The Role of Media in Creation of Role Models among the Youth

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2012

30 Pages, Grade: none








1.1 Background
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Objective
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Organization of the study

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Background of the Media in Kenya
2.3 Theoretic framework
2.3.1 Social learning theory
2.3.2 Media framing
2.3.3 McLuhan’s Media Determinism
2.4 Roles of the media in creation of role models
2.4.1 Creates a platform for youths and role models to exchange ideas
2.4.2 Acts as a source of information about the role model’s life
2.4.3 Educates the youths on entrepreneurship
2.4.4 Encourages positive socialization
2.5 overview of literature

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Data collection methods and tools
3.3.1Self-administered questionnaire
3.3.2 Key Informant Interviews (KII)
3.3.3 Focus Group Discussion (FGD)
3.3.4 Existing Literature on youth and the media
3.4 Data collection process
3.5 Data control, processing and analysis
3.6 Limitation of the study

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Analysis and interpretation
4.3 Summary

5.1 Summary
5.2 Recommendations
6.0 References


This research is an investigation on media influence among the youth when it comes to choosing role models.

The study is critical because in this liberalised electronic media era, it is important to understand from the youth what they watch, read or tweet and what they gain from their choice of media channels.

The study employed the survey method to collect quantitative and qualitative data on the uses of media channels among the youth and the gratification they achieve when it comes to identifying role models.

The study is informed by the uses and gratification theory and how it is related to other media uses theories. The general purpose of the research was to look at the role of media in creation of role models among the youths.

The researcher looked at a theoretical framework to contextualise the uses and gratification theory before reviewing various literatures on this subject to put the present study in perspective. The literature revolved around previous researches on audience studies with particular reference to the relationship between the youth and the media. In the methodology, the researcher used self-administered questionnaire with open-ended and closed-ended questions to youths in campus in Nairobi.

A focus group discussion was concluded in one of the sampled campus in order to validate the data collected through self-administered questionnaires. Three key informant interviews were also conducted with programme producers from three leading Television stations in Nairobi.

The data was analysed and the research findings indicated that most young people get or identify with their role models through different media channels also get entertainment and learn alot from the media. The researcher concluded that the media fulfils the youth’s affective and cognitive needs.


1.1 Background to the study.

During the era of media controls the government censored most of information through the media in order to protect the youth from negative influence from foreign cultures. But now the audience has the freedom to choose what they want to read or watch or hear from different media channels. The study is therefore is set out to find out specifically the role of the media in role model creation among the youths.

In Kenya the media has raised concern among social critics, religious groups and parents over its different information, some of which are often seen to be ‘unAfrican’. Since the liberation of the airwaves in the country in 1999, the privately owned commercial media channels such as television stations and radio channels have created a great platform for the youths to identify, interact and learn from their role models.

This study looked at mass media consumption in a liberalised media environment. This is the time when the government has relaxed the rules on what is aired on different media.

Although society views everyone as individuals, we are all influenced by the celebrity or role models culture in the media because it shapes us our beliefs, views and morals in life. This idea includes role model influence, parental influence and the impact of nonprofit organizations. Role models influence the attitudes and behaviors of many people, especially teenagers and young adults. This is shown when youths today portray their body image to mimic the media’s idea of the ideal size. Some youths go as far as developing different eating habit in order to look like celebrities. Who youths look up to as a role model can determine what kind of person they become, including their appearance, attitude and goals in life. Celebrities are not the only people who act as a role model for youths. Friends and parents also play an important role in the youth’s life and journey to success. Acquiring interpersonal and community relationships instead of only possessing pure individualism helps people, such as celebrities, stay grounded. Youths need a positive support system to back them up and to succeed, instead of succumbing to the peer pressure in the media. Some people lose sight of what a good role model is because they get too worried about their self image relating to that of the celebrity culture. Youths need to look up to those celebrities who do charity work and are involved in nonprofit organizations. Many celebrities take part in doing charitable work whether it is from donating millions to a specific research to actually partaking in nonprofit organizational events. The positive feedback from the charities keeps celebrities motivated to participate in helping numerous organizations. Who youths are influenced by can determine who they become in the future. On the journey of growing up, people are not alone and have others beside them influencing, guiding and showing them there is someone beyond one’s self.

1.2 Problem statement

The study sets out to investigate how the media helps the youth to identify their role models and how it links them. This study is also meant to guide debates on advantages and disadvantages of media in creation of role models among the youth. Those arguing for or against media in creation of role models amongst the youth will have a clear picture of what the youth consumes from different media channels and for what reasons.

1.3 Objectives

The overall objective of this study was to investigate how different media channels help young people to identify their role models and linking them.

1.4 Research questions.

In view of the above study objective, the study seeks to find the answers of the following questions:

1. What are the available platforms for the youth to interact with their role models?
2. What are the ways in which the role models can use to empower the youth?
3. How do the media encourage positive socialization between the youth and their role models?
4. What are the kinds of information can the youth get from the media concerning role models?

1.5 Justification and Importance

This is important to parents as it will enable them to know what their teenage children consume from different media channels and how it affects them when it comes to choosing role models in their lives. Writing in the Daily Nation letter to Editor, Isaiah Cherutich (2006) Said parents should not abdicate their role of teaching and counselling their children, leaving them to totally consume everything from the media.

