MTV is an American television network that is very popular among the teenagers because of the content of most of its programs. They promote popular culture in most of their contents. The decision by the executives of this company to go global was motivated by the need to expand its market share beyond the United States. It was a brilliant move as firms try to go beyond their borders to increase their revenues.
However, there is a concern that its contents may have negative implications on teenagers in the developing countries because of the fundamental differences between the environment presented in the films and what they have in real life situation in these developing nations. The management of MTV may need to customize the contents of its programs in different markets.
The emerging technologies in the field of communication have transformed the world into a small global village. Widespread access to internet and ease with which information can be shared are some of the factors that have made it possible for this transformation to take place.
The world is becoming increasingly integrated. Inasmuch as this comes with numerous benefits in terms of sharing knowledge, Keller says that the influence brought about by the technology-based integration has been skewed against the developing nations (43). This is specifically so because of the film industry. Film industry has a massive impact on the culture that youths and young adults embrace. They learn how to face a number of social issues through the films they watch.
The rich countries such as the United States have dominated the film industry because they have the resources and relevant technology needed in making the movies. On the other hand, developing countries lack the needed resources. The outcome has been a situation where it is the culture of the West that is spread around the world. Every time these films focus on Africa, then the storyline is often about genocide, terrible famine, child-soldiers, prevalence of HIV/AIDs, and other undesirable events that are not admirable in any way.
The West continues to admire the western culture while the developing nations get to hate their own way of life. This is a tragedy that is affecting many developing nations as the youth try to emulate their counterparts in the wealthy nations in terms of dress-code, social life, and relationships among others. In this paper, the researcher will focus on the influence of western films on the lives of youths in the developing nations.
Scholars have conducted extensive research on the impact of western films on teenagers and young adults around the world. A study by Wild, Han, and Wild showed that the culture of most of the developing nations is getting eroded at unprecedented rates (87). In the past, children and adolescents were taught about the way of life and cultural practices by their parents and grandparents. The adolescents were particularly taught about the values and morals and how to earn a living in a decent way.
However, this traditional way of life is slowly ebbing away in most of the developing nations. Coyle says that parents have moved to the urban centers in search of better opportunities (88). These parents spend most of their time at work and do not have time to educate their children on their traditional ways of life. As such, most of these children turn to films as the most convenient sources of information that they need about life.
According to Beebe and Middleton, in the modern society, teenagers and young adults in the developing economies have completely disregarded the teachings and ways of life of their forefathers (56). Indeed some of the practices were retrogressive such as female genital mutilation that was rampant in some parts of Africa. However, these communities in Africa and parts of Asia had good cultural values that upheld hard work, discipline, communal work, among other practices seen to focus on helping the weak and fighting laziness and immoral practices. These cultural practices have been replaced by the western culture. According to Coyle, many youths believe that the way of life as upheld by their cultural practices is archaic and should be replaced with the western culture that appears to be cool (88).
Keller says that films and movies have completely eroded moral beliefs and practices that were highly valued in most of the societies in the developing economies (43). In these movies, life is presented as stress free. Coyle laments that film producers in the United States have learnt how to present life in their films the way their audience want it to be (88). The youths see how unethical or even criminal acts are rewarding as shown in the films.
One goes and robs a shop and he gets away with it. In fact, such criminals are presented as individuals who have all that they want. This is not the case even in the West. As Arens says, the United States is one of the countries with the best work ethics in the world (23). Some of the richest individuals in this country rarely get time to sleep as they stay awake, struggling to increase their wealth. Coyle says that in the United States- unlike in other countries around the world- hard work pays (88).
People who spend a lot of time trying to solve problems get rewarded with wealth. On the other hand, those who try to find short-cuts in life through stealing, robbing, or breaking into people’s homes get killed or spend most of their lives in prison.
This is the reality in the United States. Unfortunately, the youths in the developing countries lack the opportunity to see this reality. They see America through the lenses of the camera. They know that America is great and as such, they want to emulate everything about it. The only way they have to know about this country they admire so much is through films. It is unfortunate that almost all the films presented to them give the true image of what is taking place in the United States (Coyle 88). They are meant to entertain by making the impossible things in real life possible.
A study by Hill and Jones, found that most of the criminal activities rampant in most of the slums in the developing economies around the world can be blamed on the films that children and young adults watch (51). At a very tender age, they are introduced to the world of violence. The action movies teach them that dialogue and consensus has no place in the world of heroes. They get to learn that the only way of making people respect you is to use violence (Gillespie and Hennessey 77).