Mass Media and its effects on the sexual practices of the urban adolescent. A case study of Nairobi City
Ouko, Letitia Y
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The sexual life of the urban adolescent is fraught with challenges brought about by the changing societal norms in which they live. The urban youth are in danger of falling through the cracks that have been created by the breakdown of traditional culture and the metamorphosis into modem African urban culture that combines aspects of tradition with 'western' elements. Due to the nature of the growing process, there is an uncertainty in the lives of the youth produced by the deficiency of clear cut paths to follow. Sexually, this has led to a lot of experimentation, with all the attendant consequences. The media forms the compass about which this change is evolving and may be taken as a frame of reference to guide the modem youth through the quagmire that leads to adulthood. Unfortunately, the media is in metamorphosis as well and may be contributing to the miasma of moral decay that can be observed in society. This research study aims to investigate these claims through the use of simple random sampling via questionnaire of a cross section of sixty urban youth from all social classes from the very well to do to those living in poverty. We also sampled all types of family groups from nuclear to single parent to extended family groups to gauge how their access to various types of media influences their sexual behaviour. The question we sought to answer is whether the media is to blame for the descent into sexual deviance that is growing amongst the youth. Or whether the media simply reflects this decay. Results found that while media usage is quite high among the urban populations of all classes, with Internet usage being the highest, this does not necessarily translate into sexual deviance. The study concluded that while media influence was indeed significant, it must be coupled with reinforcement from the environment in which the youth operates. While the study bore out some correlation to the hypothesis, more research needs to be carried out on how third parties such as schools and relatives modify that influence.