Arguably, in the past two decades a family definition has changed tremendously. The changes come as a result of dynamic social norms in society. As a matter of fact, technological information invention is the major cause of changes in family. Media is the most influential factor in the dynamism of family definition. Media influence on social norms take place through various means, which include internet, radio, as well as television. Media influence has affected family roles and structures, which in turn interfere with normal functioning of the community. Family is the basis of every society; hence, when the family is unstable it follows that the community will be turmoil. In the contemporary society, the development of social norms is significantly influenced by media.
Conversably, research shows that media influence on development of social norms does only cause disruption in family roles and structure, but it is also very insightful. Many people in the community believe that media influence if breaking the traditional family structure. Actually, what was going on in a family two decades ago is totally different from the present. Critically, family structure and role is swiftly changing so as to meet community and family needs. In the past, extended family was a social norm in the society (Biagi, 2011). Members of the extended family lived together, this include grandparents, cousins, parents as well as children. Due to media influence, families presently live as a nuclear family. As a matter of fact, the impact reduces cohesiveness in the community, and increases or rather induces a sense of individualism.
Additionally, media have influenced the mentality of individuals about marriage and family structures. For example, women of this century believe they can raise children independently without a father. Perhaps, this believe is an illusion, single-parenthood has tremendous impacts in the community. It increases the level of delinquency among children causing instability in society. Moreover, media influence has led to divorce and family wrangles; this is because families are not in united. For example, introduction of the internet has made members of the family busy, meaning no one has time to talk to each other (Monk, 2001).
Family structures in the past were always different in communities. This implies that, what is norm in one society, but in another society, the same family structure could be abnormal. But, the introduction of modern mass media family structures is becoming more universal. Hence, its effects on society are the same (Biagi, 2011).
Family roles are also very important factors in determine how the society functions. If family roles are not executed, the society will not function well. Additionally, if some roles of the family are not undertaken, then the society will not function normally. Mass media have also influenced role undertakings within the modern family. Members of the family are constantly bombarded by information from modern mass media (Monk, 2001). In the past, the main role of the family was to upbringing of children and socialization. In modern society, most important role of the family is to provide economic support.
Undeniably, family is the basic agent in socialization of children. In the past, parents took this role seriously; in fact, the neighborhoods influenced children at a later stage. In today’s society, media have taken the position of socializing children. Children learn a lot of things from the mass media, especially the social sites (Biagi, 2011). Children learn on their gender roles from television and movies, instead of being informed by the parents. There is a correlation between impacts of media on family structure and roles, and how the community functions. This is because the family is the smallest unit of the community, and societal norms escalate from the family level.
Conclusively, it is clear that in the past decades media has led to alternative creation of roles and structures. The activities of community social, economic or political depend fully on the family. Admittedly, family roles and structures are affected by media in its evolution, but it important to understand that the changes take place so as to meet the purposes.
Biagi, S. (2011). Media Impact: An Introduction to Mass Media. New York: Springer.
Monk, I. (2001). Family. London: Wiley.