EFFECTS OF EXPOSURE TO SEXUAL CONTENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA ON THE SEXUAL ORIENTATION OF NIGERIAN TEENAGERS
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The teenage age (13-18 in this context) is the formative year for most young people. At this age they start getting their mind set on different life issues. This mentality determines how they view/react to such issues later on in life. This process is also known as their orientation on life.
The social media (internet in this context) is known as a platform which every teenager is conversant with and turn towards it to enlighten themselves on whatever they don’t understand.
The social media is no doubt an avenue to get access to sexual contents as Yankelovich partners, 1993 discovered that it was the fourth ranked source of sexual information after parents, friends and school. This was at a time when social media wasn’t as globalised as it is now. This present age, social media has moved up the ranks in every good or bad thing we do.
The unavoidable content young youths are exposed to on social media is the explicit sexual content (in this context, sexual contents can be sexual news, advices, and quotes, write ups, pictures and videos) which shows and teach them a lot of things. The social media plays a major role in the formation of a child’s reasoning and it is believed that youths tend to behave in ways they see people do thing online without getting the hang of it or knowing more about the situation or what it entails.
These messages are being viewed by youths at a stage when they are still developing their values and gender roles, sexual behaviours and attitudes. It is quite known that teens nowadays spend large numbers of the day on the internet which sometimes is more than the time spent in a classroom.
Overtime, it is believed that the absence of sex talk with growing kids tend to push them towards getting information from the available media. This may seem good but according to public health experts, out of 68% of TV shows that showed on broadcast media in the year 2005, only 15% discussed the risks and the responsibility involved. The flipside of online contents is that as soon as young youths get exposed to them, different sexual activities become the norm.
Although sexual content can affect any age group, developing youths are most vulnerable as they are exposed at the age when gender roles, sexual attitudes and sexual behaviours are shaped according to the western journal of medicine.
DuRant et al cited that one fifth to one half of all music videos depending on the music genre portray sexuality and eroticism, which proves that sexual content in the media in this globalised world is on the rise, a quick check at movies released by Hollywood shows that two third of movies produced per year are R rated.
This issue can be partly blamed on the interpretation and breaking down of viewed contents as the mind doesn’t know what to do with the information relayed at that particular age. At this point it is down to each individual to break down the contents in their own way. A perfect example is the interpretation of the song ‘papa don’t preach’ by Madonna , the song was viewed by columnist Ellen Goodman as a commercial for teenage pregnancy, while it was viewed by religious acts around as a stand against abortion.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM:
This study aims to discover the reaction, immediate and long term effect of sexual contents viewed online by young youths who are still in developing stage. This study, after discovering the effects would look at possible solutions to reducing or curbing sexual contents from immature minds.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:
1) Know if sexual content on the internet has done more harm than good
2) Know if viewing sexual contents lead to sexual preference in any way
3) Know the instant and long term effect of sexual contents on the internet
4) Discover if teenagers turn to whatever they see on the internet whenever they get in a sexual situation
5) Do their mentality change with maturity or not.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS:
To achieve the studies set objective, the following questions are generated
1) How long do you view sexual content on the internet?
2) Do you just come across sexual contents on the internet or you browse for them.
3) How long do you stay on the internet?
4) What’s your immediate reaction to sexual contents on the internet?
5) Do you remember sexual contents seen on internet, whenever you are in a sexual situation?
1.5 DEFINITION OF TERMS:
Exposure: Access, ability to view and sometimes understand sexual scenes and contents. The introduction and possible addiction to online contents.
Sexual content: sexual news, write ups, quotes, visual content which include pictures, videos, gifs and so on.
Sexual orientation: how sexual content viewed make then view things relating to things related to sex. How they view and react to sex in a whole.
Teenagers: Age 13-19
Social media: media platforms, televisions and Internet mainly.
1.6 SCOPE OF STUDY:
The scope of this study would focus on the youths based in the south-west (Ibadan and Ogun precisely) and because of the broad spectrum of the research there would be no gender, cultural or religious limitations. Youths from age 13-19 would be critically observed in this study.
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
The first aim of this study is to provide detailed and understandable ways on how young youths develop the sexual beliefs, preference, behaviours and sexual values.
Another significance of this study is to determine if the internet helps the growth of young youths..