Mass Media as an Agent of Socialisation

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Mass media as an agent of Socializations

According to the reading, “Socialization and Culture” from the book “Interdisciplinary English” by Loretta F. Kasper, Socialization is the process in which a child learns how to behave in life and participate in a group in society. Socialization has four basic/main agents: family, school, peers and the mass media. Each one of these agents plays a role in our lives. However, in my opinion, the most important agent of socialization for the development of the child is the Mass Media.

The Mass media is a significant force in modern culture. Sociologists refer to this as a mediated culture where media reflects the behavioural pattern of some individuals within a society. Media are the different processes that facilitate

communication between the sender of a message and the receiver of that message. It may also be defined as any communication—whether written, broadcast, or spoken—that reaches a large audience. Mass Media therefore plays an important role in the socialization of children. In fact, there are many types of media; these include newspapers, billboard, magazines, radio, films, CDs, Internet, television and so forth. These kinds of media, especially television, affect children’s and adult’s behavior in different ways. According to the article, “Socialization: From Infancy to Old Age”, “The average family has at least one television turned on for at least seven hours a day.” Television is known to be the medium with the greatest socialization effect, surpassing all the other media by far in its influence on the young child. The very fact that television is not an interactive agent is greatly significant to the development of young children. While watching, children have the feeling that they’re interacting, but they’re not. That’s one of the disadvantages of television as a socializer—it satisfies social needs to some extent, but doesn’t give children the social skills (or the real-life practice in those skills) that allow them to function effectively with people. Since the average child watches 3 to 4 hours of television a day, the time left for playing with others and learning social skills is drastically reduced. Even infants average about an hour and a half of television viewing a day between the time they are born and age 2 (Wright et al., 2001). Of course, parents can control the time their children spend watching television, but many don’t. They can monitor the selection of programs, but some allow their children to watch whatever happens to be on. Some parents don’t consider how they can use television to teach decision making. They fail to make children be aware of the fact that when one program ends they can either weigh the various merits of the next offerings or turn the set off. Some children, especially those with a remote control in hand, flick through the channels periodically, randomly stopping at whatever catches their interest at the moment. That’s very different from critically examining options and consciously deciding on one. This is where parent education could be effective. Some parents who grew up with television themselves haven’t given much thought to the effects of that medium, and how to decrease these effects.

However, there are some programs which are very helpful with lots of information for the children. For example; there is a good program called “Dora the explorer”. Children can learn to speak Spanish and also do things such as singing, standing up and pronouncing words in English. There is also another program called “Blue’s Clues”. In this program, children learn how to think, sing and discover clues. When children watch these programs, they are not the same people anymore because they can become more knowledgeable. These programs are very good because they change children’s minds and make the children different from what they were before.

Also, children learn about past and present themes and issues, both from newscasts,...
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