Agents of socialization are groups of people or individuals that train new members of society.

Agents of socialization teach new members the social norms, values, and social skills of society.

They are the specific group of people that allows the socialization of individuals to take place effectively.

Agents of socialization are mostly people or groups that influence our self-concept, behaviour, and other orientation toward life.

People learn the skills necessary to become proficient members of society by interacting with different agents of socialization. 

These agents of socialization include family, peer group, neighbourhood, religious centre, school, mass media, etc.


Family is thought to be the most important agent of socialization because a child first interacts with the family before interacting with other agents of socialization. 

Family is the first group to have a major impact on us.

To the most individual, family serve as an important source of emotional support.

The main function of the family is to reproduce society, biologically through procreation and socially through socialization.

Producing society socially is what makes a family an agent of socialization. Families have strong ties. The impact of the family is so intense that its influence is lifelong. 

All members of the family (father, mother, siblings, and extended family) teach a child everything he needs to know. 

Children acquire their mother/father tongue, social skills, and knowledge of appropriate behaviour in the family.

Children learn to use eating utensils and electrical appliances from their families.

Families provide children with the basic system of norms, values, and social skills. The family provides us with ideas about who we are and what we deserve out of life.

It is in the family that we begin to think of ourselves as smart or dumb, strong or weak, hard-working or lazy, good-looking or ugly.

These beliefs are usually based on different factors like class and race. 

Sociologist Melvin Kohn pointed out that children are trained according to their parent's workload. 

This can be seen in our society. To illustrate, children from poor backgrounds tend to be obedient while those from wealthy families tend to be creative.

The reason for this is clear. Poor families are less educated and have repetitious jobs(like clerks) that require obedience and conformity, thus, they pass this to their young ones. 

Wealthy families, on the other hand, are more educated and have jobs(like managers) that require creativity, thus, they socialize with their young generation in the same way.


Schools represent a conventional and deliberate effort by society to train and socialize its young ones.

Given that students spend roughly 30 to 40 weeks in school each year, the importance of school in socializing individuals cannot be overemphasised.

The increase in the number of single parents seems to be making the role of school in socializing individuals even more and more important.

Generally speaking, children are registered in school for the fundamental purpose of acquiring education.

Education is the process by which the aggregate social skills, knowledge, values, and norms are transferred from one generation to another.

School socializes children in different ways. First, children are instructed on the "formal curriculum'–like math, reading, and writing. 

These formal curricula are certainly part of socialization, and so are the "hidden curricula".

The hidden curriculum is the informal indoctrination of societal norms and values by schools. 

For example, Schools teach your children sportsmanship when they participate in math/English competitions, even though it is not explicit.

Also, when children are grouped for project work, they learn the values of cooperation and teamwork.

This hidden curriculum of schools is not explicitly stated but they help socialize children for adulthood.

The Neighborhood

A neighbourhood is a geographically localized community within a larger city or town.

A neighbourhood is usually generated through social interaction.

As all parent knows, some neighbourhoods are better for their wards than others. These common-sense evaluations are derived from sociological research.

Sociologists have also discovered that resident of wealthy neighbourhoods watches out for their children more than those of poor parents.

Peer Group

Peer groups are groups of people, roughly of the same age, who share similar status, interests and characteristics.

Peer groups provide the platform for individuals to learn the prevailing societal norms and values.

These prevailing norms and values may be different from societal and family norms and values.

Pre-teen and adolescent years are when individuals most strongly experience the impact of peer groups on their socialization

Peer group helps adolescents form relationships on their own without the direct supervision of their parent. 

They help decrease the influence on family and schools.

They build a feeling of self-sufficiency and resistance to individuals.

Peer groups provide perspectives that may be different from the viewpoint of the individual.

Most people used peer groups as reference groups or standards for behaviours. 

Peer influences also extend to behaviour that violates social norms. Peer influences are largely linked to peer pressure.

Peer pressure is the way and manner by which peer groups influence the behaviour of members.

Peer pressure may be either positive or negative. An undergraduate encouraged by his peers to read his book provides an example of positive peer pressure.

On the negative side, his peers may encourage him to smoke, drink, or behave rather than maverick.

The Workplace

Most employed adults spend most of their time at work.

Workplace socialization emanates because workers need to learn the skill, behaviour, and knowledge of their workplace. 

Before now, many people worked a single job until they retired. These trends have changed. 

Currently, an average worker spends approximately 5 years on a job.

This means that there is an increasing need for workplace socialization.

The majority of workplace socialization is done through onboarding.

Onboarding (also called organizational socialization) is the process by which new employees are taught the skill, knowledge, and technique necessary to become proficient workers of the organization. Onboarding accelerates socialization. 

Mass Media

Mass media like televisions, newspapers, movies, the internet, etc are instruments of communication to a large group of people.

As such, mass media are one of the most powerful agents of socialization.

One primary feature of mass media is that there is no personal contact between those sending the information and those receiving the information, allowing people to express themselves freely.

In other words, mass media distribute impersonal information to a large audience.

If the internet, television, and cell phones were once considered a luxury, then the trends have changed as it has now become a necessity for many people. 

According to Gonalez “mass media- newspapers, magazines, comic books, movies and especially television present a very different form of socialization than any other because they offer no opportunity for interaction. Televisions influence children from a very young age and affect their cognitive and social development. Television is the medium with the greatest socialization effect surpassing all the other media by far on its influence on the young child”.

To emphasize the importance of mass media, some studies have revealed that the average human spends at least four hours on television daily.

And that is just only television! The internet is not included 😌.

The extent of the mass media influence cannot be exactly measured.

Most popular culture is, in part, moulded by mass media. 

People's behaviour and lifestyle are shaped by what they see, and hear on mass media.

For example, people who watched violent movies on television are more likely to behave aggressively than others who do not (according to some studies). 

This attests to the growing impact of mass media.



Religion is a collection of belief systems and worldviews that connect humanity to spirituality and moral values.

Religious institutions influence our ideas about what is right and wrong.

The significance of religion extends to many areas of our lives.

Religious institutions teach us ideas of what kinds of dress, speech, behaviour, and manners are appreciated for formal occasions.

There you have it! You should be able to explain each agent of socialization now. 

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  1. The writeup is very relevant. I grade them 100% with thanks.

    1. I am glad you find this helpful.

      Regards from eathyreading

  2. good for undergraduates

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