By: Olivia Whitney
The Importance of Socialization
Socialization is the process of learning to participate in a group. Without it, how would people manage to get anything done? In everything that people do, they are surrounded by other people. At work, school, going to a restaurant; everywhere you go there will be other people. That is one of the main reasons why socialization is so important. It begins at birth and continues throughout life. It enables people to fit into different social groups. Case studies point out the importance of socialization early in someones life. If a child or infant does not receive prolonged and intensive social contact, the child will not learn the basics such as walking, talking, and loving. The child also will not develop the set of attitudes, beliefs, values and behavior that are involved with being an individual in society.
Agents of Socialization
The Family and Socialization
A child's first exposure to socialization, is the family. Crucial developments happen when the child has close interactions with a few people, their family members. With the family, the child learns how to think and speak: internalize beliefs, norms, and values. They can also begin to form a capacity of for intimate and personal relationships, and make a self-image for themselves. Families are also usually the first people to teach their children gender roles. Most adult's gender roles are deeply ingrained, which means they don't even realize they are teaching their children gender expectations. For example, most parents in the United States, think it is acceptable to dress their baby girl in pink, but they think it would be unusual to dress their baby boy in pink. The parents are subconsciously teaching their children what is okay and what is not okay. They also reinforce the roles by what toys they buy for their children. Most fathers expect their sons to be tough, not afraid to get dirty, be defiant, and play at least one sport, while mothers usually expect their daughters to be more obedient, girly, and dainty. In today's society, a girl that plays or does things that are more typical in boys, are usually called tomboys.
Religion and Socialization
Religion is one of the most important agents of socialization, this is still true for people that don't even attend religious services. Many religious values and ideas of morality have become part of American culture, and their religious roots are no longer visible. Religion is even more of an agent socialization that attend religious services. When children go to services, they begin to learn values, morals, and beliefs that are accepted in their religion. Studies have shown that religion influences the way people view sexuality, certain gender roles, work, and child-rearing practices. Sociologists also say that religious participation can also reduce the likelihood of divorce. Meaning, religion strengthens the family, which is the main agent of socialization.
Socialization in Schools
In schools, kids are under the care of adults that are not relatives, forcing them to create relationships with people that are impersonal. In schooling, rewards and punishments are based on performance and behavior, rather than affection. Schools teach kids more than just reading, writing, and math; It also teaches them what some call the hidden curriculum. The hidden curriculum is the informal and unofficial aspects of culture that children are taught in school. Things like discipline, order, cooperation, and conformity are a part of the hidden curriculum, all of which are characteristics that are needed in the adult world of work. Schools also teach children that there are rules to follow, and if you choose not to follow them, there will be consequences. When to speak in class, what is deemed appropriate and inappropriate to wear, what can and cannot be said in class; These are all examples of rules most schooling institutions have that have consequences if they are broken.
Peer Group Socialization
A peer group is a group of individuals that are roughly the same age and share some common interests with an individual. Children and teenagers usually belong to several peer groups, examples could be their sports team friends, people they sit with at lunch, and their friends they have had since the third grade. In these peer groups, children experience conflicts, competition, and cooperation. They begin to make their own decisions, think, feel, and act in new and different ways than they have before. Peer groups also promote being independent from adults, being the two worlds of teenagers and adults should never collide( which is a belief of many groups). Being in a group, or multiple groups, changes the way a child will think about things. The child might start liking soccer or suddenly hate broccoli because his friends all say it is gross. The peer group is one of the most influential agents of socialization there is.
The Mass Media and Socalization
Mass media includes things like television, radio, books, magazines, movies, and the Internet. Many images in the mass media are distorted, examples include how women are supposed to look and how some lifestyles can be glamorous but in reality are not. The mass media displays role models that children will imitate. It also shows children the values that their societies have. It provides children with ideals of achievement and success, activity and work, and equality and democracy. The negative side to the mass media is that children can begin to imitate someone that is not doing good things, including drinking underage,doing drugs, etc. Either way, children will be exposed to the mass media, the good and bad parts of it.
How are these similar?
All of these topics are similar because they all show how the different forms of socialization affect the children and teenagers of today. Each of them play their own part in shaping society.
How are these topics applicable to your life?
Being a teenager, I am influenced by many things, my friends, what I see on TV, and my religion. I never really thought about it as being socialization, but that is what it is. These topics coincide directly with my life.
Connecting 2 topics to current event.
Mass media has lately been talking about Muslims and Isis in sight with the recent terrorist attacks. There are many different opinions about Muslims from ranges of different people. Donald Trump says that they should not be allowed in the United States, some people think all Muslims are terrorists, and some have no opinion at all. This can influence children to be prejudice to a certain group of people without them even knowing they are being influenced. Along with this, the religion of the Muslims influences how we see them. Some people do not agree with how their religion is.