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A Study On Mass Media Social Norms Media Essay

Chauhan (2001) in his book television and social transformation has empirically studied the impact of television on college students with regard to their social life, political attitudes, educational performance and their reactions to the advertisement and entertainment programmes. The study suggested that the majority of the respondents admitted that changes have come in their sleeping timings, study timings and also the visiting and the entertaining the guests. Some political serials and programmes have promoted the feelings of patriotism, the political talk-shows was able to establish rapport with the masses as it was admitted by the respondents. Majority of the respondents liked viewing advertisements. Regarding the projection of women on television screen the students did not like the way in which the women are shown on the screen. Moreover, they had no objection regarding the projection of children on T.V. screen. Most of the students admitted improvement in their examination results. Finally the respondents suggested allotting more time to entertainment programme as compared to other programmes.39

Shanahan and Morgan (1992) conducted a comparative case study of how adolescents use T.V. and how this relates to interactions with their families in five countries, namely Argentina, Taiwan, Korea, China and USA. In the following study the issues addressed including television exposure, family conflict over television and the relationship of T.V. viewing to family communication. The study indicates a strong positive association between the parents in Argentina, Taiwan and USA. Most of the adolescents watch television with their parents and feel closer and more satisfied the amount of time spends together. 40

Kuo-Yi Wu (1990) studies the role and contribution of television in shaping of social perception such as sex roles, crime and violence, inter-personal relationships and ageing in Taiwan. In terms of perception of sex roles, contribution of television viewing is distinctly contingent upon the background and other social conditions. A more liberal stance is related to heavy viewers both Chinese or American programmes among females and those with high parental education. They generally prefer the foreign programme to the indigenous programmes. A consistent and significant relationship is found between weekday viewing and a more mistrustful world view. 41

Kang (1989) studies the measures of the pervasiveness of the cultural outlook in Korean T.V. programming. The study focused on Korean student’s perception about traditional and western values in terms of sex roles, the family system, violence and social deviance. He conducted his study on 1169 Junior High School students in Seoul, Korea. Although the finding are not statistically enormous, they seem to indicate that heavy Korean T.V. viewing is weakly related to traditional sex roles, the liberal attitudes towards dating and marriage and to a distorted social reality on violence and social dominance.42

Kang (1989) in his study indicate that Korean students who watch more AFKN (American Force’s Korean Network) are more likely to take more liberal position on the sex role attitudes. He apprehended that compared to male, females are predisposed to think and behave in certain non-traditional ways such as wearing jeans and willingness to discount Confucianism. The females also felt that they would share dating expanses. 43

Ware and Michael (1994) analysed 17 quantitative studies from 16 publications using the Meta analysis approach. A significant positive association between exposure to entertainment programmes and the dependent variables suggest that programmes imported from U.S have a small but statistically significant impact on the foreign audience. The study revealed that exposure to U.S. entertainment programmes is more likely to increase preference for American products and influence attitudes toward America. The study also says that exposure to U.S. Television programming alone will not automatically generate an adoption of U.S. values. This impact is influenced by both study characteristics and types of dependent measure.44

Sharriffadin (1995) in his study looks at some of the major economic, cultural and social issues faced by the developing countries arising from the new technology. Author concludes in his study that the new communication era should not be perceived on purely technological phenomenon. It ultimate impact on social and cultural, although technological advancement is the key factor. This new era invites a change in social and cultural patterns.45

Goonasekera (1995) conducted a study on 263 viewers of two metropolitan cities revealed that most popular channels were DD, Star Plus, BBC, Zee and sun TV. Overall opinion towards foreign programme was positive. The elements not liked in foreign programmes are sex, vulgarity, violence and crime. But the overall opinion of the viewers was firmly against foreign television programmes. 46

Kya Bobo and Husten (2000) reveals key finding from the large body of literature on socio-cultural mechanisms that encourage tobacco and alcohol use among adolescents and adults. Author’s state that these mechanisms exert similar effects on both alcohol and tobacco use behaviours. Socio-cultural factors that encourage smokers to drink and drinkers to smoke have not received extensive study, but they may account for some of the substantial variations in adult tobacco use rates seen among different levels of alcohol consumption. The authors explains the recent wreaking of association between drinking and smoking that is consistent with changes in societal attitudes toward tobacco and standards of care in alcoholism treatment facilities, the connection may continue to be quite strange among some population.47

