The Saudi Arabian society has undergone major changes through the use of the Video (VCR/ DVD/ VCD) and television (TV). These influences come as a result of watching many hours of foreign cultures on their Video machines and the TV sets. These influences of the Video and TV may affect family ties, family size, studying habits, friendship concept and the use of leisure time.
For example, Saudi viewers watch different life styles from their own on the above noted media which may have negative effects on their social beliefs.
The influence of watching foreign cultures on these media either at the individual or group level may create more than one sub-culture within one society. However, this study intends to examine some of the effects of foreign cultures through the Video and TV on the Saudi society culture as perceived by Saudi undergraduate students in Saudi Arabia.
The primary focus of this study is to examine the perception of Saudi students of the effect of foreign video’s culture and television on their concept of life, as result of watching many hours of foreign cultures.
In this regards, the study attempts to explore the impact of foreign cultures upon the Saudi society culture through the above mentioned media. In this connection, the researcher will study whether the effects of these foreign cultures (American, Egyptian and Indian) will have a reinforcement or reevaluation of the present Saudi concept of family ties, family size, friendship, studying habits, and the use of leisure time.
The importance of this study relies upon the fact that it reflects to what extent foreign culture have affected the Saudi society culture, as a result of watching many foreign movies and Programs on the VCR/ DVD/ VCD and TV. This study may show to what degree the assumed influences of the foreign cultures through the VCR/ DVD/ VCD and TV has on the following social variables: Family ties, family size, the friendship concept, studying habits and the use of leisure time.
This study may help to make Saudis aware of the magnitude of the negative effect of the VCR/ DVD/ VCD and TV on their life style. This awareness can be introduced in a “discussion panel” on the Saudi TV, where the individual members of the panel explore what is good and useful and what is bad and damaging to an Islamic Society such as Saudi Arabia. This in turn may help reduce the negative effect upon the Saudi social culture.
It should be noted that while most of the previous studies on the subject have been conducted on the impact of the use of the VCR and TV as the only available media on one hand, this study considers the advancement in the technology which have created other sophisticated media such as DVD/ VCD and others. In addition, this study may help the Ministry of Culture and Information to create appropriate guidelines for using the VCR/ DVD/ VCD, TV and other advanced future media in Saudi Arabia.
VCR: “Video Cassette Recorder… A magnetic recording and
playback machine. Generally used for recording and viewing full-motion video, but useful (when adapted) as a data backup device.”. DVD: “Digital Versatile Disk.” (Formerly Digital Video Disk.) Same size as a CD but stores seven times CD capacity on a single side. DVDs can also be double-sided or dual layer. Today most DVDs are used to display full-length commercial motion pictures.”.
VCD: “Stands for ‘Video Compact Disc’ and basically it is a CD that contains moving pictures and sound. Video-CD or Video Compact Disk. A VCD looks identical to a DVD. Two VCDs are required per film (as only about 70 minutes fits on each VCD). The quality is no better (and sometimes slightly worse) than a new VHS tape.”.
TV: Two Saudi Arabian Governmental Television Channels: The
First Channel broadcasts in Arabic and the second Channel broadcasts in English.
Impact: “The effect of a communications medium on its audience.”.
Saudi Students: Saudi students who are studying at the
undergraduate level and are enrolled at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at the time of conducting this study.
Culture: “The customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious or social group.”.
Commercial on the VCR/ DVD/ VCD: An advertisement displayed
on VCR/ DVD/ VCD movies which informs or announces other movies for rental or purchase purposes at video stores.
Limitation of the Study: This study represents the perception of Saudi undergraduate students who are enrolled at King Abdulaziz University during the period of conducting this study. Although the result of this study does not represent the perception of all Saudis in Saudi Arabia, this study could give some indications about the perception of Saudi students toward the impact of foreign cultures on the Saudi society through the use of VCR/ DVD/ VCD and TV.
Research Questions: The primary research question in this study seeks to investigate; Do Saudi students perceive that the video (VCR/ DVD/ VCD) affects their society’s culture? Specifically, the following questions will be addressed.
For this study, the literature review will cover three major aspects of the topic: A. International concern of Media Imperialism. B. Impact of the VCR/ DVD/ VCD on Saudi Society. C. Impact of the TV on the Saudi Society.
A. International Concern of Media Imperialism
The foreign culture’s effect is the concern of many scholars in international communication and mass media. This concern comes as a result of the phenomena of the flow of information from the new world to the third world. This situation makes third world countries concerned about this problem in their agenda.
For example, chin Chua Lee (1979) in his book Media Imperialism Reconsidered, showed this concern.
The growing salience of the media’s cultural functions may be linked with changing milieu of international concerns and the corresponding third world agenda. Internationally, it appears that the struggles for national independence by the new nations during the 1950s and the early 1960s have
been shifted to the contemporary “north-south” economic confrontation of the 1970s and the cultural media conflict which began to unfold in the last Few years – Correspondingly, on the surface, third world nations seem to have shifted priorities from national and integration and socioeconomic modernization to cultural expression . However, the problem of imperialism media is “the imbalanced global media flow of information came to be called cultural imperialism” .
