Effects of Agents of Socialisation on Children

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How do agents of socialisation influence gender identities in children? We are all the products of socialisation, the way that we behave and everything that we do is a model of what society wants. This process of moulding begins from birth and it is our parents, being the primary agent of socialisation, that influence us the most. However, other agents such as education, media etc. all have a great part to play as well. During this discussion, I would predominantly like to focus on two agents of socialisation; family and media. To make my points known successfully, I will use examples from the T.V. programme, ‘Children of Our Time’. Firstly, I believe that the strongest impact made on our children in terms of gender identity is the canalisation stage, where they are first introduced to society’s demand for an ideal girl and boy and what roles they must play in the future. Canalisation is the term used to describe the way children are given sex appropriate toys in order to imbed in their minds the gender roles that society has prepared, i.e. girls are given dolls and model kitchens, while boys are given tools and cars. This gives them little freedom to choose what role they wish to take on and these models are the creation of the media and parents being influenced by the mass media often succumb into these sex appropriate toys as are apprehensive to sway far from the norm to instil in their children different, perhaps better principles than the ones prepared by society. The effect on children as a result of this canalisation would be that; boys could have a lack of respect for women and may feel that they belong in the kitchen (such an old fashioned idea that almost no woman complies to); girls could start to worry about their appearance from a very young age, due to the shape and size of dolls. Furthermore, the type of family also depends on what the

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