Influence of mass media on adolescents' expression of sexuality and sexual behaviour in Nairobi Province, Kenya
M'imaita, Joshua Gitonga
MetadataShow full item record
Kenya has had a rapid expansion of media whose large proportion of features is Western oriented. This, in turn, has influenced the behaviour and attitude of adolescents especially their sexual behaviour rendering then vulnerable to STI/HIV/AIDS, early sexual debut adolescence pregnancy, abortion and school drop out. This study, aimed at establishing the influence of mass media on expression of sexual behaviour among high school adolescents in Nairobi Province. It sought to: identify the different types of mass media that provide adolescent with sexual information; factors that determine accessibility of materials and, determine the relationship between access to mass media and adolescents' expressed sexual behaviour. A sample of 418 adolescents in selected high schools participated in this study. Self-administered questionnaires were used to collect the required information. Focus group discussions and interviews for teachers and parents were organized to solicit qualitative information. Descriptive data analysis was done by use of the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS). Chi-square test of independence was used to establish the relationship between access to mass media and the expressed sexual behaviour of adolescents. The findings are presented by use of frequency tables, pie charts and graphs. Most of the respondents were boys (57%), with majority aged between 16 and 17 years. The study shows that magazines are the most popular media that provide sexual information (42.6%). It is further revealed that though magazines are popular, more girls (63.2%) than boys (36.8%) had received sexual information from the television. Information accessed through the media by adolescents included; pornographic picture and text (87.6%), dressing and fashion (63.4%), sex styles (54.2%) and contraceptive use (25.6%). More pocket allowance on the part of the adolescents seemed to increase the frequency of material access. The respondents whose parents received monthly payment accessed the materials more frequently (55.5%) than those whose parents were not on monthly payments. Approximately 46.2% of the respondents who accessed materials more frequently were day scholars compared to 17.2% of the boarders. This study found that half of the respondents (50.7%) had experienced sexual intercourse. Among the adolescents who claimed to have sexual intercourse, 63% did not use condom during their first sexual intercourse. Despite the risk associated with multiple sexual partners, it was found that 54% of the respondents had had more than one sexual partner in the last one year. The results revealed that the majority (55.6%) of the adolescents were influenced into sexual debut by pornographic materials (= 5.726, df = 1, p = 0.017**). A relationship was found to exist between watching pornographic movies and sex demand from a sexual partner afterwards (=5.365, df=1, p = 0.018**). A further relationship was also found to exist between the frequency of material access and non-condom use during adolescents' first sexual intercourse ((=168.976, df=1, p =0.000***). The frequency of material access was found to determine the number of sexual partners among the school going adolescents ((=165.040, df=1, p = 0.000***). Based on the findings of this study, it is concluded that the mass media can significantly influence adolescents' sexual behaviour with the magazine having the greatest effect. It is the recommendation of this study that the government should formulate regulations to control pornographic materials, which are abundant in the streets of Nairobi. Further research has been proposed to find out why parents and teachers have continued to shy away from the task of addressing sexuality issues affecting adolescents.