BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Child freedom as a phenomenon has received global attention. This is because the long sought world development cannot be achieved without the children being given adequate care and the rights they deserve. Olusola (2010 p. 203) states that “children are neither the possession of parents nor of the state or are they mere people in the making they have equal status as members of the human family”. The child occupies a unique and very important position in the African family unit; the child is the hope for the future of any given society, a tender plant whose components (cognitive, social, moral, physical etc.) need to be holistically developed for proper adaptation to the society.
According to Ubom (2004 p. 149)
“Every child is seen as an adult in the making, it is the duty of the parents to love and nurture the child; to give the child orientations and education on the values of life, morality, love, discipline, hard work and other responsibilities which make the child to live successfully and be useful to the community”
To further support this view Awosola and Omoera (2008 p. 125) states that “childhood is recognized as a period of sensitivity requiring special care, attention and protection”. Experience has shown that this group (children) that requires special care, love and attention are the most vulnerable, powerless and neglected members of the society. This is evidenced by the way children are used for one form of labour or the other.
It is worthy of note that for the child to reach maturity, gain independence and be a useful member of the society he must have passed through the process of socialization. Socialization according to Ugande (2011 p. 28) is “the provision of a common form of knowledge which enables people to operate as effective members of the society in which they live and which fosters social cohesion and awareness thereby permitting active involvement in public life”.
Unfortunately adults and parents entrusted with the care for children seem to have ignored their roles on the excuse of poverty or lack of knowledge of the rights of children. This situation is prevalent majorly in rural areas where majority of parents are illiterates or low income earners and it calls for the assessment of the extent rural radio has been used to enlighten the people on the rights of the child seeing radio as a medium proven to be more effective for sensitizing rural populace.
According to the National Child Protection Council (undated: 9, cited in Hawkins, McDonald, Davison and Coy 1994): ‘Prevention of abuse involves changing those individual and community attitudes, beliefs and circumstances which allow the abuse to occur.’
The media play a significant role in forming and influencing people’s attitudes and behaviour. Child abuse and the media (Goddard and Saunders 2001), drew attention to the essential role of the media in increasing society’s awareness of, and response to, child abuse and neglect. Of particular note was the part played by news and features that reported on specific child abuse cases, research and intervention strategies. Such media attention to child abuse has, at times, positively influenced public, professional and political responses to the circumstances in which children and young people find themselves. Understanding media influences, and how to use the media constructively, may thus be an essential tool for those who advocate for children, young people, and their families (see Brawley 1995).
In addition to news stories, feature articles, and investigative journalism, sporadic mass media education and prevention campaigns are launched. These campaigns usually endeavour to broaden community knowledge of child abuse and neglect, to influence people’s attitudes towards children and young people, and to change behaviours that contribute to, or precipitate, the problem of child abuse and neglect in our communities.
For several reasons, however, the effectiveness of these campaigns remains contentious. Primarily, the effectiveness of mass media and especially the radio in the prevention of child abuse and neglect is debatable. For example, Rayner (1996) argues that ‘media campaigns are bloody expensive’ and their impact is difficult to determine. Expensive media campaigns may be hard to justify in a political climate where limited funds and resources are provided to address children’s needs. Further, McDevitt (1996: 270) cites O’Keefe and Reed (1990: 215) to note that: ‘At best, the media are “effective at building citizen awareness of an issue” but more complex attitudinal or behavioural change requires “more direct forms of citizen contact and intervention”.’
Others argue, however, that mass media campaigns and media coverage of the abuse and neglect of children perform an important and significant role in placing issues such as child abuse on the public and political agenda. Lindsey (1994: 163) maintains that: ‘Media has a central role in mediating information and forming public opinion. The media casts an eye on events that few of us directly experience and renders remote happenings observable and meaningful.’
To further concretize global efforts and attention on child development and protection against any form of abuse or mistreatment, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was passed on November 20th 1989 by the United Nations General Assembly. The instrument which is in three (3) parts with fifty four (54) articles opens with a preamble. The preamble states the aims and objectives which the convention seeks to accomplish for the child. It states: Recognising that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow in a family environment in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.
In Africa, the Organisation of Africa Unity (now African Union) at its Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa in 1990 adopted a Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child. The charter which derives from the United Nations Convention takes cognizance of the socio cultural peculiarities of the African Child. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990) notes: That the situation of most African Children, remains critical due to the unique factors of their socio-economic, cultural, traditional and developmental circumstances, natural disasters, armed conflicts, exploitation and hunger and on account of the child’s physical and mental immaturity, he/she needs special safeguards and care.
To further the mobilization of attention on the African Child, Nigeria and the Rights of the Child (1999) reports that: The Organization of Africa Unity (OAU) subsequently proclaimed in Abuja 1991, the 1990s as the “Decade of the Africa Child” and set June 16 of every year as the “Day of the African Child”. The documents also reports that every child must be protected against all forms of exploitation, indecent or degrading treatment including child labour, abuse and torture, sexual exploitation, sale, abduction and drug abuse. It goes without saying that every nation who is a signatory to the convention is expected to make concerted effort at protecting children against all forms of abuses, through the enforcement of relevant instruments. Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for the right of every individual to dignity of his/her person. This section further prohibits “all forms of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, and slavery, forced or compulsory labour”. In other words, it ensures the child’s right to dignity of his/her person. Accordingly, children should not be subjected to any form of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, forced or compulsory labour.
