Institutions, Media, Peers and Family as an Agent of Socialization

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1212 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Jul 3, 2023

Words: 1212|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Jul 3, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Family as an Agent of Socialization
  2. Peers as an Agent of Socialization
  3. Mass Media and Formal Institutions as an Agent of Socialization
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

Socialization is a process through which people learn the social norms of the society in which they live. This process teaches people to behave in the manner acceptable to society. This facilitates social interaction by exchanging common values, customs, traditions, languages, etc. It develops within a person a sense of belonging with all those who re interacted with. The agents through which we learn include family, school, peers, and mass media. This paper will describe such instances as mass media, peers and family as an agents of socialization and explain how we are socialized through formal institutions like schools and workplaces.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Family as an Agent of Socialization

Family is the first agent of socialization and will always be an agent until we die. Parent-child relationship is the first socialized behaviour learning. Children are dependent on their parents to feed them and clearn them, therefore they call upon their parents when they require assistance. Parents teach the child to care for him and others and to have values and beliefs that reflection of their own social status, religion, ethnic group, and more. Every family is different even though belong to the same society. Some would put more emphasis on education while others will put more emphasis on religion or discipline. The socializing children receive from their families will not be uniform, however, family is the foundation of the socialization process

Peers as an Agent of Socialization

Peers are those who are similar age and have similar social identity. From the age of three children encounter peer group influence. The peers ally those in close proximity such as the immediate family, neighbours and day care friends. With peers, the child begins to broaden his or her circle of influence to people outside of the immediate family. At the beginning a child deals with people in a superior position. When a child starts interacting with peers the child starts learning social skills in group situation with social equals.

Mass Media and Formal Institutions as an Agent of Socialization

Mass media delivers a message directly to a vast audience at the same time. The influence of mass media includes television, radio, movies, music, books, magazines, newspapers and Internet. Due to the influence mass media has on behaviour it serves as a an agent for socialization. The influence of media starts when the child starts watching cartoons and the characters start shaping the child’s perception of socializing. This continues through life via characters in movies, singers and ads in newspapers and magazines amongst others. It is often noticed that a child want to imitate a superhero. Even violent video games can influence behaviour.

Schools as an institution are governed by a curriculum and a code of conduct and are influenced by the Government who has a desired outcome. “The purpose of schooling is the transmission of culture, the process by which the culture of a society is passed on to its children. Individuals learn their culture; acquire knowledge, beliefs, values, and norms” (Saldana, 2013). The school system responds to society’s needs, recently the Department of Education in South African want to introduce sex education through life skills in schools due to the increased teenage pregnancy. Since the creation of schools its role as an institution is social control.

“An educational system is both a state institution and a partly self-regulatory agent or field of socialisation. On the one hand, an educational system is one of the most easily and swiftly controllable institutions that should help to implement state policy and disseminate the appropriate ideology”. Learners spend approximately six hours a day in a school environment; this is a huge amount of time that produces most of the influences on learners.

The classroom has two contexts in which socialization occurs. The first is determined by the textbook and the cognitive aims of the process of teaching. The second is determined informally by the inter-personal relations of students with teachers and among other students (peer group). Schools normally encourage communal activities that have socializing effect on the students. During these informal activities students learn to accept each other’s culture, and background.

The work place is another form of a formal institution that acts as an agent for socialization. Similar to children that spend a significant amount of time at school, adults spend more time at the workplace. As opposed to the school environment, at the work place a person meets colleagues not only with various backgrounds, culture and believes but also a bigger age gapes. This helps a person to broaden his social tolerance and acceptance. Furthermore the work place teaches a sense of responsibility and reliability as well as mannerisms with respect to superiors even if they are younger, as well as juniors and subordinates.

“The workplace performs its socialization function through onboarding. This is the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours to become effective organizational members. Tactics used in this process include formal meetings, lectures, videos, printed materials, or computer-based orientations. Research has demonstrated that these socialization techniques lead to positive outcomes for new employees including higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater organizational commitment, and reduction in stress. These outcomes are particularly important to an organization looking to retain a competitive advantage in an increasingly mobile and globalized workforce”.

Other forms of institutions are mental hospitals, military, prisons, monasteries and orphanages amongst others. “The goal of total institutions is resocialization, the radical alteration of residents’ personalities by deliberately manipulating their environment. Key examples include the process of resocializing new recruits into the military so that they can operate as soldiers. Resocialization is a two-part process. First, the staff of the institution tries to erode the residents’ identities and independence. Second, resocialization involves the systematic attempt to build a different personality or self. This is generally done through a system of reward and punishment. The privilege of reading a book, watching television, or making a phone call can be a powerful motivator to conform. Conformity occurs when individuals change their behavior to fit in with the expectations of an authority figure or the expectations of a larger group”.

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In conclusion, socialization through family, peers, mass media, and social institutions plays a crucial role in shaping individuals and their interactions within society. The essay has explored how these agents of socialization influence our beliefs, values, behaviors, and perceptions from early childhood through adulthood. Recognizing the role of these agents of socialization allows us to better understand how individuals are socialized and the mechanisms through which social norms and cultural values are transmitted and reinforced. By critically analyzing and understanding the dynamics of socialization, we can navigate the complexities of our social world and work towards a more inclusive and equitable society.


  • Amon, S., Shamai, S., & Ilatov, Z. (2008). Socialization Agents and Activities of Young Adolescents. Adolescence, 373-397.
  • Boundless Sociology. (n.d.). Agents of Socialization. Retrieved 12 1, 2019, from Boundless Sociology:
  • Kalmus, V., & Pavelson, M. (2002). Schools in Estonia as Institutional Actors and as a Field of Socialisation. The Challenge of the Russian Minority: Emerging Multicultural Democracy in Estonia, 227-236.
  • North, E. J., & Kotzé, T. (2001). Parents and television advertisements as consumer socialisation agents for adolescents: An exploratory study. Journal of Family Ecology and Consumer Sciences, 91-99.
  • Saldana, J. (2013). Power and Conformity in Today’s Schools . International Journal of Humanities and Social Science , 228-232.   
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Institutions, Media, Peers and Family as an Agent of Socialization. (2023, July 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
“Institutions, Media, Peers and Family as an Agent of Socialization.” GradesFixer, 03 Jul. 2023,
Institutions, Media, Peers and Family as an Agent of Socialization. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 May 2024].
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