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This study examined the implication of telenovelas on the academic performance and social life of University of Buea students. The study was done using quantitative research approach.

The approach permitted the research to gather quantifiable evidence from 70 students in the University of Buea (through a questionnaire) to address the research questions and hypotheses of this study.

The finding revealed that telenovelas have a dual sided effect on students’ social life and academic performance. It makes the student’s to be sociable, boost their self-esteem and makes them to adopt irresponsible and risky sexual behaviors. Academically, telenovelas, to an extent, does not have any influence to students’ academic performance.

The few respondents whose academic performances have been negatively affected stated that they sometime forgo reading their books because of they are watching telenovelas. It is recommended that students should avoid watching telenovelas contents that promotes irresponsibility and risky sexual behaviours.

From such telenovelas, students can be tutored wrongly on relationship issues. Also, students should give priority to their studies. They should use their evening periods to read and revise their lecture notes rather than using it to watch telenovelas.




1.1 Introduction

Telenovela is a television genre and a limited run serial dramatic programming. The word combines ‘tele’ short for television and ‘novela’, a Spanish and Portuguese word for “novel”.

Telenovelas rooted in Latin America, starting as graphic novel representations of classic literature and stories, later involving into radio programs. When soap companies started radio dramas to sell cleaning products to housewives in the 1930s, they established programs in Cuba as well.

Telenovelas are characterised by a continuing melodramatic story line and a permanent cast.

Telenovelas grew out of radionovelas, 15munites radio segments that were first broadcast in the 1930s. In the 1950s similar programming debuted on television in 30munite segment that were later extended to full hour.

By the 1970s, however, they had begun to include overblown plots, overt sexual content (usually including nudity), and subject chosen for controversy and scandal, such as incest, murder, and adultery. And telenovelas which was usually shown during the day was moved to prime-time slots.

In the 1990s and into the 21st century, many telenovelas were syndicated and broadcast around the world. As the growth of new media and the advantages surrounding it in the world and precisely in Cameroon, things and people keep changing.

In Cameroon, not only the western serials are watched but the home made serials but a great population focuses on the western serials especially the Philippians and Americans. This eventually has a lot to play is the student’s psychology, social life and academic performance.

 The study aims to establish the impact of telenovelas on the social life and academic performance of the students by analyzing the students of the University of Buea focusing more on the females since telenovela is regarded as the girl’s thing.

Students and extended audiences of telenovelas do not only depend on the television in watching serial, but they also involve the social media where everything is at their disposal.


1.2 Statement of research problem

Scholars and the general public have debated on the influence of television on society since the medium was invented. 

Its role on people’s lives has been described as all powerful, as an important cultural and social force. Worldwide, telenovelas have been accused of negative influence on audience.

They have also been accused of striving for sensation by seasoning their contents with sex, nudity promiscuity, bad language, promoting exhibitionism and of contributing to new lifestyle standards that prioritize publicity, glamour, competition and individualism (Feilitzen 2004).

Television programs are said to capitalize on young people’s creativity, passion and idealism, offering their valuable perspective on some of the most critical issues of our time (Shiela and Macy 2003)

Agreat number of people especially the female take pleasure in watching telenovelas which has greatly affected their thinking behaviours, accents and lifestyles.

Studies have shown that teenage girls tend to turn to the media on sex love and relationships than turning to their parents.

However, little is known actually about the actual impact of soap opera (telenovela) on the University of Buea students (audience) thus raising the question of the viewers involvement with the genre. Therefore, this made it appropriate and important to establish the actual impact that telenovelas have on the social life of the university student (especially the female student).

1.3 Research Objectives

1.3.1 General objectives

The general objective of this study is to investigate the impact of telenovelas on the social life and academic performances of the University of Buea, students.

