THE NIGERIAN HOME VIDEO FILMS: A SOCIOLOGICAL SURVEY
There is a wide concern for the high rate of abnormal behaviour evident in our youth as a result of home video films they are exposed to. This research was undertaken to find out the significance of home video in the life of these youths, with particular reference to Social Science Faculty of the University of Benin. This research is of immense importance because it examines the crucial problem of home video and its influence in the life of its audience. The researcher has demonstrated that home video is highly influential and since youths are easily influenced, whatever message home video carries is definitely copied by youths. On the basis of these findings, certain recommendations were made which would be beneficial to the government and all agencies concerned with home-video and upbringing of youths.
1.1 Background of the Study
Since the beginning of humanity, man has sought to preserve memories through the creation of artifacts that will transcend our own lifetime and so assume ourselves some form of posterity, perhaps even eternality. Writing had been the major complex medium of preserved reality until the end of 19th century, new forms of external memory appeared, first came photography that brought a total new sense of realism to images, then sound transmission and finally came moving images which gave the mission that life could be recorded brought the era of television, then followed by films. Films as a form of mass media are means for delivering impersonal communication to a vast audience Macionis (2007). Films have an enormous effect on our attitudes and behaviour. Films are forever modifying our behaviour, altering our attitudes and opinions. It also influences our choice of interpretation and perception of reality. Its persuasive power is capable of taking emotional possession of her audience. When films are tagged the major and most persuasive mass media today, it is the principal leisure activity of most adults and children. Countries have sought to own a film industry and Nigeria is not an exception.
Nigeria has a movie/film industry valued at over three hundred and thirty billion naira, Zik Zulu Okafor (2009). The industry is Africa’s largest movie industry in terms of number of movies produced per year. When home video made its debut in 1992 with “Living in bondage”, its success promised so much. The industry has grown quite popular over the years. Thus, since Nigerian home videos became ubiquitous, its impact on viewers especially youths has been the subject of considerable research.
It is often difficult to encounter someone who haven’t at one point seen a home video. The nature of videos produced are absolutely captivating that her audience are held hostage by its glitz. Nollywood has been an issue of constant debate as regards to its connection to the attitude and behaviour of youth vis-à-vis the content of the movies. It has a lot of emphasis on interpersonal violence and acquisitive lawlessness, a role both in inciting aggressive behaviours. Youths learn to be aggressive by imitating the actors much as they learn cognitive and social skill by imitation as children. Youths exposed to violence reveals the danger of demonstrating socially undesirable behaviour and criminal techniques. Sexual and romantic films have a profound effect. Sexual passions are aroused and amateur prostitution is aggravated. The proliferation of cheap, dehumanized sex and violence in films are bound over the long run to have a harmful effect not merely in encouraging more violent actions but gradually deadening the sensibilities of those exposed to such films. In addition, there is the fear that adolescents who grow up on a steady diet of the negativity of home videos may be impaired in their moral development
1.2 Statement of Problem
This is an attempt to examine and evaluate the influence of home video on youths. In recent times, people in position of authority and even parents and the rest of the public have drawn attention to the high rate of moral decadence amongst the youths. It is a known fact that Nigerian Film industry is an important instrument in the dissemination of information about her people, Nollywood, with its strong hold on the society exerts powerful moral influence on the society. These influences exerted tend to be negative for the most part. The most popular films are often full of gratuitous violence, sex, drugs, smoking and ritual infested. Youths who see their “heroes” actors blasting their enemies into bits, being promiscuous or taking drugs are likely to be influenced by these behaviours. This is a great problem which needs prompt, proper and lasting solution, else the minds of our youths will become morally bankrupt, leaving the society at large and the future of the country in great danger.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This research or study is planned to find out the following:
1. To identify the negative impact of films on youths.
2. To examine the aspects of our value system and culture which have or have not been projected properly in or by home videos.
3. To find out if actors portray themselves as decent and reliable role models.
4. To determine the level of connection between movie and fashion.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses will be tested:
1. That frequent exposure to violent messages in movies leads to aggressive behaviour and lawlessness.
2. Movies do not showcase our cultural values and traditional teachings properly.
3. That movies with lustful or sexual content leads to increase in promiscuity.
4. That movie actors and actresses influence youths as regards indecent dressing.
5. That movies generally impact negative knowledge in youths.
1.5 Justification of Study
The findings of this study will help in throwing more light on the influence of movies on youths. It is expected that the study will arouse the consciousness of individuals to the fact that movies have influence on youths’ behaviour which could be morally acceptable or unacceptable. Finally, it is expected to help the appropriate authorities in reducing the negative influence of movie messages on youths.
1.6 Operational Definitions of Terms
Mass Media: This term refers to the various means of communication to the public. It includes radio, televisions, etc, but here it is used to explain films and home videos. It is called mass because the message reaches out to more than one person at a time. It is directed to a large dispersed audience, which is how home video operates.
Youth: This term refers to the state or time of being young. It is the period between childhood and adult age.
Audience: Is dispersed group of listeners or spectators, who view home videos.
Nollywood: Is a name given to the film or movie industry in Nigeria. It covers both actors, producers, directors, costumiers, marketer, etc.
Home Video: This is a term used to explain the films that were made by Nollywood in which people buy or rent them and watch them at home.
Aggressive Behaviour: It refers to hostile attitudes, that is an unfriendly behaviour.
Violence: It is an action that uses physical force intended to hurt, damage or kill.
Film: It is a story or event recorded by a camera operated by people which is shown on television.
Movies: Here it is used to explain home/video and film. Three of the terms were used interchangeably.