1.1 Background to the Study
According to UNESCO (1999), Television is ubiquitous, with at least one television set present in most family homes in developing countries. It is, therefore, not surprising that time spent in front of a television set watching television, videos or DVDs is one of the most prevalent leisure time activities among young people in developing nations [Larson R.W (1990), Verma S (1990) and Strasburger V.C (2004)].
While there are potential benefits from watching some television programs, videos and DVDs by families, there are concerns that time spent in front of a television, particularly during daylight hours, displaces more cognitively and physically challenging pursuits on the family members [Huston et al; (1999)]. The evidence that physical activity among children and adolescents is displaced by time spent in front of television is, however, equivocal [Biddle et al; (2004)].
Nevertheless, there is consistent evidence that time spent in front of a television is associated with a number of negative outcomes among adolescents, including overweight and obesity [Gortmaker et al; (1996)] (although it has been argued that this relationship is not clinically significant, [Marshall et al; (2004)], poor dietary habits [Jeffery et al; (1998)], and social problems (e.g., aggressive behavior, low school achievement) [Strasburger et al; (2004)].
Despite the enormous evidence on the need for healthy stimulating environment and healthy supportive family interactions for the growing child, television viewing (TV) seems to be replacing family interpersonal interactions. Television viewing according to Van (1990) refers to the art of spending time in front of a television screen while participating actively or passively in what is being displayed.
Television viewing habit refers to the amount of time an individual spends viewing television programmes, the nature of such programmes, the age of the viewer and the viewing hour (Jason and Johnson, 1995). In this study, television viewing habit refers to the average daily viewing time of families in Osun State.
Television viewing habit may impact positively or negatively on the families’ cognitive development. Viewing television programmes for about 1-2 hours daily on the average may enhance families’ cognitive skills development while a habit of 3 hours or more of television viewing of general audience programmes or cartoon shows according to Wiecha, Sobol, Peters, and Gortmaker, (2001) may reduce the time children would spend engaging verbally and socially with family members and significant others which are prerequisite for effective cognitive skills development.
Television viewing is not condemned completely in the life of families. It has some merits if well censored by parents and other adults. A study by Rosenberg (1994) showed that television has been the most effective of all mass media in making people aware of a wide range of human problems ranging from pollution to homelessness and increasing awareness and acceptance of various kinds of illness both physical and mental.
Evra (1998) in his study noted that television viewing can promote pro-social behavior, stimulate the imagination, teach letters and numbers and enhance pre-reading and voluntary reading skills among children in a family.
1.2 Objectives of the Study
The main aim of this study is to investigate the television viewing habit among families in Osun State. The specific objectives under this study are:
1. To know if television affects the viewing habit of families in Osun State.
2. To determine if television have impacts on the lives of families in Osun State.
3. To ascertain if television viewing influences the career choice of family members in Osun State.
4. To find out how parents/guardians censor the choice of television programmes being watched by family members in Osun State.
5. To study if television viewing by children enhance their performance in school.
1.3 Research Questions
1. Does television affects the viewing habit of families in Osun State?
2. To what extent has Television impacted on the lives of families in Osun State?
3. Does television viewing influences the career choice of family members in Osun State?
4. How do parents/guardians censor the choice of television programmes being watched by the family members in Osun State?
5. Does television viewing by children enhance their performance in school?
1.4 Significance of the Study
This research work deals with the television viewing habit among families in Osun State. As an academic work which intends to pass through the scientific scrutiny in terms of empirical analysis, it aims to the academic knowledge both for the benefit of the researchers and students of great minds. More so, those who want to engage in similar topic will find it very useful by serving as a reference point as very few materials are available on the topic.
1.5 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study covers families in Osun State and specifically discusses the television viewing habits of families in Osun State.
However, the finding of the project work can be well applicable to all other families in other states in Nigeria.
1.6 Definition of Terms
Television: This is a form of broadcast media which families in Osun State have developed habit for.
Habit: This is a natural tendency that is developed by families in Osun State.
Family: This refers to a group of parents and their children that have developed the habit of viewing television.