Many third world countries are importing a huge amount of TV production each year such as programs, movies, music and educational programs. The major purpose of importing these programs is to help the development plans in third world courtiers and to entertain their citizens.
For example, importing 50 percent of television programs are the following nations: Brazil, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria and Nigeria . Another example of the concern of imperialism media is by the Canadian government, whose concern is the effect of foreign TV programs on their people identify. In this case, Canada, being a large country though it is not an underdeveloped country, faces this problem as well.
The dilemma Canada faces in broadcasting illustrates basic paradox of a major industrialized nation that is torn between a search for selfidentity and a yearning for larger than nation identity, between nationalism and pan-American, and between protectionism and
This may be due to technological advancement which was started in the western countries. “Television, as one form of popular culture originally evolved from the technological development and social adoption of the west.”.
In the Middle East, the effect of mass media gets attention to some scholars in international communications and mass media because of the high importing of foreign TV programs and movies from the United States. Specifically, Saudi Arabia is a good example to be studied for the following major reasons: First, this country imports a high percentage of foreign movies and TV programs.
Second, this country is one of the foremost countries in the world to use the VCR/DVD/VCD heavily. This is due to the absence of varied television programs and ratio of the small population to this wealthy country.
Saudi Arabia’s enormous oil wealth contrasts with its very brief history of modernization. While behind its more northerly Arab neighbors in terms of development, it is still ahead of the small Gulf States. Saudi Arabia also illustrates the dilemmas of the politically conservative regimes in the Arab world, which seek to maintain Arab traditions .
B. Impact of the VCR/ DVD/ VCD on Saudi Society
According to Boyd and Srtaubhaar (1985), “Whether media is used for fostering a sense of nationalism, or supporting instruction in school, videos are generally organized to support cultural, educational and
The Impact of Foreign Cultures Through the Video …economic development, even thought they are not always used for that.” .
This part of the paper explores the impact of the VCR/ DVD/ VCD on the Saudi society by attempting to answer the following questions:
Home video (VCR/ DVD/ VCD) are very popular in Saudi Arabia. They bring a strong competition to Saudi television due to the Saudis’ needs of
They want to see a variety of Saudi TV channels, which has caused Saudis to watch the VCR/ DVD/ VCD heavily. Half of Saudi homes that own televisions have VCR/ DVD/ VCD. In Saudi Arabia, people rent or buy many movies from video clubs and stores. In addition, they exchange VCR/ DVD/ VCD or duplicate home videos. Historically, in 1967, a few Saudis started purchasing one-half inch Sony reel-to-reel recorders. Then in 1972, Sony imported U.S. standard three-quarter inch U-matic cassette recorders.
These recorders were used to play back television programs and prerecorded films. Most of these materials were recorded on the air in the United States or Europe. By the late 1970s, Half-Inch Beta and VHS Recorders were marketed in the Kingdom. The affluent Saudi society was able to offer VCR/ DVD/ VCD to many homes. Robert Azzi (1980) told of asking his Saudi driver if he wanted to go home to watch a soccer match on television.
The driver, in explaining that he did not wish to depart for home, said, “Oh, no–my wife will make a video recording of it for me.” A former Saudi Arabian minister has referred to his country as the first video tape society .
In 1974, an American working for the Sony Company started selling Sony U-matic video recorders that used a three-quarter inch cassette with a maximum playing time of one hour. Following that year, the half-inch machines arrived at an approximate cost of $2,500.00. By 1981, the company had made two million VCRs, VCR dealers in the Arabian-Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia bought 400,000 units. By 1980, the VHS machine became popular among Saudis .
A survey was done by Bakhadir (1981) in Eastern Saudi Arabia about owning a VHS or Beta machine. The findings of this study showed 76.6 percent of VCR owners had VHS machines. On the other hand, the ownership of U-matic and Beta was 21.3 percent. This study reflected the situation in Saudi Arabia. While the price of the VHS was becoming more reasonable and a lot of Saudis paid for the machine. In 1982, 61.4 percent of Saudi television homes owned VCRs with about 17 percent owning more than one machine .
Abdellatif Al-Oofy (1986) conducted a study on the impact of the videocassette recorder on young Saudis television viewing habits and life styles. One of the major cities, Medina, had the highest proportion in male ownership of VCRs and Riyadh, the Capital of Saudi Arabia, had the highest ownership of VCRs by females, respectively 88% and 84%.
Moreover, Al-Oofy found that 76% of males and 83% of females owned VCRs. We can notice from this study about owning VCRs in Saudi Arabia, that there is a high percentage of owning VCRs among Saudi students in Saudi Arabia. Although those students consider that they do not have enough time to watch the VCR, a high percentage of them are owners of VCR .
