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Soap operas spearheading social decay

By Hassan S.

The publisher

Mr. Hassan

Every day, after school, most of the children arrive in their homes and in the majority of cases; they start by turning on the TV and start to watch programs such as soap operas.

Children and teenagers and also many adults nowadays spend a lot of hours in front of the television watching those programs that have bad consequences in their behavior. The soap opera is a television genre made for entertainment, but in many cases it has a negative effect on society because people copy the behaviors they see.

An article in the New York Times explains that in the soap operas writers develop fictional characters that model positive or negative behaviors, and through their stories and struggles, audiences learn about issues ranging from domestic abuse to personal bankruptcy.

Successful soaps tend to be smartly written, sexy and replete with plot twists and love triangles. In the best-case scenario, the show becomes popular, and viewers begin to incorporate some of the themes into their lives.

It would be more helpful to broadcast cultural content and that way it could be a way of teaching good things to the new generations.

But that is not the case now because, for example, we can see that in soup operas we are exposed to topics associated with drug trafficking, prostitution, murder, being inhuman to your parents, love triangles, extra marital affairs, teenage sex and pregnancies and all forms of injustices all the time. So if that is what we want our children and teenagers to learn and emulate, then it’s OK but obviously that is not what we are looking for.

Our Children and teenagers are the ones who will change the future of our society. So, instead of teaching them about our culture, practices and good norms, they will be striving to be the future Alejandros and Camilas.

Each and every community has its own culture and practices that identifies it. Since the soap operas are set in specific countries that have their own culture, you’d expect the actors to conform to that.

So when you watch them, and try to practice what you see, your culture will be at stake. You’ll lose your identity and the ones you emulate will not accept you as one of their own.

What are the effects of soap operas on our children and youth?

  • For children and teenagers, soap operas can cause bad consequences in their behavior such as drug and substance abuse, violent behavior, sex before marriage, extra marital affairs e.t.c.
  • Children and teenagers spend a lot of time watching soap operas almost every day and in the process they get no time for meaningful activities such as doing homework, assisting parents in household chores, daily prayers e.t.c. No wonder our kids perform dismally in National examinations.
  • Young people are feeling identified with the characters of the programs. They tend to behave like them i.e. the way they talk, walk and behave.
  • Since the program is continuous and runs serially, they have to follow each and every episode lest they be caught off guard when they meet with their peers to discuss who did what and who said what. As a result, they waste their energy and creativity trying to analyze what they see on screen.
  • The addictive effect that soap operas have makes them to talk about nothing other than the series.
  • Early love, materialism and unrealistic fantasies, laziness, irresponsibility, eroticism and violence also add to these negative effects.

These things can be really bad for the upbringing of our kids because they are almost all the time watching TV. So that is what they learn and what they are going to do later when they grow up. We talk of kids and teenagers because they are the most influenced by the soup operas.

I have also seen instances of adults misbehaving as a result of emulating what they see on screen. For example, a friend of mine whose name I cannot publish to safeguard his privacy was once confronted by his wife because he was not treating her like a queen as she sees on screen.

In conclusion, let me request our youth and parents to tame this intruder in our sitting rooms. Be wary of the threat posed by soaps.

NB: The list of effects is not exhaustive, if you have more, please share with us though our comments section below.

 The writer is the publisher, and can be reached on




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NepJournal is a progressive media initiative that aims to serve as the leading space where North Eastern Kenya’s leading thinkers, analysts and writers provide you, our readers, with new perspectives on all issues affecting the region. We aim to publish daring perspectives with original content, and beautifully written pieces, to give voice to writers and thinkers so as to inform, educate and empower our people.

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