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4 Most Influential Agents of Socialization: Definition & Examples


Agents of Socialization-When children are born, they know nothing. But as they grow they acquire certain behaviors and learn various ways of responding to situations.

One may wonder what happens, but what happens is not something farfetched. The society, of which the family and other smaller groups are involved have merged its effects on the child to make him/her acquire those characteristics.

This phenomenon is termed Socialization and those factors responsible for those changes are termed Agents of Socialization.


Socialization can be simply put to mean the process whereby people relate with others in society but is broader than that.

However, one can better define socialization as the process whereby individuals acquire certain cultures by their interactions with society and its factors, in order to adapt to society.

Socialization is a lifelong process. Therefore we keep socializing as far as we breathe. We interact with people on daily basis and we must learn the different ways to meet the required demands.


Some factors termed Agents of Socialization as earlier mentioned are responsible for socialization. These factors include the family, schools, peers and the mass media.


The family is the first agent of socialization. Every form of learning and interaction begins with the family. As such, the family is the most important agent of socialization. Infants entirely depend on the guardians of their parents for every action they take.

Therefore, it is the parents who provide children with their initial system of beliefs, values and norms. These systems are based on their ethnic community, social status, religion and other factors. The system which the parents teach their children normally has strong yet lasting effects on their lives.


The school is another powerful tool for socialization. In a school environment, individuals meet different people from different environments (different families, have different upbringings) and so on.

These people seat in the same class and interact with one another. With time cultures are acquired and some cultures too waded off.

The school system also places these people from different places under certain curriculum and academic guidelines. These shape the attitude and behaviors of these various individuals. They learn to read, write and perform arithmetic.

They also learn to answer questions and how and the need to be obedient. Other extra-curricular activities will also teach these students how to work as a group and to perform projects.

  1. PEERS

With the saying “tell me who your friend is, and I will tell you who you are,” you will be able to understand that our peers or friends have a great influence on how we behave and what we learn.

The influence of peers primarily begins when a child is enrolled in school or even with the children in the street. They begin to play around, share ideas and grow in a circle of shared ideology.

Majorly, the areas of life peers influence more are the aspects of relationship, sex, fashion, appearance, music, drug and drug use and so on. Peer pressure is a proven agent of socialization.


This is one of the great agents of socialization. It cuts across both printed and air media: television programs, magazines, internet, movies, music and so on.

These things tend to talk to the minds of individuals thereby determining what they do and how they behave. It is difficult to measure the extent to which mass media causes socialization, but its effects are known.


In conclusion, these four factors: family, school, peer group and mass media are the most conspicuous agents of socialization known.

They affect to a great extent the values we bear, the behaviors we display, and generally how we interact with people and respond to situations.

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