According to Abdellatif Al-Oofy’s (1986) study of the impact of the videocassette recorder on young Saudi television viewing habits and lifestyle, there is a growing influence of the VCR programs and the way people linguistically communicate. Egyptian movies, in particular, transmit many words to the Saudi dialect. This is less obvious with Western languages. In addition, the researcher noted that it is obvious now that the VCR is invading Saudi’s households essentially because it is the only entertainment apparatus available in the absence of a rich and diversified television network.
Mover, one of the central problems confronted by national Saudi television production and programming is its relative failure to satisfy the growing public demand for information in comparison to other Arabic countries and Western television technology. Nevertheless, one might notice that among its negative influences is the continual wasting of time which, in turn, could cause weight gain, myopia, and so on. In addition, culturally the video deals with the importation of external values, attitudes and beliefs inappropriate with the Arab-Islamic culture .
Saudi Arabia has made a law titled, “The Video Bill.” This 1980 law defines undesirable material, details the conditions under which video
The Impact of Foreign Cultures Through the Video …
tape rental establishments can be operated, and punishment is for “material either defamatory to the Islamic religion or endangering the security or the country.” . According to Al-Oofy’s (1986) study, American movies are considered the most preferred for young Saudi students in three major cities: Riyadh, Jeddah and Medina.
Then, following that, Egyptian movies which they see on the VCR . In addition, this study reflected what impact VCR programs have on Saudi society’s beliefs, values, and attitudes. The findings showed that both Saudi males and females are anxious about that VCR programs change their beliefs and values. This result reflects a negative attitude towards the VCR .
Recently, the advancement in technology has created other sophisticated media such as DVD/ VCD that joined the traditional VCR as the most used popular media among Saudi Arabian population, especially, in the main cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.
C. Impact of the TV on the Saudi Society
“Watching television is popular among teenagers in Saudi Arabia, Saudi males liking Western programs best, while non-Saudi Arabs and Saudi females prefer Arabs programs.” . Before Saudi Arabia became a kingdom in 1932, under King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, a series of wireless point-to-point communication stations were purchased to help with the administration of his large country. King Abdulaziz overcame the objections to radio communication by persuading the Kingdom’s religious leader that radio was not the work of the devil.
Later, this helped to bring radio broadcasting in the western part of Saudi Arabia. In the late 1970s, two television stations were in operation. Following the successful beginning of television in the country’s two largest cities, Riyadh and Jeddah, new stations were added. Then, in 1982 the Ministry of Information was able to report that the major cities could receive the one Saudi TV channel which was owned by the government .
Boyd and Najai reported that television quickly became popular in Saudi Arabia because there was no cinemas and theaters permitted by the government. In the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, viewers may receive television signals from neighboring Arabian Gulf countries; Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and United Arab Emirates .
Historically, the Saudi Arabian government has not been receptive to media research by Saudi nationals or outsiders, although this attitude is changing dramatically in recent years . A study by Boyd and Shobili (1972) provided the only useful and available data of a period when the visual medium was still new. Regardless of it’s several limitations, for example, a small sample (120) of only adult males were used and the sample was not scientifically drawn. However, the study found that:
1. Television sets were owned by 90.8 percent of the respondents, 39 percent owned two sets.
2. Sixty percent of the respondents said they watched television daily. 3. Respondents watched an average of 14.8 hours per week.
4. An average of 5.9 people watched television.
5. Thursday and Friday evening (the Saudi equivalent of Friday and Saturday nights) Broadcasting of Egyptian films and television programs were the most popular television offerings .
A study was also done in the early 1980s by Boyd and Najai (1984) which proposed to examine youth television viewing in Saudi Arabia. The purpose of their study was to summarize viewing habits for both male and female Saudi and non-Saudi Arabs living in Riyadh, the Capital of Saudi Arabia.
The sample included 600 adolescents between the ages of 15 and 20 from secondary schools in Riyadh. From the sample, a total of 520 completed responses were tabulated (283 males and 237 females). Of the 520 usable questionnaires, 407 (78.3%) were completed by Saudis; the remaining 113 were completed by non-Saudis from Jordan, Egypt and Syria .
The study also permitted three programming preferences: Western programs, programs produced in other Arab countries, and Saudi produced programs. The respondents were asked: “which one of these three types of programs does you like best?’
The results shows that 36.0% preferred Western programs, 40.5% preferred programs from other Arab countries, and just 32.6% responded that they preferred Saudi produced programs. Also, this study noted that more Saudi female respondents preferred local programs than did their male counter parts, while no Saudi females showed an interest in local programs.
In a study done by Najai in 1982, it was found that 563 of the total 892 respondents admitted that they have imitated television characters in at least one of several respects, including the character’s voices, hair styles, dress, general appearance, body movement, or the way the characters speak .
The effect of an Egyptian series might be extended to other groups of society such as women, children, and adolescents. It has been found that children, in particular, are likely to learn by watching others in the process of learning .
