The social interaction that takes place within the family contest is a major contributory factor to the continuity of culture. The mass media is another principal agent which has been accorded a place of importance in the explanation of socialization. The mass media constitute a key realm of cultural production and distribution.
The mass media including magazines, internet, newspapers, radio, television and all means of communication which are directed towards a vast audience in society are deemed to be influential agents of socialization. Thus, the mass media is assumed to be significant, with powerful, long lasting consequences.
Today there are more televisions and fewer people per household. Children spend a great deal of time surfing the internet and watching television. Most of the time, these children are unattended or unsupervised because so many parents are in the labour force spending long hours to provide for their families. As a result of the increasing use of the internet and other sources of entertainment or information such as television, children are more liable to imitate what they see on the television or the internet.
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Through the production and the distribution of information to a wider audience, the mass media serves as a means by which cultural and social continuity is attained. As children move through childhood, there are many environmental influences on their socialization to adult roles. The peer group usually involves children within a given peer group are the same age and come from the same social status. This is the time children are able to learn among their peers and function independently without supervision from an adult.
The peer group exerts great influence especially in the adolescence. In school, children learn discipline, social interaction and other basic skills that are deemed to be appropriate by society. The school also provides a platform for children to mingle, play and interact with peers. Through this, they learn to understand themselves and others. Sara et al. In the process of socialization, beliefs and values are passed on to children through language practices.
Socialization is realized to a great extent through the use of language, the primary symbolic medium through which cultural knowledge is communicated and instantiated, reproduced and transformed. During this process, individuals learn the language of the culture they are born into as well as the roles to play in life.
In addition, the mass media is also one of the most important attributes of the cultural realms that play a variety of social roles in the socialization process. Through distribution and production, the mass media transmit messages to a mass audience. They are the means by which we find out about important political, economic, and social happenings.
Through the mass media, individuals can learn the cultural practices of other countries or culture. For example, through the mass media, people can watch the Chinese New Year celebrations without going to China, the Caribbean Calypso Carnival without going to Jamaica or the Olympics games without visiting the host nation. But when he is admitted to a preschool or a nursery school or a primary school, he is also influenced by teachers and friends. The child learns to adjust with a wider world of school teachers, class mates and play mates and a host of other persons.
He learns the social norms, how to behave with the teachers and show respect to them, how to deal with the class mates. In this way as he grows and grows and reaches adulthood he comes across varied agents of socialization who mould his personality in the manner the society wants. Not only the parental influence and the influence of the other adults also the neighbourhood is of tremendous value in the socialization of the child. Besides the effects of books, radio, TV and motion pictures are of tremendous value for the moral and social development of the child. The child is socialized on the basis of his past and present experiences.
Thus family, neighbourhood peers, playmates and classmates etc.
Fundamentally socialization is possible through affiliation. The early helplessness of the baby makes him dependent upon others.
So he has to affiliate himself with others for his living. Love, comfort, respect, power, achievement and other secondary needs cannot be satisfied in isolation. Hence the child acquires many needs through social and affiliation learning which leads to socialization. The process of socialization is a continuous one. It continues from birth till death. Results of various experimental studies, observations of children in day-to-day life, interviews with parents, studies in different cultures taken together point out the major aspects of the process of socialization.
The dependency of the new born infant, the need for affiliation, the role of the reference group, the need for education and therefore admission to school, the effect of reward and punishment imposed by the parents, school and the society, delay in fulfilment of needs, desires and wishes, identification with the loved ones all have their respective roles in the socialization of the human infant.
But the help of reinforcement certain responses of the child are rewarded and certain other responses are not rewarded.
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Sometimes, the child is punished for not following the dos of the society. In this manner the dependent and helpless child is taught to be a member of the society.
Culture and Socialization
The child also learns many values and traditions through imitation and incidental learning since parents do not always teach like a teacher. When a child sees that his mother is lying at the feet of God or Goddess he also does the same. When a child sees his mother showing her respect to a senior person by bowing her head she also learns to do the same.
Sears is of opinion that through dependence the process of identification develops.
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The child also depends upon his parents and close family members for various informations about his surrounding and about the world at large. He also needs their help to clarify certain matters and to fulfil his curiosity. For this he has to obey them and follow what they say. The need for affiliation also develops out of dependency.
The desire to remain with others and be happy when one is in a group is an outcome of the helplessness of the child during early period. Schachter found that isolation produces fear and affiliation reduces fear. Thus he concluded that persons with higher fear would affiliate more than those with low fears as through affiliation man tries to reduce his emotion of fear. When a child grows up his socialization process is subject to the influence of outside agents of the society like the play group, teachers and peers.
Now he becomes a member of several groups and clubs. Those groups which strongly influence the child are called the reference groups. The individual evaluates himself through the reference groups which serves as the standard for him. New Comb while finding out the changes in the attitude of students that accompanied socialisation in a college observed the important role of reference group on socialisation. Sherif and Sherif also observe that like the family group, the reference groups influence the conduct of the individual.
The reference group serves as a norm, standard or model for the individual. The growing children and adolescents become a member of many groups and are influenced by the action, model ideal and values of such groups. A reference group serves as a standard for evaluation. The individual then learns to perceive himself and his self concept affects his social behaviour.
A person perceives himself from three aspects i. His self concept becomes ultimately a source of motivation to him. The self concept develops out of the interaction of the individual with others. A person who becomes regularly unsuccessful in examination perceives himself as academically poor. Thus the self concept develops through the process of social interaction and socialization. When others say that he is an excellent boy he perceives himself as such and tries to repeat these characteristics in future which have brought him praise and reward.
Those actions which bring him blame are given up and unlearned. A person who continuously become unsuccessful in an interview also develops negative self-image and inferiority complex. The development of self therefore depends on continuous learning unlearning and releasing. Some have tried to compare the process of socialization with the procedures by which many human beings using raw materials construct automobiles. Many human beings interacting with the raw organism, the human infant, turn him to a socialized personality.
Nevertheless personality is not a mechanical by product of the society. Socialization is never a passive process and no personality is a mechanical by product of the society. A number of automobiles of similar type are produced using raw materials. But no two human personalities are equal.
How Socialization Influence a Person
Every personality is unique by itself. Every in the same family two brothers may have totally different personalities. One brother may have a very high social status while the other may be a delinquent and disgrace to the society. Since no two personalities in the world are identically equal it would be erroneous to compare living human infants with the raw materials of automobiles which are dead materials.