RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON VIOLENCE PORTRAYAL IN HOLLYWOOD AND IMPLICATIONS FOR YOUTHS‟ MORAL DEVELOPMENT: A READING OF “THE HOSTEL” AND “THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT”
The media plays a very powerful and influential role in the lives of youths anywhere in the world and it is sometimes referred to as the ‗third parent‘. Over sixty years of study has provided evidence that exposure to violent media leads to an increase in violence and aggression. This is a study on exposure to film violence and its implication for moral development. Morality represent a key human apparatus which influences an individual‘s perception and acceptance of what is right or wrong. Morality underpins the exhibited violent behaviour consequent upon exposure to violent Tv/Film content. Morality is shaped by many factors and the media like Tv/Film is a key factor particularly in the twenty first century. Youths do not understand the influence of violent media content on their moral development because to them it is just a medium for entertainment. This study examines the potential effect of exposure to violent films. This study utilizes the qualitative approach to collect information from youths, media practitioner/producer, representative of Nigeria Film and Video censor Board (N.F.V.C.B.) and non-government organization. It was gathered from the study that excessive viewing of violent films by youths has the potential to influence youths to accept violence as an acceptable way of resolving conflict especially when violence is depicted to be justified in such films. Also the depiction of sexual violence in films may register in the subconscious of youths and may lead to attempt to replicate such acts in real life. The study also gathered that youths are still in active development stage as such excessive viewing of violent films may pervert their moral development. However, in seeking to contribute to ways of tackling this potential effects of violent films on youths, this study recommended that youth should be educated to avoid watching films with graphic violence and explicit sexual content. Parents should be aware of the potential effect of violent films on their children. Government agencies should curb the influx of pirated Hollywood films and sensitize youths and parents on the effect of violent films on people. This has become urgent because youths are the future of our nation and their moral development must be nurtured to produce leaders and parents for a morally upright society.
1.1 Background to the Study
There are several factors that shape up an individual‘s character and disposition to life; these factors include family traits, culture, peer group, media and environment amongst others. Consequently, the convergence of these myriad of factors could impact positively or negatively on an individual.The media as a vehicle of entertainment, education and information plays a very vital role in the life of a youth due to its audio-visual nature.In fact it is sometimes referred to as the third parent.In the same vein, the media include TV, film, music, radio, video games as well as the internet and its accompanying gadgets. However, next to music, films are considered to be popular amongst youths.
Freeman, (1998) posits that, film is the transformation of visual and auditory possibilities into a reliable and intelligible totality resulting from the imaginary element of the imagination.In other words, films use our knowledge of how the world works as the basis for the structure of its representation and therefore we see film sequence as mimetic representation which is illusory and symbolic. Viewers tend to identify with the human traits, physical abilities, spoken words and emotion of characters in films. Youths are the major consumers of films; the perception of what is real and unreal is not as acute as an adult because they are still in their formative years. This implies that aggressive adults learn theirbehaviour as youths.
Youths represent able bodied yet inexperienced segment of society. As the saying goes, youths‘ have the brawn, but not the brain. Within the restless human species, youths are particularly agitated and excitable group on the path to maturity. They have to experience social life, develop the inherent individual faculties and discover the limits of ability.