Do you think the mass media significantly contributes to the socialization process?
When answering this question be sure to identify and describe the major agents of socialization in U.S. society today. Does the media have more influence over socialization than the other agents of social control? Why or why not?
I would argue that media has much less influence over socialization than most people think. Music, television, movies and the internet certainly play a role in socialization, but as with art, I believe the media is a reflection of society much more than it is an agent of shaping society.
Consider that music, movies, the internet and television all are media that continue to exist and evolve because they are profitable. To stay profitable or to increase profits means they change to whatever society demands - hence, they are a reflection of society. What media does do is change how we spend our time, and influence elements of language and everyday sayings. Great question by the way.
To answer a different aspect of your question than the previous answer, I think that the media is not the most important agent of social control or of the socialization process. In both cases, I would say that parents (for young kids) and peers are much more important.
The process of socialization occurs long before kids are exposed to any media in any ways that they can understand. Socialization occurs as parents tell their kids what's okay and what isn't and just as kids watch their parents, friends, teachers, etc.
I think that this comes before the media has a chance to have a huge impact. (Of course this depends on how soon and how much parents allow their kids to watch TV.)
I think that the media does possess a great deal of control over the socialization process. On one hand, individuals have a better understanding of their world through the reporting and discussion fostered by the media. The fact that individuals are able to carry on discussion of topics raised and explored in the media helps to substantiate the idea that the media plays a role in the socialization process. Through the depiction of issues like "beauty" or "success" via the media, individuals develop a better understanding of what these attributes resemble and this helps to develop a sense of self through the media. This would be another way how the media plays a role in the socialization process.
The media has a lot of control over the socialization process. When one looks at the values of a society and one sees that the media has changed significantly over the past thirty years in terms of sexual content, sexual undertones, and violence. People have become numb to programs and reports that in the past would have created a stir.
The media has helped to mold our social mores. When the media presents homosexuality in a more pleasant tone, persons have become more accepting of the stands. Rosie O'Donnell was aware of this when she aired her program about families of gay people on a cruise ship. It was addressed at helping to alter public opinion of what constitutes a family in the 21st century.
News shows only present the information that will sell. The media operates on the support of sponsors. If an issue is not going to draw public interest, the media will not present it. The news media also reflects the opinions of the person's who create the news as a team.
The fashion industry and product market functions on the media attitude that if the public identifies with a product it will sell. In order to sell products sexuality and music serve to entice the public.
Yes, the media has a significant impact on the social values and mores in a society.