According to Alamoudi (1984), the VCR is too difficult to control and is considered one of the biggest threats, not only to television but also to the belief system of the society. In this category are plays, series, drama, movies, and sports. The demand for entertainment programs is such that Saudi TV devotes 40 percent of broadcast time to this programming. The programs in the first channel was grouped into three broad categories; entertainment, religious, and news. Within the entertainment category, Egyptian dramas are divided into episodes. Each episode is one hour long and is shown for 13 days .
According to Merdad (1987), the shortage of local production in Saudi television is apparent. Saudi Arabia has some programs from Egypt as well as from Kuwait. Also, Saudi Arabia imported some programs from some countries such as Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon . In addition, if we notice on Table 2 that Saudi Arabia imported the
Source: Khaled Ahmed Al-Amoudi, “Toward the Implementation of Saudi Arabia’s Information Policy, A Content Analysis Study for Saudi Arabian television Programs; First channel,” (Master’s Research Project, Michigan State University,” East Lansing, P. 39.
Television often exposes children to adult actions and relationships for which they are unprepared. They are thrown into an adult world long before they have the information and maturity to cope with it. How television affects a child will depend on how the child interprets what is viewed and the use the child makes of that information. Parents and other adults can be the determining factor in making television a positive learning experience .
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recognized television as a powerful force for bringing about change. The populace of Saudi Arabia was psychologically prepared to accept the television medium for they wanted a means of recreation and entertainment that would not be in conflict with their religion. Also, the introduction of technology and the influence of Western culture made them eager to learn about activities and customs in other parts of the world. Television brought Saudi Arabia out of social isolation .
Shobailli (1971) concluded the guidelines of the Ministry of Information for imported programs in Saudi Arabia prohibited the following:
The Saudi society has been affected by TV since the first TV (ARAMCO TV Company) in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. The government recognized the influence of TV on Saudis. Before the arrival of TV to Saudi Arabia, some people traveled to Egypt and Iraq and enjoyed TV. Then, government brought the TV after convincing the religious leaders who were anxious about what will be shown on the small window TV.
The main reason why Saudi Arabia insists on strict adherence to Islamic standards in the media, especially on television, is the government’s desire to maintain its image as both the homeland of Muslims and the center of Islamic world, which contains more than seventy-one Islamic nation-states. As a matter of fact, the Saudis feel themselves responsible for spreading the message of Islam to the rest of the world. It is this missionary role which had placed Saudi television in such a though position, because of the inevitable obligation to maintain strict Islamic guide lines still competing with other stations in the Gulf area .
From the above noted Scholars assertion, one can argue that Western programs as well as other Arabic programs have influenced the Saudi society in terms of lifestyle, tradition and language.
3. Research Methodology, Data Analysis, Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations
Research Design and Methodology
The populations of this study consisted of male and female Saudi Arabian undergraduate students enrolled at King Abdulaziz University,
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, during summer, 2005. Approximately 10,000 students constituted the population of this study. A random sample size of 100 was selected for this study. Most of the students who were involved in this study were single.
A survey instrument in the form of a questionnaire was originally written in Arabic (Arabic is the native language of the sample population.). This questionnaire was used in collecting data for this research. The Questionnaires was translated into English by the researcher because the research was written in English.
Then, the translated questionnaire was checked by Five Saudi Professors at King Abdulaziz University who are expert in both Arabic and English languages (i.e., their undergraduate degrees were obtained from Saudi Universities and their graduate work was done in either American or British Universities). The researcher goal for this translation from Arabic to English and from the English version to the Arabia version was to achieve a balanced translation between different languages without deviating from the Arabic original meanings this is called by Alghalib (2004) among other scholars the” linguistic equivalency.” .
Finally, the Arabic version of the questionnaire was then distributed to the selected sample or 100 students of whom 83 (or 83%) of them responded. The questionnaire consisted of 22 items designed to collect data on demographic information, respondents’ perception on the effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD and TV on Saudi Arabian culture and usage of American, Egyptian and Indian movies.
Responses to most of the perception items were on an ordinal Likerttype scale. As a consequence, means and standard deviation were useful in the presentation and analysis of data for this study.
Analysis and Research Findings
The primary purpose of this study was to assess the perceptions of Saudi students regarding the effect of the video (VCR/ DVD/ VCD) and television (TV) on the Saudi society culture. Data presented in this section was gathered through a survey of Saudi Arabian undergraduate students at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah Saudi Arabia.
A total of 83 Respondents participated in the Survey. Consequently, due to a relatively low number of observations, this study is mainly descriptive in nature. Research results will be presented in terms of frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations. Whenever
The Impact of Foreign Cultures Through the Video …
appropriate, a chi-square test of statistical significance and the t-test will be utilized to address some of the research questions. In using the chi-square test of statistical significance, the problem of empty cells or cells with low expected frequencies was of great concern. In order to minimize this problem, certain variables used were appropriately collapsed to reduce the number of empty cells and thereby reduce the chi-square degrees of freedom.
Though this procedure may not completely eliminator the problem of empty cells or cells with low expected frequencies, it represents the best efforts undertaken to maximize the validity of the chi-square a results given the few number of subjects in this study.
