved to be a favourite among the youth – particularly those who fall within the range of ages 18-25 (Chikafe 2012,p.76). Among these programmes is the Big Brother Nigeria which is the focus of this study and hereafter referred to as “Big Brother Naija”. Other common ones here in Nigeria include: MTN Project Fame, Gul etc. “Big Brother Naija”, is a reality TV show based on the Big Brother TV series in which 12 contestants live in an isolated house and compete for a large cash prize worth $100000 at the end of the show by avoiding being evicted by viewers. The first season of the show first aired on DStv Channel 37 from March 5 to June 4, 2006. The voting results are verified by the auditing company of Alexander-Forbes. Chikafa, (2012,p.54), writes that the concept was borrowed from George Orwell’s novel of 1984 titled ‘fictional dystopia of Oceania’ in which he described a world of never-ending surveillance. In the novel, the dictator who watched over the citizens of Oceania was called Big Brother, and his terrifying slogan was ‘Big Brother is watching you’. In the Big Brother television show, contestants confined in the house compete to escape eviction in order to win the prize money. The reality TV show debuted on DSTV channel 37 in 2016 and has since then, with the aid of the growth of satellite television in Africa, roused African audience interest and has remained an annual event till date (Mateveke 2012).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The exponential success of reality television has had a definitive impact on the evolution of values and culture within society. Calvert (2002) suggested that television viewers attempt to align their attitudes and beliefs with those observed in television programming. Similarly, reality television has realigned the private and public as a form of mediated voyeurism (Calvert, 2002). According to Calvert (2002), mediated voyeurism “refers to the consumption of revealing images of and information about others’ apparently real and unguarded lives, often yet not always for the purposes of entertainment but frequently at the expense of privacy and discourse, through the means of the television and Internet”. This is key as it suggests that widely accepted norms and values are evolving as a result of these relationships, and this evolution may not be for the better, as the lines have become blurred when it comes to the definition of reality.
Given the perception of reality (Calvert, 2002) and the perceived connection to reality television characters as authentic, like close friends, (Bandura, 2001; Reiss & Wiltz, 2004; Christensen & Ivancin, 2006), it is possible that direct media influence from reality television viewership could influence behavior.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The major focus of this study is to assess students response to television reality programmes. A case study of Big Brother Naija. The specific objectives include;
- Investigate the extent to which students watch reality programs.
- Identify if Big Brother Naija influences students perception towards social values.
- Investigate if Big Brother Naija influences students lifestyle.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
- To what extent do students watch reality programs?
- Does Big Brother Naija influence students perception towards social values?
- Does Big Brother Naija influence students students sense of reasoning?
- Does Big Brother Naija influences students sending, dressing and studying pattern?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is relevant in several ways which include;
- It will apprise parents, teacher and even the general public on the extent to reality television programs Influences students.
- The recommendations provided in this study will help manage the rate at which students respond to reality programs.
- The study will also add to existing literature on this topic, hence will serve as a source of information for student, researcher and other individuals who may want to carry out research similar to the one of concern in this paper.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study examine students response to reality programs with particular interest towards investigating the extent to which students watch reality programs, identify if Big Brother Naija influences students perception towards social values and investigate if Big Brother Naija influences students lifestyle. Hence this study is delimited to Delta State University Abraka, Delta State.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Television: This is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome (black and white), or in color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television show, or the medium of television transmission.
Reality Television: Reality television is a genre of television programming that documents purportedly unscripted real-life situations, often starring unknown individuals rather than professional actors.
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