ABSTRACT: The research investigated the effect of reality television shows on youths behaviour with a focus on Ignatius Ajara University of Education. It is very obvious that most of the reality shows such as “Big Brother Naija”, “Nigerian Idols”, “The X Factor”, “Maltina Dance”, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”, “Gudser Ultimate Search”, “The Next Titan” and host of others influence the action, reaction and behaviours of the viewers’ particularly youths. The research was anchored on Cultivation Theory. The research is quantitative in nature and survey research method was used. The instrument for data collection was questionnaire in eliciting data from the respondents who were Ignatius Ajara University of Education. Multistage sampling method both probability and non-probability sampling technique was used in selecting respondents. Descriptive statistics (frequency and percentage) with the aids of tables was used to analyse data collected. It was recommended that television broadcasting house should as a matter of fact create more decent educative and entertainment programmes (reality shows) that will continue to promote the educational values and enhance cultural norms of Nigeria society.
Keywords: Reality Television
1.1 Background to the Study
Before the advent of contemporary technology and scientific advancements in the area of information, communication and technology, life was simple and less demanding because both sexes participate in activities that keep them busy while still affording them time to rest due to the fact that they had few options for enjoyment as reading moonlight stories and storytelling were the common sources of entertainment (Uganwa, 2009).
The proliferation of modern information, communication and technology coupled with the various types of electronic devices has drastically transformed and improved today’s living standards. The pleasures that this generation enjoys were not available to previous generations, despite the fact that it is not without its drawbacks. Modern technology brings with it a lot of pleasure, convenience, and ease of life, as well as disengagement, distraction, and calamity. Television is one of the most fascinating and exciting innovations of modern technology. Today, almost no home is complete without a television set (Uganwa, 2009).
Unfortunately, individuals are caught away by the pleasures of television without questioning the detrimental impact of television on our lives, particularly among young people. A situation in which young people might spend three to four hours watching television movies or videos could support the fact that young people’s viewing of television has resulted in a slew of undesirable habits and behaviours. Many teenager and youngsters in most houses have their eyes glued to the television, watching a variety of films. Some of these programmes especially reality shows may have negative impact on youths emotional, psychological, moral, and cognitive development. The prevalence of immoral behaviour among youths has been linked with the types of programmes/movies they view (Jude & Anthony, 2019).
However, it is a known fact that television is one of the agents of socialization because of its ability to transmit programmes in audio-visual and as a result, television agrees more with the cliché that “see is believing”. Television’s effect on viewers especially younger ones is a subject that has been extensively studied in the last two decades and whose impact extends farther than most people realize. Many studies have focused on how television programmes that appear to be “real” (such as news, reality shows and daytime dramas) alter the viewers’ perception of reality (or social reality). Conversely, in the last decade, there has been more influx of reality television shows on Nigerians screen.
It should be emphasized that reality television shows have dominated the television industry for the past decade, inevitably providing the idea that what is shown on screen is in fact reality. Although adults may be aware of the distinctions between reality and reality television, children and adolescents may not.
Reality shows constitute a common type of entertainment broadcast on television, where the participants are made to create an influence on the viewers that the feelings and manners they display are real (StudyCorgi, 2020).
According to StudyCorgi (2020), some of the reality television shows in Nigeria are Big Brother Naija, Nigerian Idols, The X Factor, Maltina Dance, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Gulder Ultimate Search, The Next Titan, Knorr Taste Quest, Nigeria’s Got Talent, Nigeria’s Top Model, Project Fame West Africa and The Voice Nigeria. However, Big Brother Naija is one of the most popular reality programmes, in the Big Brother Naija including dating, beauty pageant, alcohol consumption, conquering fright, and suggestive behaviour linked to sexual activity themes. It should be added that the show have received wider attention among youths “due to special features like reward options for the participants, format and their interactive nature.
Reality television is a genre of television programming which, it is claimed, presents unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and features ordinary people rather than professional actors. It could be described as a form of artificial or “heightened” documentary (Xunta De Galicia, 2015).
A genre of television programming portraying one or more unprofessional actors and their reaction to given stimuli and/or goals. Reality television is a television programming genre that presents unscripted situations, documents actual events and usually features unknowns instead of professional actors (Definitions.net, nd).
