Media influence and violent crimes in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria
Media violence is viewed by social psychologists, sociologists, social workers and communication scholars as a causal risk factor to aggression and violent crimes in the society. This paper examined the problem of media influence and violent crimes in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The objective was to show that unregulated viewing of visual media and computer games by youths exacerbate violent behaviours and crimes in the Niger Delta. Much of the research on media and violent crimes has been influenced by Albert Bandura‘s Social Learning Theory. This paper rests on the same framework to theorize that violent crimes by youths follow a learning pattern that comes from media sources of today‘s information society. Relying on secondary methods of data collection such as extensive content analysis, the study revealed that social risks associated with the media is worrisome in contemporary times where the youths are more exposed to the media via the various channels such as television, radio, video players, internet and most recently, computer games. Violent crimes have also increased to be part of the media content in all aspects of still and motion viewings. It is therefore the position of this paper that the rise in violent crimes is not unrelated to the consumption of violent but sometimes fictional criminality through the mass media. Lastly, the paper submits that by showing violent characters as heroes in the media, children and teens imitate the behaviours of the characters in the movies or computer games and by extension act out these behaviours in their everyday life.
Keywords: Media influence, Communication, Violence, Crime, Niger Delta
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