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Televison reality show and its effect on the moral and social life of adolescents in benue state



1.1 Background of the study

According to Andrejevic (2008), television is a popular and an extremely good means of disseminating information that has a significant impact on people’s lives all over the world. For many people, television is a major source of information and entertainment. It gives them the chance to see people, places, and things they may not have seen before. Television affects the society’s perspective of the globe in an increasingly global culture.
A reality show is a television program that tries to depict how regular people act in everyday life or in settings that are frequently contrived by the show’s creators and are meant to reflect normal life. A reality show may also be described as a television show in which regular people or celebrities are recorded going about their daily lives or doing specific activities. It’s worth noting that most reality television shows have a significant impact on the most vulnerable group of people, adolescents (Andrejevic, 2008).

Vijaykumar (2012) cites the World Health Organization (WHO) as defining an adolescent as someone between the ages of 10 and 19. Adolescence is also defined as a period of growth and development that occurs between childhood and maturity. This is the age at which a young boy or girl becomes an adult.

Adolescents begin to use abstract thinking to explain their actions as early as adolescence. Post-conventional morality is based on self-selected ethical concepts that are typically broad and universal, such as justice, dignity, and equality Mckay (2010). Vijaykumar (2012) noted that adolescents easily align or identify with their culture, to the things they see at home and around them, in school and in the  media. These observations affects their moral reasoning and moral behavior. When children are younger, their family, culture, and religion greatly influence their moral decision-making. During the early adolescent period, teenage pressure have a greater influence than we really care to accept.

Socially, adolescence is the time the young adults look to identify with people they perceive to be friendly, trustworthy and reliable. At this point in life, some adolescents tend to withdraw from their parents, feel a sense of belonging with certain people and easily accept or adapt to things frequently shown to them.

Reality television is a huge part of television viewing culture. It may be clear to many adults that not all is “real” in the world of reality TV but not for most of the adolescents and teenagers.

1.2 Statement Of The Study

Unfortunately some adolescents have life experiences that may interfere with their moral development and reality television helps to bring it closer to them.

 Reality television shows really does affect their attitudes, beliefs, self-image and behavior. Vijaykumar in 2012 expressed that this is a huge concern because in most of the  Reality Television shows aired, the common themes are usually sex appeal, physical beauty, excessive and aggressive partying, materialism, lack of focus on important things, aggression, bullying etc. This is because at  this time of their lives, their friends are the closest people to them and the urge to impress and “feel among” is very strong.

However, how does the most vulnerable class of people which are the adolescents understand the world of reality TV? What could reality TV be teaching adolescent boys and girls, in particular, about what is valued intentional morality. Hence, necessitate this study.


The main objective of the study is to analyse the effects of of television reality shows on the moral and social life of adolescents. Other aims of this study are;

  1. To identify the effects of television reality show on the moral and social life of adolescents.
  2. To see the extent reality television show has affected the moral and social life of adolescents.

iii.      To identify the necessary steps to curb the effects of the use of social media on the moral and social life of adolescents.


The questions to guide this research are;

  1. What are the effects of television reality show on the moral and social life of adolescents?
  2. To what extent has reality television show affected the moral and social life of adolescents?

iii.      What are the necessary steps to curb the effects of the use of social media on the moral and social life of adolescents?


This study focuses on identifying the effects of Reality Television shows on adolescents morally and socially. It will also find out the extent to which these effects have affected adolescents morally and socially in Benue State.

This research will further look the impacts and the areas of concern that adolescents are likely to encounter on their social and moral life as a result of watching reality television show.

This research will be carried out in the capital city of Benue State which is Makurdi. Adolescents of selected secondary schools in Makurdi shall serve as enrolled participants for this study.


This study was done and carried out  only in the capital city of Benue State and as such the results of this research cannot be used in any other area of Benue State nor in Nigeria as a whole as the effects and problems faced by adolescents in their moral and social lives due to watching reality television shows differ due to geographical position, cultural belief and social tendencies.

This study will only be focusing on adolescents and no other class of people.


This study will be of immense help to the parents and caregivers of adolescents as they will be able to find out how and why reality television shows are affecting their wards socially and morally.

This research will also help television regulators to effect changes where necessary and to put laws in place that will help curtail the excesses of reality television shows and its negative effects on the adolescents.

Furthermore, this study will also help for easy understanding changes seen or observed in adolescents as a result of watching reality television shows.

This study will also add to existing literature on this study domain and shall serve as a reference material to scholars, researchers an students who may wish to carry out further study on this topic or related area.


Moral:  This can be defined as being concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour. It can also be said to be holding high principles for moral conduct.

Effect: This is a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.

Social life: It is the part of a person’s time spent doing enjoyable things with others

Moral life: concerned with or relating to human behaviour,

the distinction between good and bad or right and wrong behaviour.

Television: A piece of electrical equipment with a screen on which you can watch programme with moving pictures and sounds.


Andrejevic, M. (2008). Reality TV. In W. Donsbach (Ed.), The international encyclopedia of European Journal of Cultural Studies. Advance online publication.

Mckay, H. (2010). Reality Shows Aimed at Young Viewers Airing More Violent Scenes. Retrieved from:http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2010/10/11/reality-showsbattery-domestic-violence-jersey-shore-teen-mom/

Merriam-Webster “docu-soap” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/docusoap). Retrieved July 10, 2017.

Vijaykumar, S. (2012). Impact of Reality Shows on Society. Retrieved from https://www.siliconindia.com/news/general/Impact-of-Reality-Shows-on-Society-nid110251-cid-1.html


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