Agents of Socialization: Family, Schools, Peers and Media

Agents of Socialization: Family, Schools, Peers and Media
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  • 0:05 Socialization
  • 1:05 Family
  • 2:21 Schools
  • 3:24 Peers
  • 4:28 Mass Media
  • 5:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Erin Long-Crowell
The socialization that we receive in childhood has a lasting effect on our ability to interact with others in society. In this lesson, we identify and discuss four of the most influential agents of socialization in childhood: family, school, peers, and media.

Socialization

How do we learn to interact with other people? Socialization is a lifelong process during which we learn about social expectations and how to interact with other people. Nearly all of the behavior that we consider to be 'human nature' is actually learned through socialization. And, it is during socialization that we learn how to walk, talk, and feed ourselves, about behavioral norms that help us fit in to our society, and so much more.

Socialization occurs throughout our life, but some of the most important socialization occurs in childhood. So, let's talk about the most influential agents of socialization. These are the people or groups responsible for our socialization during childhood - including family, school, peers, and mass media.

Family

There is no better way to start than to talk about the role of family in our social development, as family is usually considered to be the most important agent of socialization. As infants, we are completely dependent on others to survive. Our parents, or those who play the parent role, are responsible for teaching us to function and care for ourselves. They, along with the rest of our family, also teach us about close relationships, group life, and how to share resources. Additionally, they provide us with our first system of values, norms, and beliefs - a system that is usually a reflection of their own social status, religion, ethnic group, and more.

A bilingual immigrant family may teach very different values than a traditional American family.
Bilingual Family

For example, Alexander, a young boy who lives in America, was born to an immigrant family. He grew up bilingual and was taught the importance of collectivistic values through socialization with his family. This experience differs drastically from someone born to an older, 'traditional' American family that would emphasize the English language and individualistic values.

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