However, the most recent and talk about reality show was Big Brother Naija (BBN). Critics describe BBN show is neither a talent show nor a life-improvement show. It’s rather irritating that it’s a show where youths and adults, particularly young people with moral weaknesses, are kept in one place, celebrating every form of sexual immorality and deprivation with impunity on national television, losing all sense of shame for a few hundred dollars, while the organizers smile to their banks in billions, having extorted from them. Every religion is predicated on basic moral concepts, and the BBN programme probes morals as well as the fundamentals of our religious doctrines. BBN simply reawakens one’s pathological desire.
Big Brother Naija (BBN) show is enthronement of immorality, reflected in dirty romance and all types of sexual rakishness and indulgence, mediocrity, and a bad value system, according to Jude and Anthony (2019). Big Brother Naija, or BBN in the contemporary media entertainment industry, is a show that demonstrates a profound lack of human worth and dignity, as well as a complete lack of shame and basic human principles.
Information programmes include documentaries based on true stories that aim to tell viewers something, e.g. about medical emergencies and pets. To this end, the research examines the effect of reality television show on youths.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Television, unlike other media of mass communication is considered to be the most convincing medium, due to its ability to match sight with sound in delivering its content. This makes it the most impressionable media, it can be successful in winning and influencing youths and adolescents.
As a dominant force in audiovisual entertainment, reality TV programmes that draw larger viewing audiences than standard programmes. However, it seems some of these shows have little to do with reality. The fact remains that reality TV programmes have negative effects on viewers and participants alike with a very little positive side. However, Big Brother Naija reality show is not an exemption in regards to the problems or negative effects of reality shows.
Unfortunately, there are less empirical study on the effect of reality television show on youth particular on students and it is against this backdrop that the study investigated the effect of reality TV show on Ignatius Ajara University of Education students.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To examine the extent at which Ignatius Ajara University of Education students exposed to reality television shows especially Big Brother Naija.
- To ascertain the effect of reality television shows particularly Big Brother Show on students of Ignatius Ajara University of Education lifestyle.
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extent do Ignatius Ajara University of Education students exposed to reality television shows especially Big Brother Naija?
- What is the major effect of reality television shows particularly Big Brother Show on students of Ignatius Ajara University of Education lifestyle?
1.5 Significance of the Study
As mentioned in the above discussion, reality television has emerged as a strong competitor for traditional mass media programmes in the television arena. This is evident from the many reality shows being broadcast on Digital Satellite Television (Dstv) such as Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Apprentice, On Site and Pop Idols.
The fact that these shows are scheduled for prime time broadcast also supports the prominence and popularity of reality television shows. Not only is the genre very popular among its target audience, but low production costs also contribute to making reality television the genre of choice for production companies and broadcasters. The findings of this study will lay a foundation for further research on the effects of reality television programmes on viewership on the Nigerian society, youths especially.
Similarly, the findings of this study will serve as an additional literature on the topic for students and researchers who will like to carry out similar research while, the material will form bulk literature that exist in the field of mass communication and related studies.
Apart from contributing to the research literature on the subject matter, this study among other things may also provide empirical information on the extent to which reality shows like Big Brother Naija has on youth.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research which investigated the effect of reality television shows on youth was narrowed in scope to Ignatius Ajara University of Education students. Thus, the geographical scope of this study was within Rivers State. The choice of Ignatius Ajara University of Education was due to its proximity to the researcher, inadequate time to study all universities in Nigeria among other logistics. The study was carried out between April 10th to 7th May, 2022.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Effect: This refers on the impact or influence that Big Brother Naija has on youth particularly the students.
Reality: This is the state of things, event, and situation as they actually exist in real life. For instance, if a programme is mirror of real life matter it could be drama.
Reality TV programme: These are television programmes that are designed base on happen in society, or it is the imitation of reality.
Big Brother Naija: This is one of the reality shows that have the largest viewership in Nigeria. Big Brother Naija, formerly known as Big Brother Nigeria, is a Nigerian reality competition television series, based on the Big Brother television franchise.