BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The mass media and internet have gradually 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 (2014) assigns three functions to the media:
The focus of the researcher in this study is not only on the effective use and function of the mass media and internet, but the impact of the mass media and internet facilities plays in shaping social behaviour among teenagers and youths in the 21st century. Stephenson (1967) a British psychologist, as cited in Folarin (2014), divides man’s activities into work and play. The former involving reality and production, while the latter deals with entertainment, relaxation or self satisfaction. He further says that people use mass communication more as play than as work, more for pleasure and entertainment than for information and serious work. Folarin (2014) corroborates this view by saying that one constant criticism of mass media in Nigeria is its focus on entertainment rather than on development purposes. There is no doubt that the impact of the mass media and internet 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 the media and internet on young people’s lives: video violence, gambling, educational performance, mass consumerism, pornography, online theft, etc (Miles, 2011). Steele & Brown (2013) identifies three main reasons why media influence should be given a closer look:
In the context of this discourse, many commentators opine that by the age of 18, an individual will have spent more time watching television, visiting social media sites, video gaming, and watching porn with phones than any other activity besides sleep (Miles & Anderson, 2014). However, Miles (2011) 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 using media and internet facilities. 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 using media and internet, there is no doubt that the mass media have played and will continue to play an important role in structuring young people’s lives in some shape and form in a period of rapid social change (Miles, ibid). The amount of media and internet products 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 TV viewing in recent years, while the advent of social media sites has boosted communication (Johnsson-Samaragdi, 2015). Osgerby (2011) 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 media activities. The influence of the media and internet on the psychosocial development of youths and teenagers is profound. Thus, it is important for parents to watch their child’s exposure to media and internet and to provide guidance on age-appropriate use of all media, including television, radio, music, video games and the Internet.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study will try to find out the impact that internet and mass media has on the youth’s behaviour, their psychological adjustments in the 21st century. Technology has many positive facets but, in the wrong hands, it can become hazardous. For the young people it is experiments to do what they feel is good or exciting to them and the friends and at the same time avoid adult supervision. Livingstone (2008) opines that for youths and teenagers, the online realm and mass media may be adopted enthusiastically because it represents their space, visible to the peer group more than to adult surveillance, an exciting yet relatively safe opportunity to conduct the social psychological task of adolescence – to construct, experiment with and present a reflexive project of the self in a social context, as well as, for some, for flouting communicative norms and other risk-taking behaviours Technology brought about internet and mass media which is a valuable tool but is somewhat misused by today’s youth. The two main forms that the youth use to access social media are cell phones and the Internet which have brought about major changes in their lifestyle. With the current exposure and easy access that the youth are able to get out of these mediums, this study will establish the impacts it has have on the youths. Issues that are expected to arise out of this research include exposure to problematic materials, online victimization of youth, exposition to unnecessary online marketing and advertising, exposure to dangerous online behaviours, issues of identity theft, the emergence of digital divide and generation gap between parents and the youth.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the effective use of mass media and internet facility and its impact in our youth and teenagers in 21st century. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This work is therefore important in the following ways:
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to the effective use of mass media and internet facility and its impact in our youth and teenagers in 21st century, a case study of selected tertiary institutions in Lagos state.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Youth: Refers to young people between 13 and 25 years of age or their activities and their characteristics. The majority of youths in Nigerian secondary schools are between 13 and 19 years, a stage referred to as adolescence. The term youth therefore includes this age bracket of youths.
Mass Media: Mass media refers to channels of communication that involve transmitting information in some way, shape or forms to large numbers. Mass media also refers to print, radio television, and other communication technologies.
Internet: A global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.
OTHER SIMILAR MASS COMMUNICATION PROJECTS AND MATERIALS