Mayer (2004) defined socialization as the process of inculcation of attitudes and skills that are necessary for playing some given social roles within a given social jurisdiction. He argued that not anybody can play the social roles of a society in the acceptable manner; there is a need to be acquainted with the “how” of the acceptable ways of performing those roles. The process involves making the new members of the society be fit to live acceptably with the rest of the society.
Agents of Socialization
There are many agents of socialization though they vary from one society to another. However, there are some major socialization agents that are almost universal: the family, the school, the mass media and the peer group. The four socialization agents are influential to each other and to individuals.
It is in the family that children acquire their first socialization. The family introduces children to the most basic requirements of the society. Andersen and Taylor (2005) observed that children learn about themselves, their family and the larger society even before they go to school. However, it is in school that the learned virtues are boosted. The interpersonal interaction that the children were introduced to at the family level is widened to cover people from different societies with different values, believes, and approach to life. In the school setting, the children interact with peers who may alter or boost some of the values gained from the family and/or from school. Peers influences each others’ thinking process and consequently behaviors.
Most Influential Agent
Other than the family, the mass media is the other most influential socialization agent. Average young people (age 8-19) spend about 6 hours daily engrossed in media activities (Andersen & Taylor, 2005). Children through teenage hood to adulthood spend most of the time after school watching television, listening to radios or browsing the internet. Whatever these media airs is adopted as the gospel truth by many new societal members. The many number of hours spent on the media determines thinking, beliefs and activities that the individuals prioritize and practice consequently triggering a culture.