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NIGERIANS were outraged on New Year Day, January 1, 2022, when the story broke of a 23-year-old suspect, Ayobamidele Kudus Ayodele, who was arrested by the police for abducting a six-year-old boy, Ebube Eze, from Remson Group of Schools, in Ojo Alaba area of Lagos.

The suspect was alleged to have kept the lad hostage until the parents paid N550, 000 ransom.

Outrage, however, turned to horror when during interrogation, the suspect said he learned how to kidnap through watching Nollywood movies.

Although the law is likely to take its course regardless of where or from whom the suspect learned his criminal act, Ayodele’s admission that he learned how to kidnap from Nollywood movies is consistent with Cultivation Theory (also called Cultivation Analysis) propounded in the 1960s by Professor George Gerbner. Gerbner used Cultivation Theory to examine the influence of television on viewers.

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According to the theory, long-term exposure to media shapes how consumers of media products perceive the world and conduct themselves.

The more television people watch, Gerbner said, the more likely they are to hold a view of reality that is closer to television’s depiction of reality.

The theory also examines the possible impact exposure to violence has on viewers of television programmes.

As Werner JS and others submit in their book,  Communication Theories: Origins, Methods and Uses in the Mass Media, “theories are general statements that summarise our understandings of the way the world works”.

In developing theories, we are often trying to explain something that is difficult to understand. The goal of theory is to formulate statements or propositions that will have some explanatory power.

It means we need to have a rethink as a society, about our media contents, especially the television, movies, the internet and social media, otherwise, our civilisation is heading towards destruction.

Many, especially our young people, are accepting as realities, all the violence and other negative acts they watch on TV and in movies.

They model their lives after the fictitious criminal characters they watch in movies. They actualise in real life, the crime scenes and criminal activities re-enacted in the movies by actors.

The regulatory agencies, especially the National Film and Video Censors Board, must now roll up their sleeves and get down to work to weed out content with negative influences from films and videos aired on television or sold in our markets.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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