1.3.2 specific objectives

The specific objectives of this study are as follows;

  1. To investigate the period and age when the students began being expose to telenovelas
  2. To find out their academic performance when they were not dedicated to telenovelas and present as they do watch it.
  3. To know the serial they students are watching now.
  4. To investigate the types of telenovelas the university students watch.
  5. To investigate factors that determined the students’ preference for various telenovelas
  6. To investigate on the impacts of telenovelas on the academic performances of students.
  7. To investigate the impact of telenovelas on the social life of the university students.
  8. To investigate the reason behind students watching telenovelas.
  9. To know the various times they tune to telenovelas in comparison to the times the open their books to study.

1.4 Research questions

The study seeks to provide answers to the following;

  1. Are telenovelas watched by the students of the university of Buea?
  2. Why do students prefer watching telenovelas than other genres or television channels.
  3. What impact does telenovelas have on the students’ social life and academic performance.
  4. What keeps the students glue to telenovelas since is so addicting

1.5Justification of the study

Telenovalas constitute a great deal of the general television amongst University of Buea students and they attract more viewers than another form of programming. Although no other form of television friction is attracting more viewers in more countries, more regular over a long period of time like telenovelas.

Particularly, it has been regarded as a waste-of-time women’s trash or sometimes adolescent trash.

Several persons have also accused the media for promoting social indecency by airing inappropriate content in the novellas hence exposing students to a world of unrealistic indulgences which they end up copying.

Currently, a great number of students are faced with a myriad of problems, from rising rate of obesity, obesity related diseases, mental and emotional disorder such as depression, substance abuse, suicidal attention disorder, mood disorder, confusion on relationships, unwanted pregnancies and sexual transmitted diseases among a host of other challenges (Kelleher et al.2000)

Nowadays, groups of students especially female students sit together in class just to share their views on the telenovelas watched, some even go as far as running away from school just to watch missed out episodes of the serial. This can be changed via this research.

However, the extent to which telenovelas influence the social life and academic performances of students in the long run is not known. This study therefore aimed to unveil how telenovelas impact the social and academic performance of students of the University of Buea.

1.6 The scope of the study

This study focuses on the social lives and academic performance of the students of the University of Buea not living out those telenovelas channels airing on citizens’ television.

The study is limited to the effects of telenovelas on the social lives and academic performance of the students.

1.7 Significance of the study

Findings from the study may be used by the media in Cameroon to give out good and necessary content to their audiences. This study will also enable students to put in efforts to work hard socially and academically to be watched tomorrow than wasting time watching what others have worked hard for.

This research should help educate the public on the effects of telenovelas on the social lives and academic performance of students of the University of Buea It will serve as a guide in the further researches.

This research is aimed at confirming or refuting that if the students’ social behaviour is distorted by the content they are exposed to on telenovelas and to help stakeholders in the University of Buea to come up with correcting measures to deal with the impact of exposure of wrong information from the telenovelas.

Telenovelas seems to consume students’ time than academics especially during evenings. This research is to help address that and give possible solutions that can help in the academic performances and social lives of students

1.8 Definition of key terms

1.8.1 Soap opera- This is a serial drama on television or radios that features related story line dealing with the lives of multiple characters and typically focus heavily on emotional relationships.

1.8.2 Television- A television (TV) is a system for transmitting visual images and sound that are reproduced on screens, chiefly used in broadcast programs for entertainment, information, and education. The television set has become a commonplace in many households, businesses, and institutions. It is definitely a major vehicle for advertising.  Television comes from the words tele and vision.

1.8.3 Telenovela-Telenovela is a television genre and a limited run serial dramatic programming. The word combines ‘tele’ short for television and ‘novela’, a Spanish and Portuguese word for “novel”

1.8.4 Student-A student is primarily a person who enrolled in a school or other educational institution who attends classes in a course to attain the appropriate level of mastery of a subject under the guidance of an instructor and who devotes time outside class to do whatever activities the instructor assigns that are necessary either for class presentation or submit evidence of progress towards that mastery. Summarily, a student is anyone who applies themselves to the intensive intellectual engagement with some matter necessary to master it as part of some practical affair in which such mastery is basic or decisive.





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