Despite these provisions in the United Nations Convention and the Nigerian Constitution, children in Nigeria suffer cruelty, abuses, inhuman and degrading treatment, child labour and some are forced into prostitution (Itat 1999). These saddening experiences have strong emotional impact on the victim. Often times, abused and neglected children are overwhelmed and shattered. This usually results in emotional imbalance which eventually manifest in delinquency and deviance.
In Nigeria, for instance, youth crime and breeding of street children are direct consequences of child abuse and neglect. But a situation where the government ratifies international conventions it cannot enforce locally is intolerable. A situation where the Child Rights Bill is passed and mere lip-service is paid to its implementation amounts to hypocrisy and apathy as far as issues of child abuse and neglect is concerned. Ademokun (2002) observed that “It is common knowledge that children in Nigeria are bludgeoned into child labour and prostitution by highly placed persons under the guise of philanthropy.” Given these circumstances, the average Nigerian does not seem to be aware of the provisions of the Child Rights Bill needless to say the instruments before it. It is even more worrisome in the light of the fact that most forms of youth violence, unrest, riots are linked with child abuse and neglect.
The media are undoubtedly persuasive instruments in man’s struggle for self liberation and development. In line with this, Steinberg (1972) advanced that the mass media select and bring to waiting multitudes a constant flow of detail related to those fruitful dialogues of differences and concordance upon which free societies thrive. With respect to child rights issue, the media most especially radio medium has been used as weapon of awareness creation.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The issue of child rights has in recent years received both national and international attention. Worthy of note is the reliance on the media to inform, educate and sensitize the populace on the provisions for the protection of child rights.
Despite the attention given to this phenomenon experience has shown that children in this part of the country are still subjected to various forms of child abuse. Children are still used to raise income to fend for themselves and to provide for the family. This situation is blamed on ignorance, poverty and even the children’s urge to be on their own.
Also, In Nigeria, the use of media in the in creating societal awareness of child abuse has been demonstrated. However, the challenges facing the use of media as a tool for best practice in creating societal awareness of child abuse have not been fully substantiated. This is due to limited evidence to validate the effective use of radio media intervention in societal child abuse awareness (Holder &. Treno, 1997).
Furthermore, Poor capacity building while funders feel extremely disappointed and discouraged to invest in subsequent awareness projects these problems have lead to lack of societal fight against child abuse and eventual community impoverishment.
It is to this effect that this research is embarked upon to determine the influence of radio awareness against societal child abuse: a case study of bond fm and radio continental.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The main aim of the study is the influence of radio awareness against societal child abuse: a case study of bond fm and radio continental. Other objectives of the study include:
1. to determine the relationship between radio awareness and societal child abuse.
2. to investigate the reasons behind the practices of child abuse.
3. to ascertain the role of bond fm and radio continental in the move to curb societal child abuse.
4. to examine the negative effects of child abuse on children on their psychological well being.
5. to proffer solutions to curbing or eradicating of child abuse in the society.
1. what is the relationship between radio awareness and societal child abuse?
2. what are the reasons behind the practices of child abuse?
3. what is the role of bond fm and radio continental in the move to curb societal child abuse?
4. what are the negative effects of child abuse on children on their psychological well being?
5. what are the solutions to curbing or eradicating of child abuse in the society?
STATEMENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
1. H0: radio awareness has no significant influence against societal child abuse.
2. H1: radio awareness has significant influence against societal child abuse.
SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
It is hoped that the findings of this study would provide further evidence to validate objective measurement of radio impact in creating societal awareness against child abuse practice with the aim of supporting the view that the use of media could be central to successful societal awareness and curbing of child abuse.
The finding of this research study will provide child care practitioners the much needed evidence to support the effectiveness of Media advocacy and encourage them to explore the opportunity in their future projects.
The study will create a huge societal awareness to the negative effect of child abuse and how it can entirely effect on the social and psychological wellbeing of then child.
Finally, this study will establish grounds for further research in certain areas which obviouslyü call for further exploration.
SCOPE OF STUDY
The study will cover the influence of radio awareness against societal child abuse: a case study of bond fm and radio continental
LIMITATION OF STUDY
1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Influence: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.
Radio: Radio is a wireless transmission which only has the audio element. Thus radio can only be listened to. This nature of radio makes the production of programmes cost effective because fewer equipment is required than television.
Awareness: Awareness is the state of being conscious of something. More specifically, is the ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be cognizant of events
Against: in opposition to. Or oppose to an idea, opinion or view
Society: the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.
Child abuse: physical maltreatment or sexual molestation of a child. Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, and/or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child or children, especially by a parent or a caregiver. Child abuse may include any act or failure to act by a parent or a caregiver that results in actual or potential harm to a child, and can occur in a child’s home, or in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with.