The distribution of respondents according to five major demographic variables was as follows: of the total 83 respondents, 58 (or 69.9% were males, while 25 (or 30.1%) were females; 63 (or 75.9%) were single, while 19 (or 22.9%) were married and 1 (or 1.2%) was divorced. The majority of the respondents who participated in this study ranged in age from 18 to 20 years old. However, four students were under 18 years old and 11 (or 13.31%) were over 22 years.
From Table 3(b), it is shown that while 73.3% of the freshmen were males, only 26.7% were females. The same trend of under-representation for females in the class levels was fairly consistent with the highest representation in sophomore year with 66.7% of the respondents being males compared to 33.3% being females.
In response to the primary purpose of this research, ten specific research questions were considered. The research questions are presented in the remaining part of this section. Each research question is restated, followed by a presentation of the research findings related to the research question.
Research Question 1: What is the perceived impact of the VCR/ DVD/ VCD upon the Saudi society culture?
In order to get an idea of the extent to which VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs have affected Saudi society culture, respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they perceived VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs have affected Saudi values, beliefs and attitudes. In an ordinal Likerttype scale ranging from (1) very strongly affected to (5) not at all affected, means and standard deviations were computed on each of the affected areas. This measure being an ordinal Likert-type scale, a low mean (near 1.00) will indicate a high effect, while a high mean (near
5.00) will indicate a low effect. Table 3(b) presents the means and standard deviations for the perceived effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs on Saudi students’ values, beliefs and attitudes.
Table 4. Means and standard deviations for the effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs on values, beliefs, and attitudes.
Beliefs in the woman’s role
Attitudes towards family size
From Table 4, it is shown that VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs affect Saudi society beliefs in the role of women and attitudes towards family size more than it affects values towards importance of family ties. Respondents were also asked to indicate their level of agreement as to whether VCR/ DVD/ VCD affected Saudi society in terms of family ties, family size, studying habits, friendship concept and use of leisure time.
In a five point Likert type scale ranging from (1) strongly agree to (5) strongly disagree, means and standard deviations were computed for each of the affected areas. A high mean (near 5.00) will indicate a strong disagreement that the VCR/ DVD/ VCD has affected the area, while a low mean (near 1.00) indicates a strong agreement that the VCR/ DVD/ VCD has affected the area. Table 5 shows the means and standard deviations for each of the affected areas.
Table 5. Means and standard deviations for the effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs on Saudi Students’ in terms of family ties, family size, studying habits, friendship concept and use of leisure time.
From Table 5, it is shown that respondents perceived a greater effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD on usage of leisure time (mean – 1.904), the study habits (mean = 1.976), and the least effect on strengthening family ties
(mean = 4.157). The effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD on encouraging the reduction of family size was near neutral (mean= 2.108).
Research Question 2: To what extent do the VCR/ DVD/ VCD affect the Saudi society on their family size?
On the respondents’ perception on the extent to which VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs have affected the Saudi society on the family size, frequencies and percentages were computed for each response level. Table 6 shows the frequencies and percentages for each response level. Table 6. Frequencies and percentages for the effect of the VCR/ DVD/ VCD on the reduction of family size as perceived by Saudi undergraduate students. Level of Agreement/Disagreement
From Table 6, it is shown that 52 (or 62.6%) of the respondents agree or strongly agree that VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs affect Saudi Society in terms of family size, while only 10 (or 12.0%) strongly disagree.
Research Question 3: Is there a relationship between the numbers of hours spent watching the VCR/ DVD/ VCD and the effect of cultural aspect through the VCR/ DVD/ VCD? Respondents were asked to indicate the approximate number of hours they spend watching VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs per week.
The number of hours ranged from the lowest 7 hours (a week) to the highest 17 hours (a week). For the purpose of analysis, ten hours or less were considered low VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours and more than ten hours were considered high VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours. Based on this dichotomous measure of the amount of VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours per week, a chi-square test of statistical significance was used to determine whether or not there exists a statistically significant relationship between the amount of VCR/ DVD/ VCD watched with the perceptions on the extent VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs affect Saudi society culture.
Table 7 shows the observed chi-square values and their
corresponding significance level for the effects of VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours on Saudi society values, beliefs and attitudes.
Table. 7 Chi-square results for the effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours on Saudi students’ values, beliefs and attitudes.
Table 7 shows that no statistically significant relationship was observed between the number of VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours per week with the perception on the VCR/ DVD/ VCD effect on Saudi students’ values towards importance of family ties (x2 = 8.013, P > 0.05), beliefs in women’s role (x2 = 2.427, P > 0.05) and attitudes towards family size (x2 = 4.197 P > 0.05). As indicated by the chi-square test, no systematic relationship exists between numbers of VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours per week with any of the cultural aspects considered in this study. Research Question 4:
Is there a significant relationship between VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours and the effect of Saudi society in terms of family ties, family size, studying habits, friendship concept and using leisure time? Respondents were asked to indicate their level of agreement of disagreement as to whether watching VCR/ DVD/ VCD affects Saudi society in terms of family ties, family size, studying habits, friendship concept and use of leisure time on a Likert-type scale:
(1) Strongly disagree
(3) Neither agrees nor disagrees
(5) Strongly agree.
