How Adolescents Acquire Political Cognition

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Political socialization is an ongoing process that every individual goes through to establish their political beliefs and ideas. These political views that we form can include our political ideology, our social beliefs, our opinions on laws and public policies, and our level of nationalism and pride for our country. We tend to form our beliefs by what we surround ourselves with and what were influenced by growing up. How do childhood experiences affect the formation of political preferences? The four most prominent influences on political socialization of children are parents and family, peers, mass media, and schools.

I believe that throughout childhood our political opinions predominantly root from our parents and family. Despite differences and generation gaps, children tend to grow up and lean politically the way their parents do. A child’s most fundamental ethnic, religious, tradition, party, and social-class identifications are developed early on because they usually spend far more time with their families than with anyone else. For example, casual remarks made around the dinner table or while helping with homework can have an impact. Just look at the Bush family; this relationship is less strong on specific issues — like school prayer, abortion, and welfare programs — but they all hold the same general political views. Overall 60% of Americans keep the political parties until their parent’s death. Without having a parent of family oriented background, it would be harder during childhood to form political beliefs.

Our peers, friends, and acquaintances definitely shape our views to some degree. Adolescence is a time when peers play an increasingly important role in the lives of youth. Children and teens begin to develop friendships that are more intimate and exclusive. In many ways, these friendships are an essential component of development. They provide safe venues where youth can explore their identities. Also, The pressure to conform to group norms can have a powerful impact on young people’s political development if group members are engaged in activities directly related to politics, such as student government or working on a candidate’s campaign. We tend it associate ourselves with people who we agree with, including in our political standpoints.

The next source of political socialization that I think shapes our political beliefs is media. In modern times it is normal to see a child or adolescent glued to some sort of technology or mass media. Phones, television, computers, books, music, magazines, etc., are several ways political ideas could be conveyed. I have not seen any news channel that is unbiased; whether it is Fox News or CNN, they all have a evident political agenda. It is very easy for a young person to believe these sources of information because they seem credible and they’re easy to access.

Lastly and probably one of the most notable factors in political socialization is schools. By the time an adolescent reaches senior year of high school they would’ve already 13 years of their lives in school. During that time, political facts are learned through courses in history and government. Through this source of information and education, we base a lot of our political understandings. The most important task of schools as agents of political socialization is the passing on of knowledge about the fundamentals of government, such as constitutional principles and their implications for citizens’ engagement in politics. Students who master these fundamentals feel competent to participate politically. Generally, these courses also encourage students to critically examine government institutions. They are likely to develop the habit of following politics in the media and to become active in community affairs. Through this source of information and education, we base a lot of our political understandings.

There are many key roles in childhood that lead to a person’s politic views. Although political socialization helps the individual figure out which political group they belong to, it is not always beneficial. Our generation and posterity need to be aware of socialization and think about the facts in order to come their own conclusions. We should not just accept the ideas of others.

Watch this awesome video that explains Politcal Socialization! (:

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  1. kevincrowell28 · September 9, 2014

    I totally agree with your blog post! it totally educated me about the way i am a independent republican! I liked it alot when you talked about obama being a bad president and how he put us in a trillion dollar debt ! Its so scandal the way the social media is come by.

  2. kdunnmvhs · September 9, 2014

    This was a very interesting post to read! I liked the use of media and hyperlinks 🙂

  3. nicklikens · September 9, 2014

    nice post, just like you!

  4. zachhammond10 · September 10, 2014

    I like your blogpost! It’s very interesting, and informative! I like how you talk about media being one of the factors that shapes our political beliefs, and the way we interact with technology to use it as a source of information! Good job!!!

  5. Michelle Picca · September 10, 2014

    Thanks guys (:

  6. Ms. Atkins · October 3, 2014

    Michelle! I echo your peer’s sentiments. 🙂 Your posts are thorough, thoughtful, and well-articulated. I am confident that you will excel in your political studies in college (even if they challenge you with technology). You have demonstrated your ability to not only be tech-savvy, but to excel at it! 🙂

    • Michelle Picca · October 5, 2014

      Thank you for being an excellent educator! You promote an environment where I feel like I am able to not only share my contribution, but also know it is actually considered and appreciated. ☺Words are inadequate to express my gratitude! (:

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