Menon and Vohra (2001) conducted a study on the sample consisted of 70 urban middle class (annual income between 4-10 lakh rupees) students in the age range of 18-23 years from colleges in New Delhi affiliated to Delhi University. The upper middle class sample was chosen for their access to television and satellite channels. University students were selected as it was felt that this segment had the independence to watch ‘what they want, and when they want’ as unlike school children, their free time is not rigidly regulated by the school curricula or parental rules regarding ‘what to watch’. Finding indicates the significant gender difference was noticed in the viewership of the sports channel, music channels, English serials, Hindi serials and the family portrayal in the serial they would create (i.e. portraying ‘new trends’, ‘nuclear family’ or a joint family). Further, educational differences between the postgraduate and undergraduate sample were evident in the statistically significant differences in the viewership of Hindi serials and family portrayal in the self-creation section. These results indicate that the hypothesis suggesting that females would favour soap operas while the male sample would favour sports and information programmes.48

Verma and Larson (2002) conducted a study to understand the effects of T.V. on youth. A sample of 100 urban middle class Indian families selected for research. The author found in his study on an average adolescents viewing T.V. about 12 hours per week, 90% of this viewing occurred at home, 73% done with other family members, including 7% with grandparents, uncle or aunts. The study indicates that T.V. viewing for these youth is typically a family activity. The finding indicates that the T.V. viewing is typically a relaxed antidote to the stresses of the day that they share with their families.49

Zia Anjum (2004) conducted a study on Cable Television Watching Habits of the Youth in Pakistan. This study was aimed at to collect precise data to analyze the “opinion” preferences and requirements of the youth in Lahore regarding their cable T.V. watching habits. For this purpose, students of both genders of different colleges and Universities have been contacted so that people belongs to all section of the society can be reached. A sample of 300 respondents in totality selected the result show that young people only acquire entertainment from the cable T.V. They wish to have access to only those selected channels that do not promote immorality and untraditional indecency.50 further, indicates in her study that a large majority (85%) of the college and university students have their own access to cable T.V. A vast majority of the youngsters (62%) spend 3-4 hours daily to watch cable television programmes. The largest portion of the sample under study (39%) only watches cable T.V. for the sake of entertainment, second major reason for which youngster prefer to watch cable T.V. is for Leisure (18%). Majority of youngsters are interested in watching foreign channels instead of Pakistani channels on the cable T.V. 51 ibid

Hemamalini et.al (2010) states that though violent images are portrayal in chutti T.V is no relationship between these images and children violent behaviour. Comparing to the television news channels and other adult focussed other channels mostly in native channels the T.V. so not have any moorings towards Indian culture since they are foreign productions. It is stated by authors that it is very difficult to dissociate violent images from the surroundings violence in which the children are captive. Authors’ state that the programmes that adults watch from in which the children are not spared are more violent images that Chutti T.V. For some children aggression is an expression that gives vent to their emotions. Authors state that children could be aggressive if he or she is hyperactive. This requires a need to channelize the aggression depicted in T.V. images so that it is expressed in a society acceptable manner. Authors explain that children should be discouraged to watch T.V. one hour before they go to bed. 52

Daud et. al (2011) in his study state that television advertisements in general and those involving some celebrities have immense and long lasting impact on youth’s lifestyle, religious values, family bonding and their decision making for buying various items. Authors state that some of the effects are really damaging for our society which are generally based on combined family system, established religions and cultural value and where majority of people cannot afford to purchase the products, which have severe temptation for youth in the race of show power. 53

Ahluwalia and Singh (2011) revealed in his study that T.V. competes with family, school, society and religious institutions to provide role models and information that affect children’s beliefs, values, behaviour, attitude and lifestyle. This study was conducted to make note of T.V. viewing patterns amongst children from middle and upper middle socio-economic strata of the urban society. A sample of 400 children of 8 to 16 years of age, across the region of Punjab was selected. Both the authors found in his study that on an average children watch 2 hours or less T.V. daily and most of them indulge in bedtime T.V. viewing. They watched T.V. primarily for entertainment and for learning. Children’s most preferred programme was children’s show/serials followed by cartoon/animated programmes. 54

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

This study has analysed “Socio-cultural Impact of Television on Youth”. The main purpose of this study was to find out the impact/influence of television programmes/channels on the life patterns of youth. As a communication technology, television has a great acceptance and is being used extensively in India. Television viewership is no more restricted to the upper and upper-middle class of India as it used to be a few years back.

