Influence of Violent Television Programme on the Aggressive Behaviour of Children in Public Primary School in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State


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The social development of children has been of major concern to a number of people. It is generally accepted that children learn better through imitation of what they see or hear. The television is one of the most popular medium of communication not only in Nigeria, but also in other parts of the world. Since its introduction in 1959 into Nigeria, it has become a well-liked leisure time activity, reorganizing our patterns of leisure behaviour. For most Nigerians, the television is a medium of education, information gathering, comfort and relaxation. The television is also seen as a dominating powerful drug on the minds of children, as a rather conveyer of cultural beliefs, attitudes and values, that is homogenizing our society and a socializing agent.

The television, apart from providing entertainment for children, has impact on children’s learning both in school and out of school. Since the television is seen as a powerful teaching tool, the effect of its violent programmes on children’s behaviour need to be investigated and curbed. Television has been criticized of showing foreign films and programames which glory in the propagation of the culture of violence and immorality. Thus brutalizing the highly impressionate minds of our children. It has also been discovered that even the local films have nothing to show other than violence, ritual killings and murder.

It is undisputable that television influence behaviour either directly or indirectly. The effect of televised violence on the aggressive behaviour of children cannot be over emphasized. These children are in a sensitive period, during which they are particularly susceptible to the influence of television violence (Huesmann and Eron, 1986).

Furthermore, due to the fact that children spend so much time watching television and since viewing an aggressive model can influence aggression, it follows that watching aggression on television can foster aggressive impulses among children. Through watching televised aggression, the child may learn techniques of aggression, become emotionally aroused, learn that aggression is acceptable, become accustomed to viewing violence and so on.

It has been reported that across all channels of television violence contributes to the learning of aggressive behaviour and attitudes (Idiaghon, 1984, Levine, 1996 and Seawell, 1998). It can also contribute to fearful or pessimistic attitudes in children about the non-television world as well as desensitize children to real-world or fantasy violence (Levine, 1996).

The fact that heavy exposure to televised violence is one of the major causes of aggressive behaviour, crime and violence in the society. The society has become an unsafe place to live in and people are afraid of anything at night (Dada, 1983). Statistics show that the incidence of spectacular crime shown on television seems to be related to incidence of similar real crimes (Siegel, 1970); violence on television is made more acceptable to children, because of the manner it is portrayed on television programmes. It is shown as the great adventure, means to achieving one’s goals and he who is best at it wins (Liebert, Neale and Davidson, 1973).

All that has been discussed so far together with the fact that most of what children watch on television is intended for older viewers made the situation quite serious and should be studied. The television as a popular medium of communication has received worldwide criticism for its role in the life of its audience especially children. Even in Nigeria, it has faced a spate of criticism, because often films that are categorized for adults viewing and those of others that are restricted or not for children still find their way to the screen. The world of television is a world of make-belief. Even it seems impossible for programmes makers to completely eliminate violence and horror on the screen, it does not mean that there should be no discretion in the presentation of such programmes.

Since the average adult spends more than three hours a day watching television and most children watch at least two hours per day, both adults and children are exposed to a lot of violence (Lyle and Hoffman 1972, Roper 1975). For children, the content of television is so different from anything in his life, experience, that he has no countervailing sources of information. His own intelligence is still developing and unequal to the task of assessing and evaluating what he sees on television. They do not distinguish between realities and make-belief that Television violence is realistic, their aggressive behaviour and the amount of violent television and the amount of violence they see (Huesmann and Eron, 1986). Against this background, there is need to go deeper into the study of the effect of television violence on the aggressive behaviour of children.


Nowadays children are different in some ways from children of the previous generation. This is very obvious by the standard of aggression they display. They resort to violence to solve their problems. They are growing up to behave like animals ready to attack and bite at the least provocation, hence the heartless destruction of lives and properties (Bandura & Ross, 1963). In most television movies, programme violence are always involved. The fiction programmes on television require a crime, murder of fist fight to develop a plot and story.

Some of the Television stations in Nigeria are not left out in the showing of violent movies, commonly shown at nights. Some are also guilty of showing violent movies during broad daylight for example martial law on STV showed someone being thrown from a ten storey building and did not die. It also showed people fighting with jigar, sledge hammer and other dangerous weapons’ on a construction site (May 29, 2008 2.10pm). This is damaging to children’s growing mind. This is due to the fact that watching television has become number one leisure activity among children and adults (Leslie 1951). Such that children are exposed to its violent programme throughout their childhood.

It is pertinent to note that even though television violence makes children aggressive, there are characteristics of children that will determine the extent of this influence in them. These are age, sex, amount of television watched, identification with a television personality, belief that television is realistic and also for academic achievement. (Smith, 1993; Permenton, 1994, Crump, 1995, Reglin, 1996). This study seeks to investigate the relationship between violent programme on the television and aggressive tendencies by primary school children.


For Nigerian educational planners to make use of the results of researches carried out in most advanced countries on the influence of violent television programme on the aggressive behaviour of children will be hazardous because our environment was not considered while such researches were being carried out. This particular study seeks to provide a quantitative research to consolidate the diverse studies within the research domain of televised violence in relation to the aggressive behavior of children. Thus, it focuses on:

  1. The extent to which television influences the aggressive behaviour of children.
  2. The extent to which television violence influences the tendency to fight among children
  3. Whether gender and violent television influence the emotional stability of children
  4. There is a significant difference between aggressive behavior of children and attitude to violent viewing


  1. Is there a significant relationship between aggression of students and violent television programmes?
  2. Is there any significant relationship between tendency to fight and attitude to violent television viewing?
  3. Is there any significant gender difference in the aggressive behaviour of children?
  4. Does a significant difference exist between emotional stability and attitude to violent viewing of children?


  1. There is no significant relationship between the aggressive behaviour of children and violent television programmes.
  2. There is no significant relationship between tendency to fight and violent television viewing
  3. There is no significant difference in the aggressive behaviour of male and female who watch violent programmes.
  4. There is no significant gender difference in the emotional stability of children and their attitude to violent viewing.


This study is of great benefit to parents. They will be able to see how important it is to control their children’s viewing habits and to view programmes with their children. The approving or disapproving remarks made by them during the show will affect the behaviour of the children, who over-hear them. This will also strengthen parent-child relationship. So, it will be a guiding tool for parents’ upbringing of their children.

The study will also be significant to educators. The information collected can be used to formulate a theory which will be useful for psychology, counselling and other educational practices. It will again be significant to the children. It will contribute to their social deve1opment. Producers will be encouraged to produce effective programmes with high entertainment and educative value which will influence children positively.

Furthermore, government will see the need to put in place workable strategies to monitor programmes transmitted by the television station and to ensure the implementation of these strategies.

Finally it is my belief that this study will serve as a useful source of information for further studies on the influence of television violence on aggressive behaviour of children.


The study is focused on the influence of violent television programme on the aggressive behaviour of children. It is limited to public primary schools in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State.


In this study, timeframe, finance and other logistics were the constraints the researcher encountered during the course of the study.


  • Violent Media: violent media are those behaviour that depict intentional attempts by individuals to inflict harm on others.
  • Aggression: It is a behaviour intended to harm another individual who is motivated to avoid that harm.
  • Violence:- Refers to extreme form of aggression, such as physical assault and murder.
  • Amygdala: a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, involved with the experiencing of emotions.

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