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What are the advantages of television as a socialization agent?

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Television can be used to socialize children. Television reaches a wide audience. Most people have some kind of access to cable and satellite television, and if one does not, one can always watch network television that is streamed for free. Most families have a television regardless of their income.

Television shows are also relatively short. This is important in that children's attention spans are often short. Most of a television show's storyline can be finished in thirty minutes or less. Many shorter children's cartoons often have two complete stories, with each one lasting fifteen minutes. A lot of children's programming teaches values such as hard work, honesty, and caring. Though the children do not realize it, they soon start to internalize these values.

Television also does not involve the constant attention of parents. Parents can used television as a "babysitter," as many children can sit enraptured by the programming. Though television is not a substitute for active parenting, it can be used as a reward for children or to give busy parents a break. Given the right programming, children can learn passively through television. Some of the newer television programs have the main characters address the children directly, thus giving the children opportunities to be participants in the show.

Television, if used correctly, can transfer many societal values to children. Children can learn about friendship, sharing, and responsibility before they ever start school. Good children's television is important, and its value should not be overlooked when it comes to raising well-rounded children.

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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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