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The socialization process is the process of acquiring knowledge of culture,

of how to become members of society through leaning of behaviors or
norms while gaining insights into values and roles within ones social
context. This process is a continual one that remains constant throughout
o As a result of the passage of time many aspects of the socialization
process have changed within many societies and contexts. In
examining this change, a comparison between two different
generations, X and Z, with regard to their distinctive socialization
processes will be explored while taking into consideration the
influences of agents of socialization such as ethnicity and culture,
family, school and technology.

Generation X is the general term referring to those who were born from the mid
60s (1965) to around 1980. This generation is commonly characterized as
cautious, independent and apolitical among many generalizations. From a
personal perspective, both my parents were born and raised in rural China. And
while they are classified as generation X and share common experiences with
the western equivalent, they also possess many different characteristics.

I am classified as somewhere between generation Y (1981 around 2000)

and generation Z (1995 2010) or for a broader term, the millennials.
Much of my earlier influences where of a different culture, however late
childhood, I was assimilated into western society, which prompted some
changes in agents of socialization, most notably secondary.

At the basis of primary socialization are the parents who enforce basic behavioral
conducts and are responsible for general familial traits. The Chinese generation X
was born the eve before the implementation of the one child policy and so
usually had one or more siblings. Generation Xers can be said to have been
exposed to more socialization with those similar in age and is imparted more
aspects of social skills such as constructively coping with conflict. The next
decades of generations in China began to see most families with an only child.

As part of one such family, I am subject to the theory of the little emperor
syndrome as part of a generation that grew up the receiver of attention
from both parents and grandparents. As an only child, I do believe that I
have more spending power and a habit for self-fulfillment. The Chinese
millennials also bears burdens from parents who lived through restrictions
of the Cultural Revolution to succeed academically and financially in order
to support aging family members.
I believe that burden is lessened by the intercontinental separation of
family excepting my parents. The western ideal is however, one of
individuality, where children of each generation are expected to move out
and support themselves. These ethics are taught and observed by children
from a young age. The expectation that I should also support them in old
age has also changed slightly due to western societal influences of

Authoritative figures of generation X in the wider society such as parents and

teachers show similar trends of being strict voices of reason while those of
younger generations of Y and Z have more alternative relationships. Of one born
in 1970, she says that her father was someone who was always to be obeyed,
never questioned and never joked with. Millennials show more tendencies to
question and challenge their parents ideals but have also developed somewhat
closer relationships than previous generations with an element of friendship.

While there is an increasing sense of entitlement and narcissism among

younger generations there is also increasing elements of confidence and
open-mindedness in regard to controversial topics as compared to older
generations. Families are generally becoming smaller as traditional gender
roles fade as many begin to pursue active careers in favor of marrying and
starting a family.
Women are becoming more integrated into the workforce, having less
children and marriage is not as actively pursued by current generations.
This is influencing younger generations to become more independent.
Parenting methods are also more lenient as each generation seeks to give
their children what freedom and choices that they sought to have
themselves. As time passes, peer group influences is increasing and
surpassing the parental influence as the world becomes more connected
and norms start to overlap between different societies. Current trends
show a breaking away from tradition, questioning of authoritative figures
and more consideration for the self.

Technology has had widespread effects on many aspects of society and has
experienced and effected many changes over time. While generation X saw the
emergence and development of technology such as computers and the internet,
which redefined communication, this advancement did not become very
widespread, particularly in rural or undeveloped areas, until the 1990s. As a
result, they were not exposed to the effects of globalization due to technology
during early childhood and teenage years. Most socialization sought was face to
face and many would not see a computer until their college years.

Television and radio was a luxury that my parents, growing up in rural

China could not afford. It was not until the late 1980s that the Chinese
government would become less restrictive about the possibly anticommunist influences that came with forms of music, art and technology.
Compared to todays technologically savvy generations, the youths of
generation X grew up in a more sheltered environment without much
worldly stimuli or media that could influence them to challenge societal
Gen Xers use of social media is popular but is not central to their lives as
compared with millennials. Generation Xs delayed exposure to
communicative social media has the effect of allowing them to a certain
degree, better collaboration and more developed socialization abilities as
compared to the millennials preferred method of online communication
rather than in person.

While generation X was raised during the era of emerging technology, the
millennials were born into it. This generation is the most technologically savvy of
the generations, with generally the highest usage of social media, the internet
and devises such as iPad and mobile phones. Technology is deeply integrated
into modern generations lives. It is an active component for existence for a
representative sample of my peers and me. Social media sites such as Facebook
are accessed many hours a day to keep up with any current affairs both of the
wider society of the macro world and our own micro societies.

Laptops, interactive surfaces and multimedia modules such as YouTube

are commonly used in correspondence to traditional schooling and
teaching methods while also being locales for entertainment. More so than
previous generations (X), technology has become an essential part of our
everyday life. Evolvement of film, phone, video calls (Skype etc.) and other
communicative technology has allowed later generations to challenge
many norms due to more understanding and insight into other cultures
ideologies and values. This has changed the socialization process globally
to change become more and more uniform by connecting and uniting
common generations from many societies. In usage of text messaging
and social media, millennials have become much more independent from
their parents, are engaging less in physical socialization and are more
connected via internet.

Educational institutions are formalized agencies of socialization that have

changed in its influence over time. School as generation X knew it, followed
traditional written and rote methods. Education was and still is an official and set
form of socialization. Values of achievement were of high expectations during the
80s in China. These expectations vary greatly from todays schooling
generations, which consist of the main ideal of doing your best instead of the
emphasis on getting the highest marks.

School now has more influence on futures of young adults than previous
generations as employers place a higher expectation on the level of
education that their employees have attained. So while there is
moderately less pressure placed on ranks, there is more pressure to finish
a competent level of education.
Today education also has heavy technical influences, as with the
introduction of the internet, the morality of online behavior such as
personal privacy or cyberbullying needed to be taught and integrated into
students socialization whereas there was no need for students of
generation X to need to learn about the repercussions of the internet
because, at the time, it did not exist.

Across the two generations, X and the millennials, socializing agents differ in
aspects of family, culture, education and technology. With assistance of the
development of communication and rapid technological advancements, the
millennial generation, through improvements in education, has become more
aware of the macro world than previous generations. With influences from the
wider society through mediums such as social media and education that exposes

students to many societal norms, younger generations have become more openminded and less sheltered. Generational family structure and relationships has
experienced change through time, mainly reducing in numbers with parents
becoming less authoritative and children less restricted as each generation
strives to improve on the last. Culture has had influence on the socialization
process so as undeveloped areas become more developed and governments
open their doors, future generations will continue to assimilate into the world and
while the socialization process continues, change will always be constant.

Primary sources:

Mother Yongmei Zhang

Secondary sources:

Definitions and explanations of the socialization process
Definitions and explanations of the agents of socialization
A comparison of the generations
A comparison of the generations in reference to technology
Generation X
The millennials (Y, Z)
The Little Emperor Syndrome
The change and impact of technology
How technology has affected education