According to sociology, the family is considered the primary agent of socialization in any society. However as time change, secondary socialization agents are taking a more dominant role. I think mass media is in fact now playing the primary socialization agent especially in more developed societies. Not only that, but based on the culture of a society, family structure and the economy does influence how much of an impact mass media plays on the socialization process. Firstly, culture is the way of life of a people.
For instance, the culture of the Caribbean island Jamaica is patois being our language, or our way of dressing defines us. Thus, culture decides what is important or unimportant in any given society. Since the culture decides what is important from what is not, this can be seen as how mass media impact as a socialization agent. Take Jamaica for instance, we are very much dependent on foreign products as this is seen in our growing import bill over the years. The media influence this as foreign products are advertised on television cable stations. So we are socialized to want foreign products more than we want our local products.
Secondly, the family structure influence the mass media’s socialization in many instances. A single-parent home especially the absent father figure does play a role in how mass media play a role in how we are socialized. The absent father means there is no male guidance and role model to give advice about what to expect in life and what to do in situations. in light of this, they seek advice from mass media and thus it impacts how they behave. Lastly, the economy also plays a role in mass media becoming the primary socialization agent as opposed to the family.
With the harsh reality of unemployment being an unfortunate situation, parents that both have employment spend more time at work than they do interacting with their family. As such children are left to mass media while parents are busy. According to the late Barry Chevannes(2001), children learn how to behave by the interaction of family members. However, with parents too busy with work, children are forced to learn these behaviors by imitating what they see through mass media. Therefore, the culture of a society, the family structure and the economy are reasons why mass media is a primary socialization agent as opposed to the family.
The culture of a society determines what is important from what is not and thus culture influences what role mass media plays in our socialization. The family structure, especially single parent homes are impacted by mass media largely since the children are seeking advice about what society deems important. Lastly, the economy causes mass media to play a large role in the socialization of children. With parents busy at work, the children turn to mass media to imitate the behavior patterns.