What are the advantages of television as a socialization agent?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Socialization is the process by which young people learn what is expected of them in a given society.  When people are born, they do not know how their society expects them to behave.  As they grow up, they learn the rules of society.  This is the process of socialization.  One way they might learn these rules is through watching television.  We can say that there are advantages that make television a good agent of socialization.

First, television is an agent of socialization that does not require very much effort by the people who are raising a child.  Parents can simply put a child in front of a television set or allow their older children to watch TV.  This does not require as much effort on their part as would be required if they were going to actively teach the children what behaviors were expected of them.  One advantage, then, is that television socializes without requiring anyone to exert much effort in socializing the child.

Second, television is likely to be a very effective agent of socialization because it is likely to hold children’s attention.  When children watch TV, they are not aware that they are being socialized.  They are less likely to tune out these lessons because the lessons are delivered as part of interesting stories.  If a parent sits down to lecture a child about behavior, the child is likely to get bored. If the child watches TV, they will enjoy their program and will be socialized without getting bored.  TV, then, is more likely to be effective as an agent of socialization because children will enjoy themselves as they are being socialized.

A final advantage is that television can reach massive numbers of people.  This means that television can socialize many more people than other agents and can do it in a relatively uniform way.  Everyone who watches a TV show sees the same thing and gets the same socializing messages.  This means that members of society will be receiving consistent messages.  When parents socialize children, for example, different parents will send different messages.  By contrast, TV can send everyone more or less the same message, thus making sure more people in a society come to believe in the same values.

All of these are ways in which television is better at socializing young people than other agents of socialization.

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peacehugs's profile pic

peacehugs | (Level 1) eNoter

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The exact definition of socialization is, itself, subjective. Television (originally a broadcast medium) has always been effective at socializing, if we define the latter to mean the dissemination and sharing of our ideas. Common ideas are also common things to talk about. Socializing is, of course, generally thought to be more than this. Modern television is becoming much more interactive, and this exponentiates its capability to disseminate. But the broadcast "screen" still exists (even on your tablet), and to the extent that this division BETWEEN people exists (and that IS what a screen is), the medium will forever be disandvataged... compared to, say, a concert, or even a trip to the museum, let alone a trip to where Leonardo Da Vinci spent his childhood.

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