Using this five-level measure of the extent of agreement, crossed with the two-level measure of VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours considered in research question 3 above, a chi-square test of statistical significance was used to determine whether or not the perception on the effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD on family size, family ties, studying habits, friendship concept and use of leisure time depended on the number of VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours. Table 8 shows the observed chi-square values and their corresponding significance level for all these aspects of culture. Table 8. Chi-square results for the effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours on Saudi students’ values, beliefs and attitudes.
Table 8 shows no statistically significant relationship was observed the perceptions on the effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD on the aspects of culture with the numbers of hours spent viewing VCR/ DVD/ VCD per week.
Research Question 5: Were types of movies (American, Egyptian, and Indian) do Saudi Arabian students watch on their VCR/ DVD/ VCD? On a four-point Likerrt-type scale indicating the frequency of viewing American, Egyptian or Indian movies on the VCR/ DVD/ VCD, ranging from (1) frequently to (4) never, counts, percentages, means and standard deviations were computed for each of these three cultures.
A low mean (near 1.00) will indicate high viewing rate, while a high mean (near .00) will indicate Z low viewing rate. Table 9, presents the counts, percentages, means and standard deviations for the rate of viewing movies from each culture (or country).
Table 9 indicates that the most frequently watched movies in the VCR/ DVD/ VCD are American followed by Egyptian movies. It is, however, interesting to note that 51 (or 61.4%) of the respondents indicated that they watch American movies frequently compared to 38 (or 45.8% who watch Egyptian movies frequently and only 4 (or 4.9%) who watch Indian movies frequently.
On the other hand, none of the respondents indicted that they never watch Egyptian or American movies, while 32 (or 39%) indicated that they never watch, Indian movies. On average, Saudi students frequently watch American movies mean – 1.494), sometime watch Egyptian movies (mean – 1.626) and seldom watch Indian movies (mean = 3.024).
Research Question 6: To watch extent do commercials on the VCR/ DVD/ VCD affect Saudis in selecting the movies to watch on the VCR/ DVD/ VCD? Respondents were asked to indicate whether or not they watch commercials on VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs.
In case they do, an indication of their perceptions regarding the extent to which commercials on movies affect their selection of the types of movies to watch was also required. Of the total 83 respondents, 77 (or 92.8%) indicated that they do watch commercials on VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs. On a Likert-type sale ranging from (1) very strongly affected to (5) not at all affected, respondents indicated the extent to which commercials affect their selection of movies. Table 10 shows the frequencies and percentages for each of the response levels.
Table 10. Frequencies and percentages for the effect of commercials on the selection of movies.
From Table 10, it is shown that the majority of the, respondents indicted that they are somewhat affected (38.6%) or slightly affected (26.5%). However, it is only 2 (or 2.4%) who indicted that they are not at all affected by commercials in selecting movies to watch on the VCR/ DVD/ VCD.
Research Question 7: What is the perceived impact of television (TV) on the Saudi society? Respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they perceive the television (TV) has affected their view regarding acceptance of nonSaudi values. In a Likert-type scale regarding from (1) very strongly affected to (5) not at all affected, frequencies and percentages were computed for each of the response categories. Table 11, present the frequencies and percentage for the distribution of Saudi undergraduate students’ responses.
From Table 11, it is shown that 53 or 64.6%) of the respondents indicated that television has slightly or somewhat affected the Saudi society culture. However, 27 (or 33.0% indicated that the effect is strong or very strong, while only 2 (or 2.4% indicated that television does not at all affected the Saudi society.
Table 11. Frequencies and percentages for the impact of television TV) on acceptance of non-Saudi values.
Research Question 8: What are some of the reasons why Saudis watch more hours of the VCR/ DVD/ VCD than of the TV? Respondents were provided with five potential reasons why people in Saudi Arabia watch more programs on the VCR/ DVD/ VCD than on the TV.
To each of these reasons, respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they agree or disagree that the given reason is valid. On a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from (1) strongly agree to (5) strongly disagree; means and standing deviations were computed for each of the response or reasons. A high mean near 1.00 indicates a strong agreement. Table 12, shows the means and standard deviations for each of the five reasons.
From Table 12, it is shown that there was a general agreement to a strong agreement that all the five reasons explain why people in Saudi Arabia watch more programs on the VCR/ DVD/ VCD than on the TV. Research Question 9: Does the perception on the immediate family size depend on the respondent’s gender and class level?
In an attempt to determine whether or not the desired immediate family size of Saudi students depended on the student’s gender and class level, a chi-square test of statistical significance was utilized. Table 13, shows
the chi-square values and their corresponding significance level for respondent’s gender and class level.
