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Political Socialization & The Role of the Media. The media reinforces values instilled by other socialization agents. The media opposes those value systems. . Current Youth Participation. Voter turnout for Americans ages 18-24 averages 17 percent less than that of other Americans.

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political socialization the role of the media
Political Socialization &The Role of the Media
  • The media reinforces values instilled by other socialization agents.
  • The media opposes those value systems.
current youth participation
Current Youth Participation
  • Voter turnout for Americans ages 18-24 averages 17 percent less than that of other Americans.
  • The future of the democratic process is at stake.
mcleod s theory
McLeod’s Theory
  • OLD ASSUMPTION:

Political Ideas (from parents, school, media) to passive recipients (youth).

  • NEW ASSUMPTION:

Children are active agents of their own political development.

myth 1
MYTH #1

“Children acquire civic orientations through modeling and direct attitude inculcation.”

Faults: Assumes children will always adopt their parents’ political opinions and fails to account for significant media influence.

myth 2
MYTH #2

“Political influence flows downward only – from societal institutions to children.”

Faults: Also assumes children will always adopt their parents’ political opinions and puts sole responsibility for political socialization on family.

myth 3
MYTH #3

“Adults may be agents in political socialization but themselves are unlikely to change.”

Faults: Assumes that exchanges between children and other agents are one-sided and do not result in changes in family dynamic.

myth 4
MYTH #4

“Socialization to politics should be conceptualized and measured as individual behavior.”

Fault: Fails to recognize political socialization as a series of socialization events precipitated by a number of agents.

the media chain
The Media Chain
  • Youth exposure to mass media leads to political discussions.
  • Political discussions lead to increased media consumption by parents.
  • Increased media consumption leads to political knowledge.
meadowcroft s family communication patterns
SOCIO-ORIENTED

Goal: Harmonious Family

Tendencies: Children refrain from challenging adults and do not develop own political opinions.

CONCEPT-ORIENTED

Goal: Family Participation

Tendencies: Children are encouraged to challenge ideas and develop own political opinions.

Meadowcroft’s Family Communication Patterns
the educator s role
The Educator’s Role
  • Civic curriculum leads to interest in political process.
  • Interest leads to increased news consumption.
  • Political knowledge leads to participation in democracy.
news consumption by politically aware parents children
News Consumption by Politically-Aware Parents & Children
  • Newspapers
  • Television
  • Internet (The Future)
youth bring politics home

Youth Bring Politics Home

Parents get a

“second chance at citizenship.”

McDevitt & Chaffee

kaiser family foundation children s media use study
Kaiser Family Foundation Children’s Media Use Study
  • One in four children 8 & older spends five hours a day viewing TV.
  • These children spend an average 40 hours per week viewing TV.
  • Sixty-five percent have a TV in their rooms.
the prairie village project american government for children
The Prairie Village Project“American Government for Children”
  • “American Citizenship”
  • “The History of American Gov’t”
  • “Federal, State & Local Gov’t”
  • “The History of the Presidency”
  • “The Three Branches of Gov’t”
  • “What is Government?”
  • What does citizenship mean?
  • What rights do citizens have?
  • What responsibilities do citizens have?
the future of political information
The Future of Political Information
  • “Children’s Express” – Britian
  • “SchoolNet Global” – International News
  • “Kids Post” – The Washington Post

Many other websites provide news aimed at children and youth.

the research gap
The Research Gap
  • Interest in children’s programming
  • Policy & production issues

VS.

  • Research on media effects
  • Media effects & developmental processes
potential benefits
Potential Benefits
  • Effective Media
  • Informed Youth
  • Informed Adults
  • Increased Participation
  • A Stronger Democracy
thank you for your attention
Thank You for Your Attention

Political socialization is not the most exciting segment of media study… but all of our futures – and that of our political system – may well depend on it.