Being inexpensive and easy to access, television spread rapidly in India. It has become one of the common household commodities. Therefore, this study attempted to understand whether demography influenced the viewership patterns of respondents or not. Television provides a variety of local and foreign channels and helps people in selecting programmes according to their taste and choice. Therefore, the first part of this study explored respondents preferred channels and kinds of programmes, reasons for watching television, preferred time of watching and control over the remote. It justified the application of ‘Uses and Gratification Theory’. This theory identifies television consumption patterns according to needs and satisfaction of targeted class. The gratification factor leads to the exposure of channels/programmes which in turn can generate impact/effects.

Main part of the present research comes under the impact tradition. It demands discussion on theories based on observational learning and information processing emphasize lasting impact/effects of exposure to media contents. Thus, the study also applies ‘Cultivation Theory’ in terms of impact through exposure (depending upon heavy and light viewership of television) and ‘Social learning Theory’ which says that viewers attend and learn from models which are attractive, powerful, rewarding and similar to themselves. They do not act immediately on what they learn from television. Instead, they store such knowledge to be used when their own circumstances elicit it. Hence, the framework of this research is based on the set of three theories i.e. Uses and Gratification Theory, Cultivation Theory and Social Learning Theory. These theories are discussed below in relation with the present study in brief.

2.1Uses and Gratification

Utility Theory, often known as the “Uses and Gratification Approach” offers another way of explaining why people expose themselves to some communications and not others (the preferred channels/programmes); why they perceive a fraction of these to which they are exposed and why they remember- correctly or incorrectly. Blumler and Katz’s Uses and Gratification Theory suggest that media users play an active role in choosing and using media. Users take an active part in the communication process and are goal oriented in their media usage. Theorists say that media users seek out source that best fulfils their needs. Uses and Gratification Theory assumes that users have alternate choices to satisfy their needs (Griffin. 2000).55

Focus of this theory is that viewers attend perceive and remember information that is pleasurable or that will in some way help satisfy their needs. Therefore, this research probed into which television channels/programmes are preferred by the targeted audience and which of their needs are satisfied by viewing them.

Uses and Gratification Theory takes a more humanistic approach to looking at the media usage. Blumler and Katz believe that there is not merely one way that the populace uses media. Instead, they believe there are as many reasons for using media as there are media users. According to the theory, media consumers have a free will to decide how they will use the media and how it will affect them. Blumler and Katz believe that media consumers can choose the influence media has on them as well as the idea that users choose media alternatives merely as a mean. Uses and Gratification Theory is the optimist’s view of media. The theory takes out the possibility that media can have an unconscious influence on our lives and how we view the world. The idea that we simply use media to satisfy a given need does not seem to fully recognize the power of media in today’s society. (West, R. and Turner, I..H. 2000: 332).56

2.2 Cultivation Theory

(Cultivation theory-sometimes referred to as the cultivation hypothesis or cultivation analysis-was an approach developed by Professor George Grebner, dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennysylvania. He began the ‘Cultural Indicators’ research project in the mid-1960s, to study whether and how watching television may influence viewers’ ideas of what the everyday world is like.) 57

Cultivation Theory in its most basic form, suggests that television is responsible for shaping or cultivating viewer’s conceptions of social reality. The combined effect of massive television exposure by viewer’s over time subtly shapes the perception of social reality for individuals and, ultimately for our culture as a whole. Thus, cultivation research is in the effects traditions.