From Table 13 it is shown that no statistical significant relationship exists between the desired immediate family size ND gender (x2 = 0.701, P > 0.05) or class level x2 = 0.395, P > 0.05). Research Question 10: Is there as statistically significant difference between the extended family and the desired immediate family size? Respondents were asked to indicate: (a) the size of their extended family) parents, sisters and brothers), and (b) the desired size of their immediate family spouse and children).
Dependent two sample t-test was used to determine if there is statistically significant between the extended and the desired family size of the Saudi undergraduate students. Table 14 shows the means, standard deviation, t-value and the observed significance level for this test.
Table 14. T-test results for the difference between the extended family size and the desired immediate family size.
From Table 14 it is clear that a statistically significant difference between the desired immediate family and extended family size was observed at 0.05 levels (t – 20.57, P < 0.05). The data indicated that the average extended family size of the Saudi student was 12.699 while on average their desired immediate family size was 4.566.
This study assessed the perceptions of Saudi undergraduate students at King Abdulaziz University regarding the effect for the video (VCR/ DVD/ VCD) and television TV on the Saudi society culture. To achieve this perspective, ten research questions were addressed. Simple descriptive statistics, the chi-Square test and t-test were utilized in an attempt to answer the specific research questions in this study. The summary of the major findings were as follows:
1- VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs affect Saudi society beliefs in the women’s role and attitudes towards family size more than it affects values towards importance of family ties.
2- No statistically significant relationship was observed between VCR/ DVD/ VCD hours and perceptions on the effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD on attitudes
towards family size, beliefs in women’s role and values towards importance of family ties.
3- The number of hours spent watching VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs does not have a statistically significant relationship with the effect of VCR/ DVD/ VCD on the cultural aspects of family ties, family size, studying habits, friendship concept and use of leisure time.
4- The most frequently watched movies on the VCR/ DVD/ VCD by Saudi undergraduate students are American followed by Egyptian movies. The least watched are the Indian movies, where 39% of the respondents indicated that they have never watched Indian movies on their VCR/ DVD/ VCD.
5- The effect of commercials on the selection of movies was perceived to be only moderate (some what affected or slightly affected), where only 12% indicated a very strong effect and 2.4% indicated no effect at all.
6- The effect of television on the Saudi society was perceived to be moderate. Over, 15.9% of the respondents indicated a very strong effect of television on Saudi society and 2.4% indicated no effect at all. 7- Generally, most respondents agree or strongly agree that limited television channels, limited programs on the television, lack of entertainment on television, lack of educational programs and limited time of television schedule explain why people in Saudi Arabia watch more VCR/ DVD/ VCD than TV programs.
8- No statistically significant relationship observed between the desired immediate family size and respondent’s gender.
9- The data indicated that the size of the extended family of Saudi undergraduate students at King Abdulaziz University is significantly bigger than the size students desired their immediate family to be. While the
average extended family size was 12.699, the average desired immediate family size was 4.566.
The following conclusions may be drawn from the findings of this study:
1- There is a general agreement among Saudi students that VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs affect their perception of the size of their immediate family is certainly crucial. This finding together with the prediction that the desired immediate family size is down to 4.566 from 12.699 suggests that the VCR/ DVD/ VCD programs may be responsible for the decline in the Saudi population’s growth rate.
2- The influence of the Western culture on the Saudi society is clearly reflected on the fact that the most popular movies among Saudi students are American. Though Egyptian movies are also popular among these students, the influence of the Western culture in Egypt also has an indirect influence on the Saudi society.
This research was undertaken to assess the effect of foreign cultures through the video (VCR/ DVD/ VCD) and television (TV) on the Saudi society as perceived by Saudi undergraduates students at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The major limitation of this research was the small size of the sample. This shortcoming poses limitation in the study’s external validity. Though the study may not be safely generalized to any larger population, it gives at least an indication of the effect of the VCR/ DVD/ VCD and TV on the Saudi society as perceived by Saudi students. The researcher recommends that further research on this project needs to utilize a larger sample drawn randomly from a population in Saudi Arabia.
This study recommends that the Saudi Ministry of Culture and information do the following:
These recommendations would help reduce the dependence on
outside movies and shows, thereby decreasing the amount of foreign cultures’ influence in the country. It should be noted, that Saudi Arabia will not be able to eliminate all the foreign influence in the country, but they must maintain the important values and traditions of their people.
A1 Ghalib, Saddiga. (2004) “Cross-Cultural Measurement of Learning Style, Epistemological Beliefs, Motivation, and Their Relationship To Academic Achievement: The Case Of Saudi Arabian And American College Students.” Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, pp: 3-8.
A1 – Aamoudi, K. A. (1984) “Toward the Implementation of Saudi Arabia’s Information Policy: A Content Analysis Study for Saudi Arabian Television Programs: First Channel,” Unpublished Master’s Research Project. Michigan State University, East Lansing. A1 Ghalib, S. (2004) “Cross-Cultural Measurement of Learning Style, Epistemological Beliefs, Motivation, and Their Relationship To Academic Achievement: The Case of Saudi Arabian and American College Students,” Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
A1- Oofy, A. (1986) “The Impact of the Video Cassette Recorder on Young Saudi Television-Viewing Habitats and Lifestyle,” Unpublished Master’s Research Project, Michigan State University, East Lansing.
