According to the Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, “Socialization” is the process by which we learn to become members of society, both by internalizing the Norms and values of society, and also by learning how to perform our social roles as workers, friends, citizens, and so forth. This process of human development is said to be based on the concept of “Nature vs. Nurture”, that is the comparative importance of heredity (nature) and the environment (nurture) in the causation of human behavior.
The mass media, which refers collectively to all media technologies such as the radio, internet, television, film and smart phones, has the ability to constantly communicate messages to extremely large audiences across the globe and therefore is a major influence on the way the environment affects our socialization process. Mass media is a significant force in modern culture; sociologists refer to this as mediated culture, were the media reflects and creates culture.
Although family is suppose to be the most important agent of socialization the development of new technologies has bridged an increasing gap between the older and younger generations. Newer generations are drawn into the entertaining and appealing world of technology and are being constantly bombarded with messages from a multitude of media sources, these messages not only promote products, but moods, attitudes, and a sense of what is and is not important.
With lesser and lesser interaction between the older and younger generations cultural traditions, values, morals and attitudes of institutions and families are being disintegrated and replaced by the mass Medias ideas and perceptions. This social conditioning is spread mainly through Music, television, the internet and print media. Music exerts significant influences on its listeners as it can express, convey and illicit powerful emotions that its listeners find relatable. Music has a major positive and negative influence on the way individuals dress and speak, as well as their behaviors and moods.
Individuals create role models out of their favorite artists and use the various media sources to monitor these celebrities, they then copy how they dress and try to imitate the different slangs they use. This gives them a sense of belonging and provides them with an opportunity to fit into a certain social groups. For instance, Jamaican dancehall artist vybz kartel is a major role model to adolescence, teens and even kids in Jamaica; he is well known and often imitated. In 2010 he created such songs as “Clarks” and Straight Jeans and Fitted”, this lead to a rise in the sales of Clarks in as well as a new way of dressing that quickly spread across the country; the style consisted of a white v-neck t-shirt, straight jeans, a rosary chain and a fitted cap. In 2011 vybz kartel also came up with his signature words “oh” and “awoah” which quickly became popular sayings. The imitation the fashion and slangs used by these artists are not always positive as they have their negative side effects such as inappropriate dressing, segregation and increase in profanity.
Music videos often show artists and their back up dancers in skimpy clothes or “sagging” jeans which older members of society may deem inappropriate but because younger impressionable viewers see their favorite artists dressed in that particular manner they are convinced that it is ok to wear such outfits. For instance, In the 90’s hip hop artists would wear jeans below their groin which lead to a wave of men all over the world “sagging” their jeans.
What many men did not know was that the style had developed in prison as criminals could not wear belts which caused their pants to sag. Segregation among teens may also arise as different groups dress to match the various musicians they listen to. For example, in places such as the U. S. A people who listen to rock music would wear all black and heavy chains to identify themselves with a particular group such as “The Punks” or “The Goths”, while people who listen to pop would wear colorful clothes and they would be identified with “The Preps”.
Slangs individuals copy may also create controversy as many songs relay harsh languages, after listening to a song with numerous curse words individuals tend to use these profane languages, most times without noticing. A little profanity may be harmless, for instance if adults are having a conversation they may use it to add emphasis to their stories as colorful words can make a story funnier, but profanity becomes a problem when a child is exposed to it.
When a child hears a curse word he will not immediately recognize that he shouldn’t be using the word himself as growing children tend to mimic what they hear around them. Our behaviors and moods can be greatly influenced by music whether it is uplifting or downtrodden, the tone of music can and usually does have some effect on the listener, both positive and negative. Music can bring a calmness & relaxation and stimulate the brainwaves but it can also lead to the use of drugs and alcohol and violent or taboo behavior. Music has the power to reate calm and relaxing ambiance as well as a romantic atmosphere, it is also capable of putting the listener in a reflective state of mind or influence them to suddenly jump up and dance. The right song can put anybody in a better mood and soothe emotions as music can verbalize and express our feelings for us in a way we could not do ourselves, with numerous songs to match the different situations we might find ourselves in, this prevents our stress responses from wreaking havoc on our bodies thus giving music the capability to keep depression and anxiety at bay.
According to health educator Elizabeth Scott, research has shown that your brain waves can be stimulated by strong beats, this is due to the brain resonating in sync with the beat. A faster beat creates faster concentration and more alert thinking while a slower beat can create a calm meditative state. A great example of how music affects the brain is an experiment done by David Merrell, a high school student in Suffolk, VA, to test the effect different genres of music have on mice.
He used 72 male laboratory mice, a stopwatch, a maze and music from Mozart (classical) and Anthrax (rock). He separated the mice in three groups of twenty-four; a control group, a hard rock group and a classical group. He put the mice in the maze before exposing them to music and found that each one took a base time of 10 minutes to navigate the maze. Then David started playing music 10 hours a day to the classical and rock group.
The results showed that the control group which had no music was able to cut five minutes off the ten minutes it originally took them to navigate the maze while the mice that navigated the maze with Mozart where able to cut eight and a half minutes off their time. What were most shocking were the results of the mice that were exposed to rock music, they bumped through the maze dazed and confused and tripled the time it took them to navigate the maze originally. What was most horrific about the mice that listened to rock was that when grouped together they killed themselves.
The lyrics some artist use in their songs can have grave effects on its listeners. Many artists glamorize drugs and alcohol, kids and teens who tune into popular music get an earful of drinking, snorting or smoking. According to a report done by The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Teenagers listen to an average of nearly 2. 5 hours of music per day and One in three popular songs contains explicit references to drug or alcohol use which means kids are receiving about 35 references to substance abuse for every hour of music they listen to.
This encourages them to want to try these drugs, they are likely to think it is “cool” or “the hip thing to do” as their favorite artists use these drugs all the time. For instance, popular, new artists such as Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa have gained instant fame due to the numerous songs they have produced about the use of marijuana and other drugs, such songs include; Wiz khalifa’s “young & wild and free” in which the lyrics of the chorus are: “So what we get drunk, so what we smoke weed, we’re just having fun we don’t care who sees, living young and wild and free. Attitudes, values behaviors portrayed in lyrics may influence how young listeners think and act. This can lead to violent behavior, suicidal thoughts and even body modifications. On April 20, 1999, two Columbine High School students walked into their school in Littleton, Colorado, shot and killed thirteen people, and injured twenty-three others before turning the guns on themselves. Finger flailed and landed on gothic artists Marylyn Manson, who the parents believed had influenced the teens to kill.
It is purported that the two boys who did the killings, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, where both followers of Marilyn Manson, and ran down the halls screaming “Marilyn Manson rules! ” while shooting their classmates. The artist has openly encouraged killing in his lyrics, the lyrics in Manson’s song “KILL, KILL, KILL” state: “I don’t know what is wrong with me, the person I use to know and love is no longer me. Maybe it is my gun every time I look at it, it says-shoot me, shoot me, shoot me I believe it has me under a spell, if anyone ever messes with me again I’m going to kill, kill, kill”.
Music and musicians can also influence its listeners to modify or alter their bodies. Some of these alterations maybe normal, for example; tattoos, while some maybe taboo for example; bleaching. For instance, popular controversial Jamaican artist Vybz Kartel has encouraged a new trend among Jamaicans. With his recent song “cake soap” and his pushing of the product as well, many Jamaicans have now picked up bleaching as a social norm, what was once taboo to this society has now become accepted as a normal thing to do.