Pictures Of Agents Of Socialization Assignment

By Dr. Ralph G. Perrino

Family, school, peers, mass media, public opinion, and religion each play a major role in the socialization and, ultimately, the education process. Each of us proceeds through life in a manner that we often believe is under our immediate control and influence. It seems logical that the actions we take and the impact of those actions is based upon a series of logical, rational, decisions selected and filtered by choice, not chance. Although this seems a reasonable manner in which to assess one’s lot in life, it is far from reality, particularly in the area of education. One of the most dramatic impacts on a child’s education is that of the socialization process.

Forces removed from our immediate decision-making process guide us all. Through the process of socialization, the hidden hand of social forces beyond our control guides our lives. The major agents of socialization – family, school, peers, mass media, public opinion, and religion – exert pressure on each of us. The evolution of “self” emerges from this mix of social forces. This is particularly true during the formative years from kindergarten through high school. The impact of these forces can vary dramatically from person to person. The consequences can be life altering and severe.

The idea that each child enters school with the same opportunities that foster success is not a valid assumption. In fact, many things have a profound impact on children and teens. Among these are 1. The family from which ascribed status is derived 2. Attendance at a public school or private school 3. The composition of peer groups 4. Exposure to mass culture and the media and 5. Religious affiliation. The socialization process, by definition, creates a system that is inherently unequal by most empirical measures of equality. This inequality has both short-term and long-term implications for the academic success of children.

Given an economic system that offers equality of opportunity, but in practice fosters disparities between social classes, the questions that must be asked are: How does the education system provide the level playing field that society desires? What are the roles of school as well as the other agents of socialization in ensuring equal opportunity for all children from the elementary through college years?

As the primary agent of socialization and the first “educator”, the family, plays an essential role in the transmission of the fundamental values that encourage and nurture learning in a young child. Studies have demonstrated that children from homes in which both parents have college educations have a much higher probability of academic success as well as personal and professional success. The opposite is also true. Children from homes in which parents do not possess a college education will have a more difficult time achieving academic success. The disparity inherent in this environment demonstrates the importance of the family and its role as the transmitter of values. The institution of the family in America is the primary purveyor of education as a core value regardless of educational background. For some, it comes by way of birth and privilege. For others, it comes by way of perseverance, hard work, and persistence in the face of adverse economic factors. Regardless, the likelihood of academic success is minimal without the family as a guiding force.

Few parents would deny the increasing influence of peers in the lives of children and young adults. Unfortunately, it is often a very negative influence. The most detrimental manifestations of this are drug and alcohol use, premature teen sexual activity, and other socially proscribed behaviors. It is at this time in a middle school child’s life that peer influences develop in the area of academic achievement. Being ostracized and chastised for “being smart” is a common burden placed on otherwise high-achieving students, particularly minority students. At this point in a student’s socialization process teachers, parents, and other adult role models play a vital role.

Mass media also has an immense impact on young minds. With the advent of the Internet, television now has a partner in the role of visual stimulant of young minds. The culture portrayed by the mass media emphasizes glamour, sexual satisfaction and promiscuity, comedic vulgarity, violence, and immediate gratification of needs. How does a parent cope with the influences of the mass media as an agent of socialization that minimizes the learning process and glorifies the values of instant gratification? Again, the role of adults in a child’s life in this environment takes on increased importance.

The role of religion in the lives of children and young adults has been minimized by society. This trend has, along with the previously mentioned influences of peers and the mass media, resulted in a generation of teens with a moral compass that has gone awry. The role of religion as an agent of socialization cannot be ignored. It is a primary transmitter of our core personal and societal values. The founding documents of America contain strong reference to the values of equality, freedom, fairness, and egalitarianism – all fundamental precepts of most religions. Leaders such as Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and others have called upon religious values and teachings to awaken the moral sensibilities of the nation throughout our history. Without the socializing influences of religion, the powerful external forces faced by teens – drugs, a sexualized culture, violence, negative peer pressures, and other dysfunctional influences - become more influential. Parents need to be aware of the stabilizing influences of religion in a child’s life and realize that religion is not so much a polarizing issue as it is an important element of the socialization process.

The socialization process has an enormous impact on children and teens in the context of the learning process. Family, school, peers, mass media, and religion each play a role in the collective process we term education. Parents must recognize that each of these agents of socialization maximize the role of education in our children’s lives. Anything less is an abdication of our responsibility as adult role models for our children and for future generations.

Agents Of Socialization Essay

Agents of socialization in short are the people, groups, and social institutions, as well as the interactions within these groups that influence a person’s social and self-development. Agents of socialization are believed to provide the critical information needed for children to function successfully as a member of society. Some examples of such agents are family, neighborhood, schools, peers, religion, sports, the workplace, and especially the mass media. Each agent of socialization is linked to another. For example, in the media, symbolic images affect both the individual and the society, making the mass media the most controversial socialization agent. One of the most obvious places agents of socialization lay is in the malls of America. Malls are filled with advertisements and consumed by the mass media touching on all levels of society.
     No one is immune from the affect of the agents of socialization that exist in malls. Anyone and everyone who is part of a society is a product of socialization. Within every advertisement, clothing store, toy store, arcade, music store, etc, there is a gender preferred subliminal message being sent. The way toys are divided into male sections and female sections and the way advertisements portray all men and women in a certain way contribute to societies “norm” of gender roles. The mass media is one of the most influential agents of socialization and malls are surrounded by it. The messages given through the media act as the teachers of gender roles, values, ideologies, and beliefs, and individuals who pick up on these messages eventually take on, whats thought to be, the normative roles of society. Both boys and girls rely on society’s expectations in regard to both masculinity and femininity in order to interpret interaction and to develop expectations for themselves and those around them. It is because of these agents of socialization, that gender roles are created. Advertisements portray both men and women in characteristically stereotypical fashions that support the various institutions and socialization agents. The women depicted in these advertisements fit the stereotypical roles related to sexuality by focusing on beauty, body image, and physical attractiveness. They are skinny and tan, with teeth as white as paper and hair looking healthy and fresh. Girls in society look up to these women being portrayed in the posters as models of how they are supposed to be, and try to fit the “role” of being a woman; hence the reason anorexia, bulimia, depression etc is so common in teenagers. The men in these posters on the other hand are depicted as muscular, tan, strong, wealthy, and powerful, they too try to fit their “role” of manhood; hence the reasons there are so many violent teenage boys. They all think that being tough and strong is how they are supposed to be, and girls are depicted to be weak, dainty, and depended on males.
Going into different stores, one can easily...

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