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.
Political Ideas (from parents, school, media) to passive recipients (youth).
Children are active agents of their own political development.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
Goal: Harmonious Family
Tendencies: Children refrain from challenging adults and do not develop own political opinions.
Goal: Family Participation
Tendencies: Children are encouraged to challenge ideas and develop own political opinions.Meadowcroft’s Family Communication Patterns
Parents get a
“second chance at citizenship.”
McDevitt & Chaffee
Many other websites provide news aimed at children and youth.
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.