A1 – Orabi, S. K. (1983) “The Mass Media in Saudi Arabia: Present Concept, functions, barriers and Selected Strategy for Effective Use in Nation-Building and Social Awareness,” Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation,
Ohio State University.
Al Saggaf, A. (1967) Data, an Introduction to Saudi Arabia: 20th Century’s Miracle of Progress. Singapore: Malay Engraving and Litho Printing Co.
Asseri, A. (1983) “Non-Saudi manpower in Saudi Arabia,” [In Arabic], Unpublished Master’s Thesis, Imam University, Riyadh.
Bakhider, B. (1981) ‘The Impact of VCR upon Saudi Arabian Television and society.” Unpublished Master’s Thesis, Department of Communication, San Diego State University, San Diego.
Borg, W. R. and Gall, M. D. (1983) Educational Research: An Introduction (4th Ed.). York: Longman, Inc.
The information policy refers to the principles and goals which constitute the foundations and requirements of information in Saudi Arabia. This policy emanates from Islam, in doctrine and law, which is the national religion. It aims at establishing belief in god, raising the intellectual, cultural, and perceptual level in the citizens, and dealing with social problems. It seeks to stress the concept of obedience to God, his prophet, and the legal guardian.
It urges to respect the law and to carry it out contently. It includes the broad outlines which govern the Saudi information; thus accomplishing the goals by means of education, guidance, and recreation. This policy is considered a part of the country’s general policy, and is specified in the following articles: Article 1: The Saudi mass communication will oppose all destructive currents, atheistic Inclinations, materialistic philosophies, and all attempts to distract the Moslems from their.
Article 2: The Supreme council of Mass Communication Policy, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 1982. Translated into English by Sa’id Khader Al-Orabi Al-Harithi, beliefs. It will further expose their falsehood and dangers to the individuals and societies, are will stand up to every challenge which does not agree with the general policy of the country.
Article 3: All the information media seek to serve society by consolidating its precious Islamic values; firmly fixing its honored Arabic traditions; keeping its gracious inherited customers; and stand in opposition to everything that spoils its purity and harmony.
Article 4: All mass communication will seek to serve the existing policy of the Kingdom, protecting the primary interests of the citizens first, then the Moslems and Arabs in general. This will be done by the adoption of this policy and its presentation with full documentation, supported by precedence and facts.
Article 5: All the mass communication will seek to present the unique and distinctive characteristics or Saudi Arabia on the national and international levels, emphasizing its stability and safety, and progress in various domains by embracing Islam as the constitution of the government and the law of life, placing upon her shoulders the respons9bility to serve the Islamic sacred places.
Article 6: All the mass communication will seek to strengthen the bond among the citizens by informing them of him numerous parts of their country and the significant aspects pertaining to them, thus demonstrating the complementary nature of these regions.
Article7: All the mass communication will seek to enhance the loyalty to the country, bringing to light his capabilities and potential bestowed upon it, and reminding them of the Greatness of its pas and present. As the citizen is made aware of his responsibility to his country, he will be urged to contribute to its progress, advancement, and protection.
The Impact of Foreign Cultures Through the Video …
Article 8: The Saudi mass communication will give the family its due attention, being the essential unit in the society, and the first school where children learn and are guided, where their personalities are developed and enriched.
Article 9: The Saudi mass communication affirms the relationship between today’s child and tomorrow’s environment. Thus, attention will be given to the guidance, educational, and recreational programs for children. The programs will be based on educational and scientific principles, and directed by highly specialized personnel. Article 10: Recognizing the innate quality which the women have, and the duty which God has given her, the mass communication will provide special programs which will assist the woman in performing her innate duty in society.
Article 11: The Saudi mass communication will give special consideration to the teenagers, realizing the importance of the period or adolescence. Thus special programs will be designed to deal with tier problems and, meet their needs; thus preparing them adequately in religion and behavior.
Article 12: The mass communication will seek, through the use of the audio-visuals, to be informative in all that pertains to the history of the Kingdom by means of documentaries and recordings within and without he Kingdom.
Article 13: The Saudi mass communication will seek cooperation with educational and social organizations and research centers to conduct communication studies. Article 14: The mass communication will design programs which will appeal to the highly educated to keep them abreast of all the educational and intellectual studies and scientific publications.
Article 15: The mass communications will seek to promote ad encourage scholarship in all fields of specialization. This cane accomplished at a high level of religion, science, awareness, and dedication, having all conditions favorable.
Article 16: Realizing its significant role, the mass communication will deal directly and effectively to abolish illiteracy by adop5ting educational and scientific principles, dedicating educational programs that meet the needs of every age and mentality.