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Social Culture Essay, Research Paper

In the 21st century and throughout history individuals and groups have been affected by sociocultural contexts. The mass media probably has one of the biggest effects on culture. Through television, magazines and movies, what is in, out, cool and not cool is all portrayed.

Adolescents are most directly affected by what our culture has become. From the moment of birth there are stereotypes placed on a child, if it s a baby boy, his things will be blue, and for a baby girl blankets and clothes will be pink. A little boy will play with cars, trucks and action figures, and a little girl will play dress up, house and with Barbie’s and dolls. These stereo types are often portrayed in the media, although in the 21st century there have been some changes, for example female television characters are now more often seen in nontraditional roles, such as a police officer, doctor or lawyer, but the behavior of these characters will most often follow sex-typed patterns. Males being more aggressive, independent and action oriented, whereas females are more passive and obedient.

The way a child thinks is also molded by society. In the early 1900 s a mother taught her daughter to churn butter and weave clothing by the time she hit puberty. (Meece,153) Today this is almost unheard of. Today, computers are introduced to children, they are present in homes and schools everywhere and these computers will in some ways affect a child’s social and cognitive development.(Meece,153)

During adolescence physical changes begin to occur and boys and girls go through puberty. Girls begin usually at age 10-12 and boys 12-14. (Meece,57) At this stage height and weight of children of the same age varies. Due to the constant emphasis on being thin many children develop eating disorders. In our culture thin is thought of as beautiful, and it is very common for girls especially to develop an eating disorder(Meece,59) .

Substance abuse in the United States is also a problem amongst adolescents. Peer pressure, wanting to fit in and curiosity cause kids to start experimenting with various drugs. The teen years are an important time in a child’s life. Everything around them is changing and wanting to find their place in the world is very important. In order to prevent kids from resorting to drug use, programs focusing on drug prevention need to be introduced at an early age. The most successful programs not only educate on the risks of drugs but also on self-esteem and interpersonal skills.

Growing up in today s world is not easy. Issues of drugs, sex, disease, pregnancy and more are introduced to children at such early ages these days, and it is up to the parents and teachers and role models to talk about these issues openly. Teach children about all the risks involved, instill within them confidence and a sense of self-esteem, make them comfortable to come and talk about these things, and let them see that the decisions that they make today will affect them tomorrow.

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