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Agents of Socialization

Of the many agents of socialization (family, school, peer group, etc.), the mass media is gaining in importance at a rate faster than any other. Television, in particular, has become a critical force of socialization of children, often rivaling the family. According to Patricia McDonough (2009) of The Nielsen Company, children ages 2-5 watch more than 32 hours of TV a week and children ages 6-11 watch approximately 28 hours of TV a week. McDonough argues that older children watch fewer hours of TV because they are more likely to be attending school for longer hours.

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In this week’s Discussion, you will consider a specific issue in socialization that is affected or reinforced by the increasing amount of time children watch television.

McDonough, P. (2009). TV viewing among kids at an eight-year high. The Nielsen Company. Retrieved from


To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review Interactive Unit 2: Individuals in Society, paying particular attention to the sections on socialization.
  • Reflect on the idea that the media’s functions are to entertain, socialize, and enforce social norms.
  • Consider how a child’s age might affect his or her understanding of what is real on television.

With these thoughts in mind:

Post by Day 3 a description of potential implications for socialization that stem from discrepancies between television characters and reality. For example, you might want to conduct research to determine whether the ratio of male to female prime-time television characters is higher or lower than the actual ratio in the U.S. population, and then discuss why this might be important.

Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to the week’s required readings.


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