Cultivation research looks at the mass media as a socialising agent and investigates whether television viewers come to believe the television version of reality the more they watch it. Gerbner and his colleagues argue that television drama has a small but significant influence on the attitudes, beliefs and judgement of viewers’ concerning the social world. The focus is on ‘heavy viewers’. People who watch a lot of television are likely to be more influenced by the ways in which the world is framed by television programmes than are individuals who watch less, especially regarding topics of which the viewer has little first-hand experience. Light viewers may have more sources of information than heavy viewers. 58

This study has used Cultivation Theory by George Gerbner as a guide in exploring the consequences/effects. Under guidance of this theory, this study may be able to emerge as a new theory. Essentially, the theory states that heavy exposure to mass media namely television creates and cultivates attitudes more consistent with a media conjured version of reality than with what actual reality is. The cultivation theory asserts that heavy viewer’s attitudes are cultivated primarily by what they watch on television. Gerbner views this television world as “not a window on or reflection of the world, but a world in itself” (Mc Quail. 1993: 100).59

Cultivation theorists argue that television has long term effects which are small, gradual, indirect but cumulative and significant. They emphasize the effects of television viewing on attitude rather than the behaviour of viewer’s. Heavy viewing of television is seen as ‘cultivating’ attitudes which are more consistent with the world of television programmes than with the everyday world. Cultivation theorists are best known for their study of television and viewer’s and in particular, for a focus on the topic of violence. However, some studies have also considered other mass media from this perspective and have dealt with topics such as gender roles, age groups, ethnic groups and political attitudes.

Cultivation theorists argue that heavy viewing leads viewers (even among high educational/high income groups) to have more homogeneous or convergent opinions then light viewers (who tend to have more heterogeneous or divergent opinion). The cultivation effect of television viewing is one of the ‘levelling’ or ‘homogenizing’ opinion. Gross considered that ‘television is a cultural arm of the established industrial order and as such serves primarily to maintain, stabilize and reinforce rather than to alter, threaten or weaken conventional beliefs and behaviour’s (Boyd. Barrett. Braham. And Peter, B. 1987: 100).60

Cultivation theorists are well known for their study of television and viewers and in particular for a focus on the topic of violence. However, some studies have also considered other mass media from this perspective and have dealt with topics such as gender roles, age groups, ethnic groups and political attitudes. A study of American college students found that heavy soap opera viewers were more likely than light viewers to overestimate the number of real life married people who had affairs or who had been divorced and the number of women who had abortions (Wimmer and Dominick. 1993: 512).61

Gerbner reported evidence for ‘resonance’ a ‘double dose’ effect which may boost cultivation. This is held to occur when viewer’s everyday life experiences are congruent with those depicted in the television world. For instance, since on television women are most likely to be victims of crime, women heavy viewers are influenced by the usual heavy viewer mainstreaming effect but are also led to feel especially fearful for themselves as women. The cultivation effect is also argued to be strongest when viewer’s neighbourhood is similar to that shown on television. Crime on television is largely urban. So urban heavy viewers are subject to a double dose and cultivation theorists argue that violent content ‘resonates’ more for them. The strongest effects of heavy viewing on attitudes to violence are likely to be amongst those in the high crime areas of cities (Gerbner. 1993).62

2.3 Social Learning Theory

The principle understanding of social learning theory is tied the social context of learning. Bandura has emphasized the fact that people who observe responses of individuals tend to exhibit the same when placed in similar settings. According to Bandura, behaviours and responses that are repeated, perceived as real, distinct, functional and salient are more likely to be attended to, thus more likely to be learned. When observing an event, which receives some kind of reward like social approval, pleasant experience and when the observer feels confident to perform, its symbolic imitation is facilitated. The social cognitive principle has been widely employed to explain in television effects on a variety of social issues such as aggression, ethnic stereotypes, alcohol, attitudes and behaviour. It also stresses the importance of viewer’s cognitive activities when consuming television messages (Bandura. 1977). 63

Any person’ socialization process is influenced by innumerable factors such as family, school, environment factors etc. Direct experience and participation are important parameters which shape the youth’s impressions of the perceived structure of their environment. Mass media, particularly television plays a crucial role in bringing the outside world into homes. As an important institution, mass media enters the socialization process of an individual.

