Family, being an institution, is a very important agent of socialization because it has the greatest impact on an individual. During the infancy period, individuals are usually dependent on others completely for survival. As such, it is the nuclear family that assumes the responsibilities. Consequently, it defines the personality of a person and perceptions of life (Berns, 2004). About family, socialization can be noted through social mannerisms of an individual. For instance, individuals living in rural areas have different gesticulations as individuals from upper-class urban environments since they were raised in a different social environment.
School is the next critical agent of socialization in a person. The school system acts a way of transferring important knowledge and life skills to individuals. In a school setting, social skills are learned through interactions with both teachers and students. As much as social developed revolves around family, it is school significantly influences personality development and internal characteristics. Through problem-solving, students can gain better self-control and interpersonal skills. Notably, students can learn other skills that are not educator intended. For instance, when a student raises a hand, they can get the attention of their instructors without warranting punishment.
As an agent of socialization, the local community has a significant impact on the social development of an individual. Morality and ethics are the most important social aspects influenced by the community. By going against morality, an individual qualifies for punishment. The society within which a person is raised determines the kind of person they will become (DeLamater et al., 2014). Different societies have different moral and ethical considerations. For instance, children raised in black ghetto societies have different mannerism compared white children raised in leafy suburbs. However, it is parental guidance that mostly determines the outcome.
Religious institutions usually act as agents of socialization and control within society. It plays a critical role in providing direction to individuals. Religious teachings help in promoting welfare by encouraging individuals to serve others. Belief is important in the process of developing self-confidence and mental peace. Through religion, individuals can gain positive virtues such as honesty, love, truth, and discipline. Furthermore, religion demands that people should be forgiving and charitable towards others. It is worth noting that religion is the best moderator of human behavior in the society. For instance, some religious groups forbid stealing, and the punishment for such a crime is cutting an individual's hand. As such, the society is discouraged from committing theft.
Notably, peer groups also influence the encounters a person in their lifetime. Play patterns greatly influence the way a person thinks. Peer groups consist of persons within the same age set and of similar status (Linley, 2015). Unlike during childhood, as a person grows up, they can form friendships based on criteria by looking at various social aspects such as interest, income, and status. Accordingly, the peer groups are the only agent of socialization that is not influenced by family and society. For instance, peer groups influence the way a person dresses, the music they listen to and, the social activities they engage in.
Today, the media has become a very important agent of the socialization. The media influences a person through music, movies magazines, and the internet. The media is a platform for influencing the social, environmental conditions. It affects interrelations and communication abilities of individuals within any given society (OpenStax College, 2012). The media is considered a negative agent because it may develop negative attributes and behavior within an individual. For instance, research shows there is a strong relationship between violent films and aggressive behavior among children. Sociologists recognize the media as a very powerful influencer of socialization since it exposes both positive and negative content.
Both formal and informal organizations influence the social development of an individual. Activities such as scouting help an individual gain social skills by interacting with people from different cultures. They can learn basic survival skills and share information that is critical in their social development process. On the other hand, informal groups like gangs usually develop negative social behaviors within an individual. For instance, gangs may influence an individual to participate in drug trafficking and abuse by exerting peer pressure.
Also, historical trends of the time an individual grows up influence the way a person thinks and behaves. Different historical times have experienced different clothing and technological trends. For example, today children are more technology-oriented compared previous times. This may be linked to the reality that trends determine what an individual does and does not do. Lastly, activities such as sports and volunteer work also act as socialization agents. Through sports, an individual can gain team spirit and interpersonal skills which are critical in the day to day interactions. On the other hand, volunteer work helps individuals to learn how to serve others without expecting anything in return. Finally, as much as all agents of socialization are important, it is the family that plays the most vital role.
Berns, R. (2004). Child, family, school, community: Socialization and support. Belmont, CA:
DeLamater, J. D., Myers, D. J., & Collett, J. L. (2014). Social Psychology.
Linley, J. L. (2015). We are (not) all Bulldogs: Minoritized peer socialization agents' critical
sensemaking about collegiate contexts.
OpenStax College. (2012). Agents of Socialization.
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