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Socialization is viewed as a learning process in which an individual acquires the norms, values, beliefs, attitudes and language characteristics of his or her group (Gecas, 1992). Gecas added that in the meantime, individuals’ self-concept is also developed.
Gecas’ socialization definition not only shows the process of individuals’ learning to become a member of the community, but also emphasizes self-development. There are five dominant socialization agents: family, peers, school, environments and mass media. Family or parents are viewed as the primary socialization agent since pre-teen children are heavily influenced by their parents’ values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.
Peers become a critical socialization agent during the period of adolescence, though it can also be found throughout various age levels. As a socialization agent, mass media and environment plays a unique role in socialization process. The environment consists of various contexts including churches, work and neighborhood. Mass media consist of the seven traditional mass media channels including television, radio, films, recording industry.
It is evident that mass media have become such a powerful socialization agent in shaping individuals’ values, ideals, attitudes and behaviors through dynamic vicarious learning process (Tan, 1995; Bandura, 1994).
1.1 Background of the study
The history of mass communications is relatively short in the scope of world history. Although news-sheets appeared as early as 100 B.C., most forms of communication reaching large numbers of people have developed only in the last 500 years. As nations moved from agrarian- to industrial-based societies, tremendous social changes influenced the development of mass media. During the Industrial Revolution, advances in education and transportation, as well as increases in leisure time and urbanization, helped spur reader demand and hence the growth of newspapers, books and magazines.
As the public’s appetite for information and entertainment grew, technological innovations paved the way for the creation of the electronic mass media of the twentieth century. Satellite communications and the Internet are now among the products of today’s Information Age, sparked by the demand for even more channels of communication and socialization that are faster, clearer and farther-reaching.
From the simple, crude printing techniques of yesteryear to today’s sophisticated digital communications media that canvas the globe, the mass media have continually evolved and adapted to changing demands and technological opportunities. Over the years, a greater variety of mass media has appeared, combining new and old forms of technology and content. In some cases, the media have become more global, local, interactive and personal. In general, the media have also grown more specialized, competitive and consolidated.
Throughout their short history, the mass media have had a tremendous impact on the political, social, economic and cultural trends of every country. The media have been credited with such advances as the rise in literacy, childhood socialization and the distribution of the arts.
Given the sheer amount of time from infancy to adolescence that youth devote to media consumption, given the lack of parental awareness and control over that media exposure, and given the reduction in time that some children might spend on other socializing activities, one has to be concerned with the role of the mass media in socializing children.
The very act of engaging with the mass media either alone or with peers provides learning opportunities that socialize children. What children observe through the mass media’s window on the world alters their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors due, to these facts, it is important that media socialization as regard to childhood is given consideration.
1.3 Significance Of The Study
This study on the role of mass media socialization is significant because, this will provide the basis which will evaluates the degree at which children are being affected in the social life due to mass media contents. It will also provide the benefits and loop-hole associated to mass media socialization.
1.4 Research Question
In order to successfully carry out and give direction to this study, the following research questions were raised.
1.5 Objective of the study
This study will investigate and evaluate the role mass media play in childhood socialization. In other to carry out the study the following objectives are outlined.
1.6 Scope of the study/Delimitation
Socialization is one of the key ways of enabling individuals to become sound in terms of attitude or behavior in any society. Though there are several ways in which this can be accomplished; mass media is one of the agencies through which a child can be socialized. In view of this, the study discusses the role mass media play in childhood socialization.
In order to effectively carry out this research and to investigate the role mass media plays in childhood socialization, the researcher decided to limit this study to students of National Comprehensive Secondary School Awka, as a case study.
1.7 Conceptual Definition Of Terms
Some key concept words used in the context of this research work are listed below and properly defined.
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