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Socialization Through the Life Course

Socialization is “how individuals, beginning at an early age and continuing throughout their lives, learn about societal norms, values, and beliefs” (Luther et al., 2018, p. 16). It serves as an instrument of accord and unity among the members of society to ensure its survival. An agent of socialization is someone or something that “serves as a source for what is being learned” (DeLamater et al., 2015, p. 71). The agents of socialization include family, peers, school, and mass media. I believe that family and peers have had the greatest impact on me. My parents taught me how to treat others with respect, show compassion, and help people in need. By interacting with peers and friends, I understood the importance of values like friendship, loyalty, and honesty.

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The self is the individual observed as the source and the object of his/ her reflexive behavior. The notion of self includes the ability to differentiate ourselves from others, to see ourselves through the eyes of others, and to use a special language for thoughts (DeLamater, 2015). Before the age of 10, my sense of self was mostly formed under the influence of family and friends, and I viewed myself as a member of my family and a loyal friend. However, as I got older, school and mass media started to play a crucial role in my understanding of myself.

My achievements in academics and sport positively affected the way I perceived myself, while mass media hurt my self-esteem. Mass media often assigns specific roles to people of a certain race, ethnicity, and gender, which may lead them to wrong conclusions. Affected by mass media as a teenager, I associated myself with the typical person of my race, gender, and age, which made me confused about who I was. Now I am trying to be unbiased in my interactions with others, and I am convinced that a person’s self should be the result of his/ her unique character and history. We should not be the stereotypes mass media wants us to become.


DeLamater, J. D., Myers, D. J., & Collet, J. L. (2015). Social Psychology (8th ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Luther, C. A., Lepre, C. R., & Clark, N. (2018). Diversity in U.S. Mass Media (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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