Psychologists have argued that youthfulness is the stage of development characterized by anxiety and curiosity. Viewing movies on television (TV) influences children’s play, their everyday behavior, dressing, mannerism, speech, emotions, ideas, about salient issues such as romance, ambition as well as carrier plans. The TV programmes especially foreign movies provide many powerful models for adolescent and abundant opportunities for observational learning. Foreign movies have strategic weapon aimed at subtly over powering the cultural values of Africa. However, the youths as a social category have been the most influenced by these western cultures. They have been seen to be the most vulnerable as far as globalization is concerned, as they struggle to attain what can be described as a hanging identity; an identity that makes them belong neither here nor there.
In Nigeria, average youths spend their time either in front of TV screen, laptops, phones or cinema screen watching foreign films which can have aggressive tendency and damaging pressure on them. Crime, horror and thrillers are the top genres that are most viewed. As young boys are growing up they start developing desire to play around with guns and other damaging instruments. Nowadays, due to the advancement in technology, access to all kinds of foreign movies is greatly increased through multiple platforms. Movies can be downloaded straight from the internet into phones, laptops etc. This makes the youths to become more violent while increasing hard drug usage thereby giving rise to different kinds of crimes. Children are not safe either, as they can harm themselves trying to practice those tricks learned from films. Basically, TV screens in our society gradually been surrendered more to Foreign movies that have little or no redeeming values as far as Nigerian culture is concerned. The media consistently feature foreign cultures that debase the African culture. Most of the cinema houses feature the cultures of Europe and North America more prominently and more consistently.
Furthermore, foreign movies have the potentials of generating both positive and negative effects. One may ask, what is the role of foreign movies on one’s life, are foreign movies harmful or beneficial or both? Therefore, to evaluate the worth of foreign movies, there is need to weigh the pros and coins of foreign movies. There is need to come to an understanding of how much importance and prominence should be given or not given to foreign films on our TV screen. However, there are many benefits of foreign films though only few will be discussed. Movies are a source of popular entertainment. From the moment one indulges in watching a movie, one is transformed into a new world where the mind is at ease. It creates relaxation, reduces tension and lessens the burdens of life. Everybody needs recreation. Recreation is an important part of life and movies provide that avenue.
Films are also social activators, they allow even unknown people to mingle with one another. Movies are like a common factor. This common factor can initiate or sustain a conversation with a stranger. It brings socialization through conversation and debate. Movies stir up people’s imagination. The most unbelievable things are shown in movies. Some films are based on comic book characters adaptations of novel or drama. They bring to life the inanimate which requires imagination. More so, many of the customs and traditions of different people of the world are shown in movies. While sitting at your homes, one is bound to travel virtually to places where one cannot imagine to be. Most of the movies show customs and arts of foreign countries. They give insights about human activities and a better understanding of other people of the world.
Foreign films play vital roles in educating the viewers at various levels, reducing the level of ignorance, hatred, prejudice and teach on social life while widening the mind or sense of reasoning through suspense. Films are platter of various disciplines; they show one’s history, culture, science, technology, politics and lots more. These disciplines are not confined to one particular region. It educates on varying geographical regions across various timelines. People come to know the past, present and the future. Visual medium is a means of better education as information is retained for a long time when it’s visually seen. Films are universal Art form and a platform where people can express and communicate their thoughts or emotions. Foreign movies also inspire youths to create their own unique art of presentation. Furthermore, it creates an understanding of different cultures and shows a way out of a situation using practical illustrations. In today’s dynamic global economy, information of all kinds of movies easily gets across local and international borders. It creates a deeper understanding of the world beyond one’s borders while expanding their horizon to effectively participate in the global arena. Foreign movies also help in developing ones talent, skill or intellect, building trust on oneself and create understanding of human behavior.
In outlining some of the negative effects of foreign films on Nigerian youths, the following are discussed;
Violence-Foreign movies profess violence: Nigerian youths are being heavily influenced by violence shown in movies. They show new ways of torture and physical abuse which inspires the young mind to indulge in these acts. Boys who grew up watching violent movies were more likely to be violent. Gun handling and shooting have become a general awareness. Dialogue, negotiation and peaceful demonstration that used to be employed as a tool for peace settlement have drastically reduced while terrorism, abduction, kidnapping, killing, militancy have become the order of doing things by the youths.
Reduction in moral values and standard: it is rather unfortunate that Nigerian youths have realized themselves in a society where little or no attention is given to moral standards any longer. People now behave the way actors and actresses behave in foreign movies, which sometimes may not be true life situations. The fear of God by the youths has also been thrown to the wind as a consequence of foreign influences perpetuated by foreign films. Teenagers can injure or kill themselves as the result of what they watch on foreign movies which seem to portray criminality and gangstarism as exotic life styles.
Drug abuse and cultism: Majority of the Nigerian youths who have taken to smoking take after their film role models and idols whom they admire very much. Foreign film always features chain smokers, drug addicts, hardened criminals. These bad influences push Nigerian youths to cultism and social vices.
Addiction to Movies: Many Nigerian youths suffer from complexities of life and instead of finding real solutions, they end up attempting movie answers forgetting that most of those scenarios were acted or simulated and not real. The addiction to foreign movies can affect people’s mental and physical health negatively.
Actually, it is a goal of foreign films to dispel negative stereotype while offering viewers the opportunity to examine various facets of culture around the world using guided and thoughtful teaching methods and learning activities. Effective use of individual culture should be encouraged in order to develop national growth of economy and self-image. African culture should not be suppressed due to the tendency of dominating American culture seen on foreign films. Also Government should take steps to discourage and stop the production of movies which tend to corrupt the youths while agencies in charge of regulating and censoring movies shown to Nigerians should be empowered and encouraged to function effectively.