Society plays significant role in socialization of young generation by influencing their values and attitudes. Traditionally, socialization process took place under well structured units such as family, religion and schools. However, due to shift towards modern and technologically oriented society, news media is largely controlling socialization process.
Over the years, media usage by teenagers between ages of eight to eighteen has been increasing (Rideout et al. 2). On average, teenagers spend more time watching movies, listening to music, chatting on-line with friends on social networks as well as playing video games. This has left little time for them to engage in other activities such as interacting with parents.
Technological advancement has also enhanced accessibility to on-line and mobile media which is widely used by young generation. Mobile media through cell phones, laptops and iPods have increased exposure of teenagers to outside world. The exposure has increased usage, which in turn increases media opportunities to socialize teenagers compared to other social structures such as family.
Media usage patterns profoundly reflect on opinions and attitudes of an individual (Multz 38). Different media platforms differ in what they represent to the audience when presenting similar or same subject. Media presentation may not always be biased (O’Brien 11).
Besides, media business is less concerned with broadcasting facts; it gives priority to analysis and subjective assessment which may touch on few factual details. Such an analysis influences political attitudes and opinions of the audience due to technique and order used in presentation of news. Moreover, family may play a role in political socialization but ultimately, media has greater impact owing to change in family structure and increased exposure as well as usage by young generation.
Agenda setting by media dictates the nature of information that is availed to the public (O’Brien 11). Usually, cognition process in individuals depends on available information. If an individual’s exposure to information relies on media, opinions of individual will profoundly depend on such information.
However, advanced technology generation coupled with various media platforms has led to less reliance on media since individuals do not have to fully depend on a single source of media to gain knowledge on specific subjects. There is a wider prerogative to evaluate information from different sources before forming an opinion.
In addition, various kinds of communication offer audience opportunity to access accurate and unbiased information. This assists individuals to form their own opinion after evaluation of information available from various sources thereby mitigating the effect which media had before in the course of influencing attitudes and opinions.
Over the years, politicians have also made use of media consultants to set their agenda for political campaigns (Trent & Friedenberg 14). This has greatly helped politicians to canvas issues that affect society without presenting facts on the very issues and how they intend to tackle them once they are in office.
However, this was possible in an era where voters had exposure to few media platforms which through manipulation could represent politician favorably. This might work to their detriment especially with increase of media platforms through which information flows. Politicians need to make use of all media avenues to address issue that affect society. Only politicians who are versatile and dynamic in doing this will succeed in influencing political attitudes in their favor.
Technological advancement has shifted responsibility of socializing young generation from traditional structures such as the family. Traditionally, media was able to influence political attitudes of individuals through agenda setting due to limited media platforms. However, advances in information technology have greatly influenced people’s perception.
Multz, Diana. Political persuasion and attitude change. Michigan: University of Michigan Press. 1996, Print.
O’Brien, Keith. “The Media Narrative Emphasizes Analysis More so than the Facts.” PR week Jun 16 2008: 11-. ABI/INFORM Complete. Jun. 27, 2011. Web.
Rideout, Victoria, Foehr, Ulla, & Roberts, Donald. “Generation M2: Media in the lives of 8- to 18-year-olds.” Jan. 2010. Jun. 27, 2011. Web.
Trent, Judith & Friedenberg, Robert. Political Campaign Communication: Principles and Practices. Devon: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher. 2008. Print.