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Social Influences In Todays Society Young People Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Young People
Wordcount: 1630 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The five social influences that are being chosen are the media (news), new technology such as (television, computers, video games, and cell phones), punishments and/or the lack of, poverty, and divorces. All of these affect the way children are being influenced, raised, and how they deal with their daily lives and futures to some extent. Some of these affect more than others and they can affect on different levels, some on a positive note and others on a negative.

Over the last generation a lot of things have changed in the way parenting and households work, how technology has sky rocketed, and they way media is being portrayed. All of these changes have dramatically changed the way our society deals with numerous things, how children are being brought up, and how our children are being influenced.

Our technology has increased to the extreme, now we have television, cell phones, and video games of all sorts. Children spend more time doing these things than playing with other kids or going outside to play. Their lives are based on what they play, have, and do. Our news is more in depth; we look at reality and try to make a story out of it no matter what it is. The way families and schools handle punishments has changed too. We are more lax on kids now; we use different forms of punishments that do not always work. More parents choose to divorce or do not even get married in the first place. The binds that once were, are really not there anymore, which can have affects on a child being raised. The last one is poverty; this is an important factor too. Believe it or not poverty is at an all time high affecting more children than adults in the United States. (Knapp, 1995)

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Analysis of Social Influence

New Technology:

Technology can be very beneficial in a society. We use it in America every day. It has helped business grow, add different types of communication, stay in touch with others. It helps cut down on some environmental factors such as paper waste. But even with all of these benefits it can have very negative effects on children and adults. These negative effects are the lack of personal attachment, personal communication, kids and adults get sucked into it too deep, they are used as escape goats. It is being used more and more to raise kids than an actual parent.

Based on studies, computers prevent children from interacting with each other and with adults. While these children need stronger interpersonal ties with supportive adults, the use of the computer technology only serves to keep children and adults apart. (Slavin, 1998) On the other side of the study it indicates that children who engaged in adult-mediated computer activity improved the level of their cognitive performance on measures of abstract thinking, planning ability, vocabulary, and visual-motor coordination, as well as on measures of response style including reflectivity.

In Vygotsky’s theory of development, he states that social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development. When you compare using technology to not using technology, then the usage of technology would make it to where cognitive development would not be developing properly because of the lack of social interaction. It would alter the development because the type of interaction is virtual rather than face to face.


The lack of discipline in a child’s life during the early years often promotes insecurity, dependence, and uncontrolled behavior. The way children are punished today is through a non physical punishment. Timeouts are a very big trend. Putting a child in a place to sit for a minute every year their age is. So an example of this would be an eight year old who gets sent to time out and sits for eight minutes; this approach takes the hands off the children. Another trend is redirection; this is where you redirect a child from the negative behavior to a different task. You are basically redirecting what they are doing at that present time.

Using time out can be effective; it underscores the relationship between behavior and consequences. Discipline is about guiding children into acceptable and desirable behavior. Time outs give them an opportunity to make the connection between the behavior and the negative consequence (Reese, 1997). Time out also can be problematic. One of the problems with time out and redirection is the lack of fear. Most children feel time out is fun; they tend to misbehave even more than the start. Another problem is it takes more from a parent to do time out than corporal punishment. Corporal punishment has been a long debate; many advocate it and many are against it.

With timeout and redirection you would be using Vygotsky’s theory of development, since you are socially interacting with the child. This can help them focus and grow in a positive way. Since each interaction is considered a learning experience, when timeout is being used they are learning that if they do a behavior that is not wanted then they will sit for so much time (Zhang, 2010).


The media is a very important aspect in our lives today. We broadcast anything and everything that can make a story. A lot of the media is altered for ratings. There is more displayed than ever before. Reality television is very big in the world today. This can have a very negative impact on children today. They see other kids doing wrong but then getting a show out of it. These types of media can be overwhelming for a child. Their brains are not fully developed and they do not understand what exactly is going on. These types of negative behaviors can rub off on the child.

A research study that was done showed the more exposure six month old infants have to media, particularly media directed toward older children and adults, the less developed their cognitive and language skills may be at fourteen months, according to research published in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (2010). In Vygotsky’s theory, children imitate their surroundings and peers.

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Unfortunately this happens everywhere and it is happening more and more in the United States than ever before. Children are going without food. A long-term study of cognitive development in lower- and middle-class students found strong links between childhood poverty, physiological stress and adult memory. Compared to well-off kids, poor children tend to go to ill-equipped and ill-taught schools, have fewer educational resources at home, eat low-nutrition food, and have less access to health care (Knapp, 2005).

Cultural/Regional Differences

Social exposure to various cultures expands a child’s pool of knowledge. The more experiences that a child has, the richer their world becomes. Developmental advancements, dependent upon the people and the cultural tools provided to the child, will help him to form his perceptions of the world.

Not all places around the world are up to date on all of the new technology. Some of these places really have no need for all of it either. Arranged marriages is very common in the Middle East, India and Africa, while in some Asian and most Western cultures, the romantic marriage is idealized and one has a right to choose their marriage partner and thus an arranged marriages is perceived as an infringement on this right and viewed unfavorably.

Generational Differences

In older generations there was some technology but nothing compared to what we have now. Children would play outside from sunrise to sunset, they were rarely ever in the house. They would go to school and come home just to play with friends. Families were more family orientated, dinners would be served and all would gather to eat. School was a very important aspect in the children lives and so was music. Children would develop more of a personal bond with their family and friends. Marriage was an important factor as well; it was against moral values to have a child out of wedlock. Children grew up in a two parent home front. The biggest difference is the direction we are heading. A great example of this is older generations were preparing their children to work on farms and now we are preparing our children to work on computers.


In society today, we are using social interaction through various forms. It is no longer just a parent and a child. Many of the technological advances take the place of this; which in turn can result a hindrance on cognitive behavior. Even at an early age televisions, games, media, and other exposures are coming into the picture. In Vygotsky’s theory, imitative learning is the first, where the child simply copies another person. Second is instructed learning, where a child recalls direction given by a teacher and then puts it into play, and the third is collaborative learning. Collaborative learning happens when a peer group cooperates to learn or achieve a specific goal while working to understand one another (Eckhoff, 2008).

If you believe in Vygotsky’s theories you would want to advise parents to expose their children to a variety of social situations, since each interaction is considered a learning experience. It is especially important to introduce children to people and ideas that operate above their current knowledge level, giving them access to new ideas and concepts. Guiding children to look for answers by imitating what they see in others, listening to instruction and working as part of a group all provide opportunities for them to expand their current base of knowledge (Zhang, 2010).


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