POSITIVE EFFECTS OF MASS MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY ON THE UPBRINGING OF CHILDREN
1.1 Background to the Study
Mass media is generally regarded as the means through which a large heterogeneous people can be reached at specific time for the purpose of information dissemination. there are various media of communication ranging from household electronics such as television and radio to print media like newspapers, magazines, journals, etc. office and mobile equipments such as telephones, internet and e-mail, fax machine, etc. are also categorized as media of communication. since this study focuses on the effect of mass media on children upbringing, it would focus more on the television programmes that children devote their time to watch since it is much easier for them to have access to this medium of communication than others already mentioned.
Mass media (such as newspapers, magazines, comic books, radio, video games, movies, and especially television) present a very different form of socialization than any other, because they offer no opportunity for interaction. television has an influence on children from a very young age and affects their cognitive and social development (Elkind, 2007; Wright et al., 2001). television is the medium with the greatest socialization effect, surpassing all the other media by far in its influence on the young child. the very fact that television is not an interactive agent is greatly significant to the development of young children. while watching, children have the feeling that they‟re interacting, but they‟re not. since the average child watches 3 to 4 hours of television a day, the time left for playing with others and learning social skills is drastically reduced.
Of course, parents can control the time their children spend watching television, but many don‟t. they can monitor the selection of programs, but some allow their children to watch whatever happens to be on. some parents don‟t consider how they can use television to teach decision making. they don‟t make children aware that when one program ends they can either weigh the various merits of the next offerings or turn the set off. some children, especially those with a remote control in hand, flick through the channels periodically, randomly stopping at whatever catches their interest at the moment. that‟s very different from critically examining options and consciously deciding on one. this is where parent education could be effective. some parents who grew up with television themselves haven‟t given much thought to the effects of that medium, and how to decrease these effects.
Children learn through watching television. some of the things they learn are beneficial; others are not. they learn about the world and the ways of the society. they learn something about occupations, for example, getting an idea about what a nurse does, what a doctor does, and how the two relate to each other. they learn about the institutions of the society; what goes on in court, for example. they learn the language to go with these roles and settings and they also learn some things you would rather they didn’t know! children also learn about current themes and issues, both from newscasts and drama; issues such as kidnapping, the homeless, and the spread of aids. most of these issues and themes are not happy ones, and many are very frightening, especially when children watch programs that are intended for adults.
What then is a television? a television is a piece of electrical equipment with a screen on which programmes with moving pictures and sounds can be watched (oxford advanced learner’s dictionary 2001). prior to 1965, film and television research tended to be simple media comparison studies which usually found no significant difference between the effectiveness of a conventionally-delivered lecture and the same instruction delivered via moving image (wetzel et al., 1994).
Since 1965, most television research, particularly that which examines the influence of television on attitudes and behaviors, has focused on incidental learning from mass media rather than on intentional effects from classroom presentation of instruction via visual media, and has particularly focused on children’s television viewing. much important work has been done on television’s socializing effects on children, particularly the relationship between viewing violence and behaving violently. other recent research has focused on the area of media literacy.
In 40 years of television research, “the emphasis on negative effects has been more salient than efforts to ensure positive effects through interventions” (seels et al., 1996, p. 361) and “media research has generally not been theory based” (wetzel et al., 1994, p. 189). nevertheless, some positive findings have been made. while some theories suggest that viewers are merely passive absorbers of information, the active theory of cognitive processing supports the idea that viewers engage with the material presented to them.
Several studies have indicated that viewers attend more carefully to television when guided by an instructor and/or told to view it for instructional reasons than when viewing it for fun (wetzel et al., 1994). television research related to portrayals of women, minorities, the elderly, etc. has tended to focus on the negative effect of stereotypes, but other studies have found that “programs that are designed specifically to produce positive images of subgroups appear to be successful” (seels et al., 1996, p. 335).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Mass media, as generally known, is a means through which a large heterogeneous people can be reached for the purpose of information dissemination at a specific time. there are two sides to this; this means that as mass media has so many advantages, even so it does have its disadvantages too. people truly have access to important information through mass media even at the comfort of their homes, not only that, children also learn so many things from the educative programmes that are being transmitted on the television or radio or those that are published on the papers like magazines, newspapers, journals, etc.
However, if children‟s exposure to media contents are not properly monitored and controlled by parents and guardians, they can also learn so many bad things from media contents as well. The focus of this study is the effect of mass media on children upbringing; whether the media contents, more especially television programmes as the main focal point, have effect on children upbringing.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this research work was to investigate the Positive Effects of Mass Media and Technology on the Upbringing of Children. Specifically, this research work is chosen to:
- Critically examine the effects of mass media on children upbringing.
- Determine the measures that should be put in place to prevent children from learning bad things from media contents.
- Determine the roles of parents and guardians towards how children are exposed to media contents.
- Carry out an assessment of the performance of the National Broadcasting Corporations and other regulatory agencies in performing their duties of television programmes censuring.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The significance or importance of this study is that it disclose in theoretical format the influence; both positive and negative, which Mass communication and technology has on the upbringing of children in Iree Township.