What Are the Primary and Secondary Agents of Socialization?

Family members are the primary and most important agents of socialization. Secondary agents of socialization include learning institutions, the church, mass media, peer groups and the workplace. Socialization is the process through which people learn how to behave and relate with others.

Socialization is a continuous process of inheriting and disseminating customs, norms and ideologies that provide a person with the necessary skills for him to function properly in society. It is the process whereby individuals learn to be effective members of a given group. It is through socialization that individuals learn how to walk, talk and feed.

Primary and secondary socialization are the two kinds of socialization important in the life of a human being. Primary socialization involves learning of the attitudes, values and norms of one’s culture. The family is the first point of an individual’s interaction. Children depend on parents and other family members for everything and look up to them. From the family, a person learns how to share resources and how to care about others.

Secondary socialization involves learning what is considered as fitting behavior as a member of a particular group within society. In schools, apart from acquiring knowledge and skills, children learn how to follow instructions and obey those in authority. Individuals also learn about social skills from their peers. Mass media, such as Internet, television and radio, expose people to information that shape their behavior.