Socio Cultural Impact Of Television On Youth Media

Essay add: 28-10-2015, 17:43   /   Views: 421

This study has analysed "Socio-cultural Impact of Television on Youth". The purpose of this study is to find out the impact of television programmes on 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 segment. The gratification factor leads to the exposure of programmes which in turn can generate impact.

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 of exposure to media contents. Thus, the study also applies 'Cultivation Theory' in terms of impact through exposure 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; 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

Uses and Gratification Theory takes a more humanistic approach to looking at the media usage. 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.

2.2 Cultivation Theory

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. 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 fabricated 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 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.

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