VIEWERSHIP OF BIG BROTHER AFRICA REALITY TV SHOW AND ITS INFLUENCE ON THE MORAL CONDUCT OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS IN EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY, ABAKALIKI, NIGERIA

Abstract

Big Brother Africa’ is a reality television show in which a group of persons are brought together in secluded large house, isolated from the outside world, and made to live together while being continuously watched by television cameras. According to Chikafa (2012), the concept was borrowed from George Orwell’s novel of 1984 titled ‘fictional dystopia of Oceania’ in which he described a world of never-ending surveillance. In the novel, the dictator who watched over the citizens of Oceania was called Big Brother; his terrifying slogan was ‘Big Brother is watching you’. In the Big Brother television show, contestants confined in the house compete to escape eviction in order to win the prize money. The reality TV show debuted on the African continent in 2003 and has remained an annual event till date. This study investigated the viewership of the programme and its influence on the moral conducts of undergraduate students of Ebonyi state university, Abakaliki, Nigeria. The study adopted both qualitative and quantitative research designs, using a triangulation of data collected with survey questionnaire and oral interviews. A total of 350 copies of questionnaire were distributed to students of the four campuses of the university using cluster multi-stage and simple random sampling techniques. A structured 20 items questionnaire of the modified five-point Likert scale of very high, high, average, low and very low was used to generate data. Findings suggest that Big Brother Africa has wide viewership among Ebonyi state university undergraduate students and it influences their perception and attitude towards decency and morality. Some of them learn technical kidnapping skills while others learn to cohabit with the opposite sex in their off campus hostels, and this contributes to the many cases of rape, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion and abortion related deaths among this vulnerable group. The work recommends mass education on media ratings and encouraging producers of BBA to adhere to the principles, and calls for restructuring of the programme to reflect more indigenous way of life

Keywords: Big Brother Africa, EBSU Undergradua Students., Influence, Moral Conducts, Viewership


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