Policy makers will also find this study important, now that the country has fully-fledged Ministry of Youth Affair. In the words of Harold Mendelson (cited in Katz and Blunder, 1974), scientific research in mass communication is crucial for policy formation on the media. He posited that integration of audience analysis and the study of media related information about them allows for the development of policies filling important gaps in the media enterprises. According to Mendelson, social science research can provide a basis for changing media policy in line with the media related needs, expectations uses and gratification of particular audiences rather than serving as endorsement of the status quo.

Many scholars agree that media has various effects on its audience, especially the youth when it comes to identify themselves with certain figures as role models. Albert Bandura (1977), argued that different media channels such as television is a source of social learning. People learn behaviours good or bad by watching what other people or their role models do it on television.

According to Schramm et al. (1963), by understanding what youths consume from different media channels, we are able to know the risk the media is likely to have on them, mostly when it comes to choosing role models. This view was shared by Amenyeonu (1995), who warned that the rapidly changing media environment requires that different media channel managers understand their audience and provide programmes that satisfy their peculiar needs.

Findings from this study will, therefore, guide the youths on how to identify the right role models from different media channels. The youth spend most of their time in social networks and other forms of electronics such as televisions, video games and movies. Examples of social networks include facebook, twitter and YouTube as well as movie exchanging sites such as Flickster and LinkedIn a site which connects employers and possible employees.

Despite such innovations being a positive thing to the society, they have made the youth to be slaves of technology and lack guidance from people who have made it in life and instead opt to emulate what the sites dictate.

1.6 Operation of key terms.

Uses and gratification- How people use the mass media to satisfy their various needs.

Global village- the viewing that technology has made it possible to communicate to people all over the world as if one is addressing a village gathering.

Media effects- The belief and practices developed after exposure to the mass media messages

Social learning- learning new practices by observing other people do them either physically or on television.

Popular culture- values that the youths copy from advertising, the entertainment industry and the mass media.

Media framing- the way the media tilts news coverage so that it becomes the universal view.

Youth culture – the common behaviors of your people that is characterized by love for entertainment and tendency to rebel from social norms.


2.1 Introduction

This chapter opens by tracing the path taken by the mass media in Kenya since Independence in 1963 to date. It also focuses on the youth, role models and the media as individual topics in a bid to understand how each is a contributing factor to this research.

Main review section

The media after independence

During the first three decades of independence the broadcast media was fully owned and controlled by the state. Most media channels such as television and radio programmes were selected with the aim of maintaining status quo. The airwaves were liberalized in the 1990s, paving the way for establishment of several media channels in the country.

This chapter also looks at various literatures on studies conducted on media uses and gratification and media role in creation of role models among the youth, which is the basis of this study. Although in Kenya such resources are scarce, studies conducted in other parts of the world have addressed the subject well enough to be applicable to the Kenya situation. The chapter begins by looking at the background of the uses and gratifications theory and other media theories that influence or are influenced by this theory for the purpose of the study. It also looks at the roles of media in creation of role models among the youth as outlined by various media scholars. The relationship about the media and the youth culture as an attempt to look at how young people relate to different media channel is also explored. The chapter also traces the origins of the uses and gratifications studies by reviewing major studies of 1944 and 1960, which have to date remained milestone in communication research.

Although there has have been debates in the mass media about the relationship between the role of mass media in creation of the role models among the youths, there has never been a scientific research on how the media helps the youths to identify with the right role models. The objective of this research was therefore to fill this knowledge gap by making a scientific enquiry on the role of the media in creation of role models among the youth.

The relationship between different media channels and its audience has been a subject of debate among communication scholars for more than 40 years. When different media channels such as radio stations and television channels were introduced into the American society many parents were worried about the impact this new phenomenon could have on the lives of their children. They were particularly concerned that the violence that was initially confined to cinema theatres was coming into their living rooms.

This concern became a national issue; forcing the US government to commission a massive program of researches to study the relationship between media and the growing violence in America in the 1960s Lowery and (DeFeur, 1995). The

Researchers’ findings were unanimous that this televised violence could have a negative effect on children.

It has been argued by mass communication scholars that youthful audiences learn bad behaviors like aggressiveness by observing others do it on different media channel.

However, according to other scholars, media is an important tool of learning for the youth. According to this argument, there is considerable evidence that youth can learn and do learn from media. According to Tan (1980, P288)c “young people exposure to to television newscasts and the public affairs programmers, for example, causes them to known more about public affairs”.


Excerpt out of 30 pages


The Role of Media in Creation of Role Models among the Youth
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
558 KB
Media is a powerful enigmatic force that a society cannot fight or wish away. This paper therefore seeks to guide us to keenly analyze the media and understand its mechanism in influencing our youth's thoughts about themselves in behavior and personality. No one would want to see the media as a Trojan Horse hiding societal ills and instabilities. It is in knowing what is "media" that we embrace the Digital era without fear of uncertainties.
Media, Youth, Behavior, Role models, Culture, Society, Communication, Social learning, Popular culture, sociology, change, globalization, pop culture, facebook, twitter, social sites, fashion, teenage, teen, trends, the media, medium, mass media, coverage, the limelight, overexposure, fanfare, voice, saturation coverage, news, television, radio, social media, publicity, juornalism, journalist, magazine, reporter, revolution, evolution
Quote paper
Teddy Kimathi (Author), 2012, The Role of Media in Creation of Role Models among the Youth, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: The Role of Media in Creation of Role Models among the Youth

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free