The Social Learning Theory explains how environment influences the behaviour of an individual. DeFleur and Sandra (1989) stated “despite general in nature, social learning theory is particularly relevant to study the impact of mass communication because the description and portrayal of social life is a frequent subject in media contents”. The most common (and pervasive) examples of social learning situations are television commercials. Commercials suggest that drinking a certain beverage or using a particular shampoo will make us popular and win the admiration of attractive people. Depending upon the component processes involved (such as attention or motivation), users may model the behaviour shown in the commercial and buy the product being advertised. Actions of characters in the audio-visual media can serve as a model for others to imitate. Modelling Theory is also useful for describing the application of general Social Learning Theory which explain how new behaviours are acquired by people from media portrayals. An individual observes a character, identifies him/her as a model and remembers actions of model and performs them when confronted with similar circumstances (DeFleur and Sandra. 1989).64

In light of all these theories stated above, it is important to mention that the researcher has formulated a combination of the three theories in order to assess what is the main reason of their watching, their preferred channels and programmes (Uses and Gratification Theory). While on the other hand, it has also measured what kind of effects are taking place in the lives of the sample under study? If there are some affects that are changing attitudes of youth under the study. Are these effects long-lasting or short term (Cultivation Analysis and Social Learning Theory). Hence, the researcher intended to explore all this for which the base of above mentioned theories was most suitable and required.

Based on the Social Learning, Cultivation and Uses and Gratification theories, the present study hypothesized that characters and their behaviour in programmes of television channels serve as a model for heavy viewers. They may acquire certain characteristics which in turn influence their attitudes. It was also assumed that the youth (aged18-25 years) are vulnerable to influences and tend to be inclined towards change. Youth would serve as a barometer to assess the influence of television. Hence, youth of age 18-25 were selected for the study to determine the degree to which their attitudes were influenced by television.

Now, with the availability of the foreign channels, an important question arises: does a youth’s behaviour reflect what his/her has watched on the television screen? The impact of foreign television programmes on youth involves a number of indispensible factors such as interest in the programmes, viewing pattern, reasons for watching, attitude towards programmes and models of social reality that these programmes promote. The study aimed at finding out whether and to what extent television affect youth in Rohtak and Jhajjar districts. The researcher aimed at finding answers to questions such as what youth think about these programmes in terms of their preferences and relevance. Is there any restriction on youth for watching television channels? Whether they experience an impact of these programmes on their attitudes or not?

End Notes

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44. ibid

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46. Goonasekera, Anura (1995). Asian viewers do not see Western programmes as corrupting their culture, Media Asia, Vol. 22 No. 4 pp. 217-221

47. Key Bobo Janet and Husten Corinne (2000). Socio-cultural influences on smoking and drinking. Journal of Alcohol Research and Health, Vol. 24 No. 4 pp. 225-232.

48. Menon, M & Vohra, S.V. (2001). ‘Issues of the Small Screen’. Unpublished Master’s thesis, Delhi University.

49. Verma S and Larson R.W. (2002). T.V in Indian Adolescent’s Lives: A member of the family, Journal of youth and Adolescence, Vol. 31 (3), pp. 177-183.

50. Zia Anjum (2004). Cable Television watching habits of youth in Pakistan, source: www.pu.edu.pk/images/journal retrieves on 10th Feb. 2012.

51. ibid

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53. Daud Usman, Farooq Umer and Anwar Faizq. (2011) Impact of advertisement on the life style of Pakistani youth. Interdisciplinary Journal of Research in Business, Vol. 1 No. 7 pp. 39-44.

54. Ahluwalia, A.K and Singh, R. (2011). T.V viewing Habits Amongst Urban Children, IUP Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 10 (1), pp. 45-62.

55. Griffin, E. (2000). A first look at communication theory (4th ed.). Spring 2001 Theory Workbook. Pp. 310-364.

56. West, R., and Turner, L.H. (2000). Introducing communication theory: Analysis and Application, spring 2001. Theory workbook., p. 332.

57. Khosla Anju. (2008). Media Violence and Crime, SBS Publishers & Distributors Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi. p. 218

58. ibid p. 219

59. Mc Quail, D. , & Windahl, S. (1993). Communication models for the study of mass communication, London: Longman. , p. 100.

60. Boyd, B.O,. Barrett, , Braham,. & Peter B. (1987). Media Knowledge & Power London. P. 100.

61. Wimmer, R.D., & Dominick, J.R, (1993). Qualitative Research Methods: Mass Media Research, Wadsworth Publishing Company, California., pp. 63-64, 139-161, 342, 512

62. Gerbner, G. (1993). The global media debate: Its rise, fall and renewal, Apex Publications :Norwood, . p. 23.

63 Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory, Englewood Cliffs. N.J: Prenticce Hall p. Vii

64. De Fleur, M. L,. & Sandra, J. (1989). Theories of mass communication, New York: Longman, p. 216.

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